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June 2016 Fiction Best Sellers: A Review

June 16, 2016
It has to be a "summer read" if the word "summer" is in the title.

It has to be a “summer read” if the word “summer” is in the title.

Summer is either a great time to read books or a lousy time to read books.  If you get any vacation time, you can take the time to catch up on reading.  On the other hand, if you have vacation time, there might be so much going on that you’re too busy to read books.  Either way, there will be a bunch of new best sellers coming out over the summer, and here is the list so far in mid-June 2016 (according to the New York Times):

 1.     The Emporer’s Revenge-Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison

Clive Cussler is still writing books?  I remember reading Raise the Titanic almost 40 years ago.  Times have changed.  Back in the 1980s, Cussler’s protagonist was Dirk Pitt.  Dirk Pitt was a manly name.  Now his protagonist is Juan Cabrillo.  I guess Juan Cabrillo is a masculine guy, but no name is more masculine than Dirk Pitt… except maybe Clive Cussler.

Clive Cussler is a manly name.  The hard c’s make it alliterative and masculine, Clive just sounds manly, and Cussler has the word cuss in it.  It’s tough to get more manly than that combination.

It’s too bad Dirk Pitt isn’t in the new Clive Cussler novel.  Otherwise, I’d have to decide whose name is more manly.

2.   Before the Fall-Noah Hawley

Noah Hawley is/was a writer for the television series Fargo (not the movie), so if you like the television series, you might enjoy this book.  I watched one episode of Fargo and stopped.  Plus, this book is about a plane crash.  I grew up in the 1970s when there were lots of movies about planes crashing (or almost crashing).  Plus, I got suckered by the first season of Lost, which started off with a plane crash.

But if you like the TV show Fargo and you like Lost….

3.  All Summer Long– Dorothea Benton Frank

This has all the appearances of a summer read.  It has the word summer in the title.  The cover has a woman in a summer outfit on a yacht in open water.  The blurb is vague, but it talks about zany eccentric rich people and life-altering decisions.  I was expecting a hot young guy for the married female protagonist, but no hot young guy was mentioned in the blurb.  I also thought maybe a zany eccentric rich character would get murdered, but that wasn’t mentioned either.

If there’s no murder and there’s no hot young guy, how can this be a summer read?

4.  The Girl on the Train– Paula Hawkins

Every time I review a best seller’s list, I have to think of something new for The Girl on the Train.  It’s difficult to come up with something original to say about this book.  I just can’t believe there are still enough people who haven’t read this book to keep it on a best seller’s list.

5.  After You– Jojo Moyes

This is the sequel to another Moyes best seller Me Before You.  Since I haven’t read Me Before You, I’d probably better not read After You.  If you’ve read Me Before You and wondered what happened to the main female character afterward, then you should read After You, but you might get mad at what you discover.

6.  15th Affair– James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

James Patterson.  Pffffft.

Is it disrespectful to review a James Patterson book with a “Pfffft” before even reading what it’s about?

7.  A Hero of France– Alan Furst

I wish my last name was Furst.  It’s not a braggadocious name because its spelled F-U-R-S-T instead of F-I-R-S-T.  If it’s spelled F-I-R-S-T, then a guy can look kind of arrogant.  But if it’s F-U-R-S-T, then you can still be pronounced First without proclaiming that you’re first.  I wonder how many times somebody has said: “This is the first Furst novel I’ve ever read.”

At any rate, here’s another best selling book set in during World War II.  No best seller’s list is complete without at least one book set during World War II.

8.  The Weekenders– Mary Kay Andrews

It’s a mystery on a resort island.  The main character is an outsider and must learn about a bunch of local secrets.  The blurb was kind of vague about what the mystery was about.  Usually the blurbs tell me more about the story than I want to know.  I think it’s one of those light-hearted murder mysteries where the main character is never in any real danger.  At least, that’s the impression I get.

9.  The Last Mile– David Baladacci

I almost forgot that I’d included The Last Mile in May’s best seller list, which is ironic because the main character Amos Decker never forgets anything.  When your main character remembers everything, your editors better scour every page of every Amos Decker book to make sure there are no inconsistencies.  I know that authors have to come up with something unique for their protagonists, but a hero with a perfect memory is risky.  It’s probably easier to have your protagonist just be a good fighter, or be a good shot, or be immune from catching sexually transmitted diseases.

10.   The Nest– Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The Nest has a controversially long first sentence, and I’m not sure how to pronounce the author’s middle name.  The middle name does make the author seem more serious.  Cynthia Sweeney seems like a simple name (because of the alliteration), but you throw in the “D’Aprix” (which I don’t know how to pronounce), and now her name looks more literary.  A Cynthia Sweeney doesn’t sound like a literary author.


What do you think?  Which of these best sellers would you most likely read?  What unique characteristic would you like your fictional main character to have?  What name is more manly than Clive Cussler?  And how do you pronounce D’Aprix?



  1. Does it count if I tried to read the girl on the train but was too bored to finish it?
    oh alright I’ll pick one. the weekenders. I like a good mystery.

  2. I saw The Girl on the Train in Barnes and Noble the other day, and I almost bought it. Mom gave me a two books limit though, and I think I’d already picked out my two. When I finish all the books I have at home, the only thing that will limit me is my budget!

  3. mkharlan permalink

    I feel like my list keeps growing… I have 31 or 32 in the “I Own yt Haven’t Read Pile” and I don’t even know how many in my Amazon Wishlist…. I guess it’s an ok state to be in though.

  4. Fun read as always. I too watched one episode of Fargo the TV show and quit, so I’ll pass on that book by the same writer. I love the review of James Patterson’s new book, which I will not read. I probably won’t read any of those books, but if forced I would choose the lighthearted mystery.

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