Summer Reading Guide: Daring tales of spies, drugs and love

"The Sound of Things Falling"
“The Sound of Things Falling” by Juan Gabriel Vasquez.

Whether you’re spending your August lazing at the beach or, like the rest of us, trying to find the best space on the couch to fully enjoy the air conditioner, a book is the perfect accompaniment. We’ve chosen a few books for the dog days of August – pick one of these to keep you company this month.

For an engaging, daring tale:

Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez delves into his home country’s history in “The Sound of Things Falling,” looking at how the drug trade has affected Colombians. In Bogota, lawyer Antonio Yammara is reading about a hippo that escaped from drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s zoo. He’s transported back to the 1990s, when the Escobar cartel’s violence spilled over into everyday lives throughout the country, including a friend’s assassination that Antonio witnessed. To discover the truth about what happened to his friend, he traces Colombia’s history all the way back to the 1960s, before narco-trafficking gripped the country.

Reminiscent of the Edward Snowden case playing out through the media, “Weaponized” follows Kyle West, who is fleeing an investigation into a national surveillance program in which he was allegedly involved. He is hiding in Cambodia when he meets Julian Robinson, a businessman who offers to swap passports. After they trade identification, Kyle inevitably realizes he should have thought through the decision. The authors, Nicholas Mennuti, a Tisch School grad, and David Guggenheim, who wrote the screenplay for the film “Safe House,” weave in characters from Russian oligarchs to CIA operatives.

“Submergence” begins by plunging readers into a hellish, terrifying darkness — Brit James More has been captured by Al Qa’eda in Somalia. The novel tells of his love story with Danielle Flinders, a biomathematician studying life in the far-flung corners of the world. Scottish writer J.M. Ledgard’s part love story, part spy novel is underscored by his sharp skills as the East Africa correspondent for The Economist.

David Willington, of the “Monster Island” zombie novels, brings readers a scientific thriller in “Chimera.” Afghanistan veteran Jim Chapel is tasked with investigating a small band of fugitives who escaped from a top-secret military facility in upstate New York. He is assigned to track them and find out why they even exist, which opens the door to more mysteries.

“Fiend” has been described as “The Walking Dead” meets “Breaking Bad.” Sure, author Peter Stenson’s debut novel follows a group of tweakers during a zombie apocalypse, but “Fiend” is much more than just a hybrid of pop culture references. Stenson is a true writer and has a gift for capturing the drug-fueled anxiety that comes with meth abuse (he is a former user, now clean.) Couple that with fleeing from mobs of flesh-eating creatures — all while trying to track down their next fix — and you have one heck of a heart-pounding summer read. Dorothy Robinson

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…