I am delighted to be included on a number of Summer Reading Lists this season.
I think thrillers are so popular this time of year because most casual readers don’t read about science, they want – or need – an escape and thrillers are a great escape.
Sitting on a beach, listening to the waves hitting the sand knowing that you’re going to have the time and a peaceful environment to immerse yourself in a perilous other world – of spies or murders or high-stake art thefts – is the perfect escape from the pressures of normal daily life. That you will have the time to complete the story – instead of only being able to read only a couple of pages over a month before you fall asleep – is the added bonus.
That’s the standard reason these books are so popular during the summer months. But, there’s another reason.
So much of our lives seem to be about a lack of resolution – so much is gray. We fight wars with no clear winners and losers, even unsure of who our allies are. Our politicians shift positions with the polls. One after another gets indicted. Our police are heroes, yet terribly flawed at times. The foods we consume are deemed bad for us one day and good the next. Wine is a killer or a lifesaver. Nothing appears to be certain or final.
Mysteries and thrillers engage us deeply, take us to the depths of fear and uncertainty – but, by the end, they bring us back up, solve the puzzles and bring a definitive verdict and conclusion to all or most of the lives we follow for three hundred pages. It’s what we deserve on our summer vacations. Maybe that’s why they also call them fiction.