I’m even more likely to pick up dark and disturbing stories when the sun is beating down. This stems to my “discovery” of Stephen King in a teenaged summer, beginning with Night Shift and Skeleton Crew.
There I was: lying on my back in the grass behind the rented two-storey duplex, the sun blocked from my eyes by outstretched arms holding up the paperback, reading “The Raft”. (If you know this story, you can imagine me tucking my body into ever-smaller space as I turned the pages.)
Recently, I finished reading It, which scratched my horror itch and, while I was reading, I thought maybe I would just read Stephen King for the rest of the summer. Because that seems like a very summery thing to do. To just go on and on with an author, like the hours of daylight spool out, this time of year.
But a lighter version of horror is the thriller–fun, even on the hottest days, when attention is fragmented. Thriller writers attend to plot and pacing, so you don’t have to work to keep your attention on the story.
A compelling tale to keep in mind for this summer is Katrina Onstad’s Stay Where I Can See You (2020).