Summer Reads 2023

Summer beach reads

June marks the beginning of meteorological summer.  It’s also a great time for those “Summer Reads;” books you read for pleasure at the beach, the lake, the mountain cabin, or your own backyard deck or patio. Here are a few books I think will make great summer reads. I’ve listed some thrillers by Minnesota authors you may not be familiar with but are worth reading.

Here are some great summer reads from Minnesota authors


Murder in Plane Sight - Holmes, Julie

Frozen body in an airplane? Check. Stalker ex-boyfriend? Check. Can an aircraft mechanic prove her innocence and uncover a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty?

A deftly crafted mystery with more plot twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster, “Murder in Plane Sight” showcases author Julie Holmes’ originality and impressive narrative storytelling skills as a novelist. An inherently riveting read made all the more plausible given the corporate corruption surrounding the Boeing 737 in the world today, “Murder in Plane Sight” will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to a community library’s Contemporary Murder/Suspense collections.

~ Midwest Book Review–Wisconsin Bookwatch: September 2019

                           IAN Outstanding Fiction, Outstanding Mystery 2019, Murder in Plane Sight, airplane aircraft mystery


(Rob’s latest book)

Judgment Day - Jung, Rob

Magnolia Kanaranzi, just elected to the U.S. Senate, has been charged with murdering her own mother. She adamantly maintains her innocence, but the facts point to her guilt, and her attorney, nationally prominent criminal defense lawyer, Napolean Taft, now wants her to plead insanity.

With the threat of the death penalty, hanging over her head, she reluctantly agrees to meet with forensic psychologist Bishop Pollock. Pollock’s job: to determine whether Kanaranzi is competent to stand trial.

Shocking revelations evolve from Kanaranzi’s sessions with Pollock, uncovering the real murderer, and setting in motion events that lead to a calamitous conclusion as perception and reality collide, and Kanaranzi discovers there is only one path to her redemption.

To read an excerpt from Judgment Day, click here.

To read reviews, click here, here.

NORTHFALL by Brian Lutterman

(Brian’s latest)

Northfall: A Pen Wilkinson Thriller by [Brian Lutterman]

A Homeless Man. A Billionaire. A Paraplegic Attorney. And the murder that will entangle their fates forever.A billionaire who lives on the streets is the unlikely potential witness to the vicious murder of a wheelchair-bound homeless man, and attorney Pen Wilkinson, waiting for the break that will revive her legal career, is an unlikely investigator. But Pen, a paraplegic herself, can’t let it go, and her search for the elusive billionaire entangles her in a web of corporate crime instigated by an international cartel of criminal organizations. Pen’s quest, and the criminals’ desperate attempts to silence her, culminate in a terrifying encounter with sadistic killers in a remote Minnesota forest, just north of Northfall.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“A . . . a breakthrough in the series. . . Lutterman kicks his Pen Wilkinson series up a notch with excitement . . .”

-St. Paul Pioneer Press

John Baird Rogers

cover of Fatal Score by John Baird Rogers

Fatal Score:  Joe Mayfield’s happy, ordinary life comes apart when his wife is denied cancer treatment. It’s a few years from now.  All critical data is stored behind a national firewall called the Yak.  Genetic research has created HealthScore, which determines medical treatment.  When Joe’s wife’s HealthScore is slashed, it becomes a death sentence.  Frantic to save her, Joe hacks into the Yak and becomes the target of Phoenix, one man’s plot to skim billions in medical payments at the cost of thousands of lives.  Joe’s wife dies, and Phoenix sends a pair of toughs to erase Joe.  He goes off the grid, living on cash in out-of-the-way places. But his hack attempts pique the interest of a brilliant Yak tracker called Weezy.  She runs him down, skeptical of his good intentions, but becomes an ally.  Finally, in a single wide trailer in Panacea, Florida, Joe and Weezy work to destroy Phoenix before Phoenix destroys them.  Read Chapter One

Gotta toot my own horn this summer too.

I couldn’t NOT include one of my own books that I think is an excellent beach read for a hot summer day. Castle Danger is set in the Arrowhead Region of northern Minnesota along the shores of Lake Superior in WINTER! What a great way to cool off from the inside out–reading a suspenseful thriller where it’s -30 degrees Fahrenheit and blizzards come so frequently that the weather becomes a character in the story.
Castle Danger paperback cover

A Contest Judge’s Praise for Castle Danger:

“This was a very well-done book. You have a strong opening that attracts the reader. You have incredible pacing. The events keep building throughout the book, relentlessly. I was most impressed with the setting. So often the setting is just a throwaway to the thriller, but you made the setting be a character in the novel, which is what the best genre authors do. I’m thinking of Chandler and LA and Connelly and LA (as well.) I was reminded of the works of William Kent Krueger, and that’s a compliment indeed. …

*Excerpted from a Judge’s Commentary, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards*

Red-hot suspense erupts in an ice-cold location when chance brings two desperate fugitives together in this award-winning thriller.

Matt Lanier is running from both the law and the man who framed him for a murder he didn’t commit. Allyson Clifford is running from her criminal, sadistic husband, Donnie Vossler, who wants to steal their son and teach him to live “just like Dad.” When Allyson saves Matt from freezing to death on the doorstep of her restaurant in remote Castle Danger, MN, their lives are changed forever.

Romantic sparks between Matt and Allyson prevent him from betraying her after Vossler shows up and sets his evil plan in motion. As a hitman closes in on Matt, he must decide between self-preservation or saving Allyson and her son. Cut off from all help because of a blizzard, and racing the clock, can Matt save anyone, including himself?

Buy Castle Danger–Book #2 in the Matt Lanier series–today and immerse yourself in a taut page-turner that will keep you reading all night.

  • 2017 B.R.A.G. Medallion
  • 2017 Honorable Mention, Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
  • 2018 Finalist, MN Writes, MN Reads self-published author contest

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Keep those online reviews and ratings coming in! I’ve been getting a trickle lately but I’d like to step that up to a pace where I can reach 200 total reviews and ratings. That will be a special milestone for me because it means my books have some staying power and people (usually) enjoy them and are willing to tell the online world about my books. It only takes a minute or two at,,, or Simply search for the title and follow the prompts for “write a review.”

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