“Summer House with Swimming Pool,” a novel by Herman Koch
In “Summer House with Swimming Pool,” Herman Koch, bestselling author of “The Dinner,” returns to the question of how far a father should or could go to protect his child. Dr. Marc Schlosser is the family doctor Dutch celebrities call on. “In a practice like mine, the key is not to worry too much about medical standards. About what is, strictly speaking, medically responsible.” With that admission, doubt about his actions emerges. When Marc is accused of malpractice in the death of actor Ralph Meier, it is clear that his medical standards had given way to something much more sinister.
“Summer House with Swimming Pool” charts the course of Schlosser’s family’s relationship with the Meiers family as it unfolded the summer before the actor’s death. When the Schlossers’ stay at the Meiers’ beachfront summer home is cut short by an act of violence, no one can be trusted, and Marc takes action to avenge his daughter.
Marc is another of Koch’s unreliable narrators who becomes increasingly unsympathetic as the story unfolds. Despite – or perhaps even because of this – his is a compelling story that brings morals and ethics into sharp focus. For fans of “The Dinner,” “Summer House with Swimming Pool” is an ample second course from bestseller Koch.
“I Love You More,” a novel by Jennifer Murphy
“I Love You More,” Jennifer Murphy’s quirky debut thriller would make a great movie. Oliver Lane is murdered in the living room of the beach house he’s rented for a family vacation with his wife Diana and precocious eleven-year-old daughter Picasso, who sets things up by saying:
Mama said she named me Picasso because he painted about truth, but I think Mama misinterpreted his words. What Pablo Picasso said was this: Art is a lie that makes us realize truth. What I thin he meant is that great art is born from skillful lying, and something else, something much more profound, that lying is okay as long as its end goal is altruistic. Well that’s how I read it anyway, and that’s how I’ve been able to justify what happened that day.
As it turns out, Oliver Lane is a charismatic, incurable sociopath – a “handsome, charming, perfect man” -- who is married to two other women and the father of three other children. His wives have all fallen for his catchphrase: “I love you more than life itself.” Angry and hurt, they seek revenge by plotting the perfect murder. The police suspect each of the women – yet find it difficult to prove a thing.
Narrated in turns by the wives, Picasso, and detective Kyle Kennedy and, less successfully, by Oliver’s shade, this skillfully plotted page-turner will keep readers asking a single question right up to its final pages: Who killed Oliver Lane?
“The Glass Kitchen, ” a novel by Linda Francis Lee
The ingredients are right for a pleasant read in “The Glass Kitchen.” Linda Francis Lee lightly mixes cooking, romance, family and a little magic into a winning blend. Portia Cuthcart has the “knowing,” an inherited ability to practically foresee the future through food. In essence, food gives Portia answers before questions are asked. “The truth of a meal never lies,” she says. Newly divorced, she moves from Texas into an apartment in the Manhattan town house her great-aunt once owned. There, she encounters newly widowed Gabriel Kane and his teen-aged daughters. While predictably drawn to Gabriel, their rocky romance has surprising dimension as Portia becomes part of the Kane family – and strengthens the bonds with her own sisters to open The Glass Kitchen, a restaurant filled with down home Texas cooking.
“Every kitchen should be filled with glass – to drink from, to see through, to reflect the light of a wonderful meal prepared with love,” a Cuthcart ancestor writes in an heirloom cookbook. “The Glass Kitchen” is filled with light and love. It’s a delicious novel about self-discovery and fulfilling destiny.
“Summerhouse with Swimming Pool,” “The Glass Kitchen,” and “I Love You More,” are available on amazon.com and at your favorite New York bookstores.