By Kevin Guilfoile
Last week the family--my brothers and sisters and all our kids and my mom and dad--was together at my brother's house south of Boston. It was a leisurely five days of beach and pool and good food and wine that passed way too quickly.
Friday night we were in the front yard watching a neighbor's blatantly illegal fireworks display burst in magnificent colors over the treeline and my sister-in-law was asking about book suggestions for her 13-year-old daughter, a voracious and fairly sophisticated reader, especially of mysteries, who is ready to graduate to adult fiction. "But not too adult," said my brother's wife, who has read my own probably-inappropriate-for-the-purposes-of-this-conversation novel.
I suggested Agatha Christie, who was one of my first mystery loves. And To Kill a Mockingbird, which everyone should read for pleasure before some teacher forces her to. I had a handful of others, but I was surprised how quickly my well of recommendation dried up. Many books I just couldn't remember clearly enough. Was I sure they were mostly void of explicit sex and gratuitous violence and themes that a 13-year-old--even, as I said, a sophisticated one--isn't quite ready for?
It was a disturbing brain cramp.
So I pose the question to the Outfit jury. What grown-up suspense novels can you recommend to a sophisticated young reader who has already developed the wonderful, lifetime habit of reading? What books have you recommended to your own kids? Your own nieces and nephews?