The City Magazine Since 1975

Summer reads roundup: Four page-turners with a Charleston connection recommended by our editors and the owners of local bookstores

Summer reads roundup: Four page-turners with a Charleston connection recommended by our editors and the owners of local bookstores
June 2022

And find out which books you need to read before they become television shows or movies

A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur Books, January 2022)

The first novel from Wando High and University of Georgia grad Stacy Willingham debuted at number nine on the New York Times best-seller list and has been optioned by actress Emma Stone for a television series on HBO Max. In this thriller, readers follow psychologist Chloe Davis, who is preparing for her wedding when a local teenage girl goes missing, then another. The disappearances bring back disturbing memories of her childhood, when six teenage girls went missing, her father confessed to the crimes, and was sent to prison for life. Watch out for the plot twists as Davis tries to identify the killer.

Diamonds and Deadlines: A Tale of Greed, Deceit, and a Female Tycoon in the Gilded Age, by Betsy Prioleau (Abrams Books, March 2022)

While she might not have the name recognition of tycoons Carnegie, Rockefeller, or Vanderbilt, Miriam Leslie’s life was every bit as fascinating. In the first major biography of Leslie, who ran the country’s largest publishing company for 20 years, Prioleau details the countless scandals, lovers, and extravagant efforts Leslie undertook to reinvent herself, and how she surprised everyone by leaving her entire fortune to the women’s suffrage movement after her death. The New York Times says Betsy Prioleau’s “subject is no heroine, no role model, no rebel. For all that, her story sparkles, as intoxicating as a champagne fountain that somebody else is paying for.” Finish the book by the fall, when Prioleau (who splits her time between New York and Charleston) will be in conversation with former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown at the Charleston Literary Festival, according to her website.

Only Wanna Be With You, by Tim Sommer (USC Press, April 2022)

Channel the feel-good sounds of Hootie & the Blowfish in this nonfiction book that chronicles the band from its beginnings at the University of South Carolina in 1985 to the national spotlight a decade later when its debut album cracked rear view first reached number one on the Billboard chart. The book also follows lead singer Charleston native Darius Rucker’s rise to country music stardom. Author Tim Sommer, who signed the band to Atlantic Records, offers a unique insider’s perspective and includes new interviews with band members and fans.

Badasstronauts, by Grady Hendrix, (JAB Books, paperback release April 2022)

Porter-Guard High grad and best-selling horror writer Grady Hendrix takes on science fiction in this novella. When the country’s space program runs out of funds and abandons an astronaut from a small South Carolina town in space, his cousin, an ex-astronaut, refuses to let him die on the Space Station. Instead, he sets out to launch a rocket and invites science nerds and misfits to his farm to help. If you prefer horror, Hendrix’s The Final Girl Support Group also is out in paperback this month.

Plus, here's more books by local authors to add to your summer reading list:

  • Sharpe’s Assassin by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins, December 2021)
  • End of Days by Brad Taylor (HarperCollins, January 2022)
  • The Rice Birds by Lindy Keane Carter (Evening Post Books, February 2022) 
  • Fear Thy Neighbor by Fern Michaels (Kensington Publishing Corp., March 2022)