Sharks, serial killers & more: 6 new books written or set on Cape Cod

·4 min read

This batch of ideas for summer reading include four books set on Cape Cod, one about saving its natural beauty and one by a local author which that examines marriage and the  universal theme of making love last.

For the Cape stories, the fear of sharks — or what people think may be sharks — is a predominant theme, while a different type of mysterious sea life enters into a more fantastical tale. Love, loss and a different familiar threat — hurricanes — are the themes of one of the novels. And the non-fiction choice in this group presents expert advice on beautifying your piece of Cape Cod without endangering its future. Take a look:

“Reservations For Six,” by Lindsey J. Palmer
“Reservations For Six,” by Lindsey J. Palmer

“Reservations For Six,” by Lindsey J. Palmer; Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, 2022

This fourth novel for Palmer, who lives in Eastham, is an examination of marriage, featuring three couples who have been celebrating each of their birthdays together for a decade. When the first to turn 40 announces he wants a divorce, each couple is forced over the next year to reexamine what’s brought and kept them together, face confessions and secrets, and determine the future of their relationships. Palmer’s past books include “Pretty in Ink,” “If We Lived Here,” and “Otherwise Engaged.” Palmer is due to be part of an event titled “Inside the Pages with Lindsey Palmer & Nicola Kraus” at 5 p.m. Aug. 23 at Wellfleet Preservation Hall.

“Dead Tide,” by Jane Marks
“Dead Tide,” by Jane Marks

“Dead Tide,” by Jane Marks; IC Publishing Cape Cod, 2022

Marks, a new Cape writer, describes her book as “a beach read thriller inspired by ‘Jaws’ (set) in a place that looks and feels like the Cape.” The familiar: Beachgoers are being killed in the seaside tourist town of Cape August right before the kickoff of the summer season. But instead of a shark being the cause for terror, it’s a serial killer. The FBI comes to town to investigate, and needs to get help from a local journalist. Marks, who will be doing a book-signing at 6 p.m. July 21 at Provincetown Library, says she got the idea for the book in summer 2020, after sailing back from Martha’s Vineyard and watching the movie “Jaws” for the umpteenth time: Fun fact: In high school, she organized a shark research fundraiser called the Cape Cod Shark Paddle.

“Wash Ashore: A Tale of Cape Cod,” by Mary Petiet
“Wash Ashore: A Tale of Cape Cod,” by Mary Petiet

“Wash Ashore: A Tale of Cape Cod,” by Mary Petiet; Sea Crow Press, 2022

Set in a fictional Cape village, this novel is described by the author as “both a suspenseful love story and a story about how precious and worthy of preserving our local ecology is.” The story involves a surprise inheritance and a deadly hurricane after a woman arrives to live in her aunt’s old Cape house. She has to try to save the land next door from destruction as she waits for her new love to return. Petiet lives part-time in Barnstable, where the Dolphin Restaurant contributed a clam chowder recipe included in the book. She is the founder of Sea Crow Press, and her previous work includes “Cape Cod: A Writer’s Journal,” “Owl Magic” and “Minerva’s Owls.”

“Best You,” by Keith Yocum
“Best You,” by Keith Yocum

“Best You,” by Keith Yocum; independently published, 2022

Cape author Yocum has chosen comic fantasy for his eighth book, which features a meek man whose mundane life in a small New England seaside town is thrown into chaos after he makes a strange discovery. The body of a woman floats near his boat, but all isn’t what it seems to be. The encounter results in teaching the man that, as the author puts it, “a relationship is a never-ending, magical circle.” Other books by Yocum, a former journalist, include an espionage/thriller series set in Australia and last year's "A Whisper Came: A Cape Cod Mystery" set in Chatham.

“Design with Nature on Cape Cod and the Islands,” by Jack Ahern
“Design with Nature on Cape Cod and the Islands,” by Jack Ahern

“Design with Nature on Cape Cod and the Islands,” by Jack Ahern; University of Massachusetts Press, 2022

The unusual and distinctive landscape and environment of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have been under threat because of past choices of fertilizers, plants and practices, according to Ahern. In this book, the award-winning professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers advice to landscape professionals, local officials and homeowners about a sustainable approach to landscape design based, he says, on the ecoregion’s native plants and plant communities. The book includes detailed discussions of the Cape’s natural history, principal plant communities, local soils and growing conditions, and climate change. There are also design strategies and photos of more ecologically designed landscapes.

“Dissonance,” by Jon Kaledin
“Dissonance,” by Jon Kaledin

“Dissonance,” by Jon Kaledin; Paperback Press, 2022

Kaledin is an environmental lawyer and classically trained cellist who lives in New Jersey, but he set his debut police procedural/legal thriller on Cape Cod and lists it as the first in what will be a series featuring former Boston police detective Tim Hennessey. A mutilated corpse is found on a Cape beach, and local residents believe the killer was a shark. Hennessey isn’t so sure: Could there be a serial killer? To make matters worse, an arsonist is burning down performing arts spaces, and the detective is dealing with an unjustly convicted brother who escapes from a maximum security prison plus a budding romance. The book also explores the problems of prison reform, police corruption and climate change.

Are you a Cape Cod author with a new book? Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at kdriscoll@capecodonline.com to be considered for future book columns.

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Cape Cod books: sharks, serial killers, landscaping, hurricanes, love