By Cortney Mohnk
Whether it’s by the pool, in the hammock or in the air-conditioned indoors after a long, hot day, a good summer read is the perfect way to relax and unwind. Our state has no shortage of talented authors producing an assortment of quality reading that is entertaining, enlightening, thrilling or educational. The following local authors are celebrated for their works and with good reason. Here are four picks for summer reads penned by Minnesotans.
As a Minnesota resident for 35+ years, Brian Freeman likes to use our state as a backdrop for his writings. As is the case for “Alter Ego,” his most recently released mystery novel. This nail-biter has Duluth-based detective Jonathan Stride working on two possibly connected cases that take him from the Lake Superior coast to steamy Naples, Florida. Does the victim of a strange auto accident have anything to do with the vanishing of a Duluth college student? The award-winning Freeman will lead you through many twists and turns in this thriller that makes for a perfect lakeside summer read.
Foodies will love the culinary memoir “Give a Girl a Knife“ from Amy Thielen who grew up and currently resides in Park Rapids. Thielen was once a chef in New York City but found herself the host of the James Beard-nominated show “Heartland Table“ on the Food Network, as well as moonlighting as a popular food columnist. Her memoir chronicles her experiences in the food world and life in rural Minnesota. It’s beautifully told and sure to make you hungry – and if it does, you can always pick up her cookbook “The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes“ to whip up some tasty dishes as well.
Grant J. Merritt
If a summer of lake living and soaking up the sunshine has got you feeling more appreciative of our state’s natural resources, check out this new memoir from Grant J. Merritt. “Iron and Water: My Life Protecting Minnesota’s Environment“ takes you through Merritt’s work as an environmental attorney and executive director for the Minnesota Pollution Control agency to his positions with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Council and Great Lakes Water Quality Board. But the Merritt family impact on Minnesota’s environment started long ago with a history of building some of the state’s first mines and discovering iron ore. Traveling from the mid-1800s and through some of Minnesota’s landmark legal cases, it’s a fascinating look into the inner workings of protecting our natural resources from a man who has been on the front lines.
William Kent Krueger
St. Paul resident William Kent Krueger gives us “Desolation Mountain,” his seventeenth book in his series about Cork O’Connor, an ex-cop from Chicago living in the woods of Northern Minnesota. In this installment, a U.S. Senator and her family are killed in a plane crash, and soon after, various people connected to the accident begin to disappear. To add to the intrigue, Cork’s son had premonitions of this tragedy occurring. Kreuger has many workshops, talks, and signings arranged throughout Minnesota during the summer – great opportunities to possibly hear more about this upcoming thriller! The book itself is slated for release in August.