Whether you prefer tension-filled mysteries or fun fictional escapes, you’re sure to get lost in these stories set right here in Newport Beach

Need a mental vacation while physically staying home and social distancing? Try grabbing one of these great novels off the shelf. Here are some of the best books to read that are set in Newport Beach:


1. The Bay

This thrilling and intriguing mystery novel by Davis McDonald will have you hooked in no time. The Bay tells the tale of a retired judge and his young wife who embark on what they think will be a mini-vacation in Newport Beach. A seemingly simple plan to pick up a jump drive for the FBI is interrupted by a murder, and the judge is determined to solve it. This enticing novel will have you racing to keep up with the judge as he uncovers a plot for an engineered ecological catastrophe with the potential to alter the future of Southern California—forever. 


2. This Vacant Paradise 

A modern-day version of Wharton’s House of Mirth, this novel by Orange County resident Victoria Patterson is set in Newport Beach in the 1990s and examines the topics of class, race, age, and gender roles. It focuses on the character of Esther Wilson, a self-absorbed and beautiful woman in her mid-30s who is focused on one goal and one goal only: marry a powerful member of the elite. As you follow Esther’s journey, this novel is so engaging you can almost feel the Southern California breeze, the sunshine on your face, and see the sunsets settling over the Pacific Ocean. 


3. The Golden Orange

If you are looking for crime, mystery, suspense, and romance, The Golden Orange by Joseph Wambaugh masterfully delivers each of these elements in his novel. The story centers on the personal hardships of 40-year-old cop Winnie Farlowe, who is on disability after an active-duty injury. He then meets Tess Binder, a stunning, brilliant, three-time divorcee from Newport Beach. When he learns that Tess’s father washed up on the beach a year ago with a bullet in his ear, Winnie is determined to crack the case and willing to follow Tess anywhere—despite a few challenging twists and turns. 


Newport Beach is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich places on earth, which is why there is no shortage of novels set here. What’s your favorite story set in the community?