Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thrill Week - Location....Location...

Thrill Week is almost over and what fun it has been. I was delighted when Marce asked me to participate and it was as I was looking over what I'd been reading that I noticed that many of the books I considered favourites had one thing in common.


So today I want to share with you some of the crime/suspense/thrillers I've read in which the location has added considerably to my reading pleasure, beginning with an author that jumped straight into my favourites list when I first read one of his books last year. I'm rather surprised that no-one else has mentioned him this week and I do hope you'll try them.

Michael Koryta - last year I read So Cold the River and loved it. It was a perfectly balanced mixture of   fascinating secondary themes and characters and a well-paced central story with just the right amount of horror and supernatural elements to make it exciting. A bit of everything! And it had the most interesting location - the towns of French Lick and West Baden in Indiana -   a town with a fascinating history, from its glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents and mobsters once mingled, to the hot springs people came to seeking miraculous cures for everything  from insomnia to malaria. Neglected for years, the resort has recently been restored to its former glory. I thought it was fictional until I went googling and found some gorgeous images.

I love to learn about the history of people and places but when you live at the bottom of the world most of our travelling is via armchair!

His next book, The Cypress House took me to Florida's Gulf Coast . 

An isolated boarding house, an approaching hurricane and a corrupt county law force make for non-stop suspense while descriptions of the swamps, crocodiles and snakes add to the sense of underlying menace and danger. 

Still in the USA I have to mention Shark Music (aka Find Me) by Carol O'Connell  which is one of the books in the author's series about New York cop Kathy Mallory.

A caravan of bereaved parents whose children have been murdered along Route 66 and Kathy's search for a serial killer which overlaps with her quest to find her father take the reader on a road trip. A journey down the historic Mother Road accompanied by the lyrics of old songs and memories of the past in faded billboards and derelict diners. It added that special something to an already great thriller - if you haven't read Carol O'Connell I recommend.

In a way these books represent my reading past because like most people what I once read was predominantly from the USA or UK but now translations are broadening our reading horizons and taking us all over the world. This year I've been reading more and more

Scandinavian fiction discovering authors like Jo Nesbo, Johan Theorin, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Arnaldur Indridason and Karin Fossum. 

These authors are brilliant at capturing the environment they're familiar with and making it an integral part of their books, particularly when they leave the cities behind.
The ice and snow, the cold bleakness of isolated rural areas, frozen lakes and gloomy forests create a chill factor which carries through from the setting into the plot and characters so the books often have an intensity and dark tone unique to these Nordic tales. 

One more - last month I read Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar. Translated from Spanish this is a straight crime police procedure novel and while the investigation is a bit slow at times the location is wonderful. The author was born and raised in Viga in Galicia and it shows. I had the feeling of a tourist being invited to accompany Inspector Caldas as he introduced me to the people and places he loves. His vintner father, the old men in the bars and the local fisherman, the vineyards and markets, the village and seashore came vividly to life and I learnt a lot about a part of the world I hadn't really heard of before.
Great reading!

I hope I can tempt you add some of these authors and titles to your TBR lists and will enjoy reading them as much as I did.


  1. Well, this post just made my tbr list 4 books longer! You presented such an appealing picture of all of them, I want to run out and get them all. Thanks for sharing. Isn't it wonderful how books can mentally transport us to other locations that are totally unfamiliar to us?

  2. I am so glad you participated also.

    I have been intrigued with So Cold the River and JoN for sure.

    I don't think I have noticed location before, interesting though.

    Great post

  3. BWR - glad to meet another fan of two of my favourite authors. Hope you will enjoy The Cypress House.

    Kaye - I hope you like them! I love being taken to foreign places.

    Marce - I'm sure you'd like those authors. Don't think I'd ever thought of location in this genre before but obviously it plays a big part in my overall enjoyment.

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