In a year where much of what we’ve come to expect of the world has been shut down, it remains a simple truth that books—for better or worse—can always transport us to places we’ve never been before, or destinations to which we long to return. Aren’t we all yearning for a little adventure? Hasn’t the global pandemic confined us to the worry-filled square footage of our homes? My third thriller, The Hunted, steps right into this gap, taking readers on a journey down the coast of eastern Africa, to a tiny, idyllic island just south of Zanzibar. On Rafiki Island, Tanzania, there’s a beautiful dive camp, trustworthy people, and a chance to really kick back and relax. Doesn’t it all sound great?
But pack your fictional bags at your peril, because I’ve found a great list of Canadian travel adventures that all have a sting in their tail. We’re thriller writers, after all, and the mission is to take you on paradise vacations and terrify you while you’re there.
Here are my picks for how to travel the globe with a renewed love and appreciation for the safety of your own armchair.
Dark Roads, by Chevy Stevens
Ever dreamed of a little alone time in the beautiful, rugged wilderness of the west coast of British Columbia? Chevy is the master of pulse-pounding thrillers, and the rich setting of a remote cabin will make you feel you’re immersed in the mountains. Did I mention you’re also fighting for survival and there’s a killer hunting you down? The tension in this thriller builds to an epic crescendo, magnified by the lonely, powerful BC landscape.
The Finder, by Will Ferguson
This book is filled with exotic locations as we journey through Japan, Australia, and New Zealand in search of lost treasures. Of course, Ferguson’s skill is in spinning tales that are clever, witty, and entirely unpredictable, but for this cast of entertaining characters, there’s threat woven into the adventure, and risk in every step.
The Arrangement, by Robyn Harding
How about an all-expenses-paid loft in the middle of iconic Manhattan, NYC? The ultimate city-break, this thriller takes us into a sugar daddy scenario, where everything seems like a great idea at the start—fancy dinners, designer lifestyle, New York as we’d all love to live it—only to descend into murderous unparalleled chaos, as is Harding’s great trademark.
Bath Haus, by P.J. Vernon
There’s so much to be terrified by in Bath Haus that by the time the plot brings us to the idyllic South Carolina beach retreat—think gentle flowers, winding beach paths, fresh, calming air—we’re desperate for a safe haven. But no, Vernon is a deft storyteller, and this is the grand finale, where he uses the hypnotic change in location to offset the dark, gripping ending.
You Can’t Catch Me, by Catherine McKenzie
In this riveting tale of secrets, tricks, and deception, a young journalist escapes the pressures of home by journeying to Mexico for a week in a remote retreat. She can relax there, switch off, finally be free from the contact of the outside world. However, in true travel thriller form, creepy infiltrators persist, and we have a cat-and-mouse race to the finish where true character is revealed, and revenge is the real journey.
An Unwanted Guest, by Shari Lapena
Tempted by a cozy weekend in the snowy Catskill mountains? Lapena pens a classic Agatha Christie-style thriller of a wooded winter lodge, replete with open fireplaces, an ample wine cellar, and rustic old rooms. Of course, there are other guests staying there, but they’ll keep to themselves… However, when a storm cuts off the lodge’s electricity and renders it entirely isolated, the guests must settle in for the long haul—and with growing horror, they begin to realize there’s a killer in their midst.
Indians on Vacation, by Thomas King
If you’re looking for a tour around the major European cities, King’s version of the trip is so new and immersive that you’ll never look at the landmark capitals in the same way again. A profound, compelling tale of Bird and Mimi—who are trying to trace their history—this is a book about the very nature of what travel means, and what it’s for. The answer is complicated, and while you’re laughing at the wit, you’ll be challenged by the poignancy.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
One of my favourite books of all time, Station Eleven tells the story of the fallout of a world contagion, and the ways in which humanity will rebuild. It centres around a travelling band of actors who wander the ruined landscape, and although the journey is bleak, it’s told so beautifully and with such craft that it’s a must-read for travel narratives with soul. The menace in the book is countered by a pervasive, subtle, unstoppable sense of hope, making it a very topical read for our times, as we emerge from the grip of a pandemic.
The Beach meets The Woman in Cabin 10 in this twisty new thriller about two couples who meet backpacking through Africa, but what begins as friendship quickly turns to obsession, with deadly consequences—from bestselling author Roz Nay.
Stevie Erickson is looking for a fresh start. The sudden loss of her grandmother has sent her life into a tailspin, dredging up old losses and putting a strain on her relationship with her boyfriend, Jacob. So when Jacob is offered a job as a diver for GoEco, a dive operation for ecotourists on Rafiki, a beautiful, secluded island off the coast of Tanzania, he thinks it’s just the adventure they need and Stevie reluctantly agrees to go with him.
Their trip gets off to a rough start with a nighttime scare at their first hostel. Already fragile, Stevie can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. Things improve when they meet seasoned backpackers Leo and Tamsin, a drop-dead gorgeous couple who instantly take a shine to Stevie and Jacob.
But on Rafiki Island, their new friendship is put to the test, as is Stevie and Jacob’s own relationship. And when innocent flirting goes too far, past truths surface, exposing a killer in their midst—a killer whose sights are set on Stevie.
A high dive into the dangers of obsession, this sinister and seductive thriller will leave you breathless.
Comments herecomments powered by Disqus