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No Place Like Home: Stories Where Everyone Should Have Stayed Put

A recommended reading list by author of new book The Off Season.

Book Cover the Off Season

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It’s the feeling of unease when you walk into the cheap motel room, the lurch of nausea as the car begins to pull you toward the airport, or hulking dread when you spy the gorgeous yet ominous luxury hotel your new husband has urged you to stay in over the course of the stormy off-season.

We’ve all sensed a wrongness in a place that declares itself to be paradise—where tourists and travellers are lured with a promise of superficial pleasure unaware of the darkness below the surface.

I think we like to read about the red flags our narrators ignore in their travels to reassure ourselves. Sometimes when the big wide world beckons, it’s better to stay cuddled up in our beds with a warm cup of tea and a good book.

Book Cover Bad Cree

Bad Cree, by Jessica Johns

Fight or flight. Mackenzie is a young Cree woman who runs from her home in Alberta to escape the wounds brought on by the death of her sister, Sabrina. Haunted by nightmares of crows and darkness, she is called home to her mother, aunties, and female relatives as the source of her pain pulses in her head like a drumbeat. There is a dark mystery in the geography of the land that gave her family life and death and she will only be released from the grip of it when her feet return to the place where it all began. Haunting, mythical, and chilling as icy winter nights.


Book COver We Meant Well

We Meant Well, by Erum Shazia Hasan

Not all trips are for pleasure. For devoted aid worker Maya, a trip to a project side in the fictional country of Likanni where she spent years of her life is prompted by an accusation of sexual assault leveled against a member of her former team. Her job is to find the truth in a small community of first-world workers and local families—many of whom she knows deeply and thought she could trust. In a story of twisted dreams and corrupted practices, Maya is a narrator with an unflinching ability to confront the raw truth in herself and her surroundings. Hasan’s powerful voice contains political gravitas and real-world experience to beautifully develop and describe a world in which good intentions run toward the oft-predicted end point.


Book Cover Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Noemi is a beautiful, headstrong, socialite having the time of her life in mid-century Mexico when she receives a pleading letter from her cousin who has recently married and moved to a remote wealthy residence with her new husband. The dark, steep road to the mansion is creepy as hell—but nothing compared to the eerie, claustrophobic interior dripping with oddness. Each page pulls both Noemi and readers further into a family consumed with parasitic evil and paralyzing history. Moreno-Garcia is a magnificent world builder of a Gothic tale that is saturated with suspense and invention.


Book Cover The Drowning Woman

The Drowning Woman, by Robyn Harding

In a moment of sheer and utter desperation, Lee flees a life ravaged by debt and sorrow and ends up at a remote beach in Seattle. She is shocked and stunned to bear witness to an attempted suicide which she rushes forward to circumvent. Like the rugged coasts and storm-beaten beaches of the Pacific Northwest, the harrowing shared experience creates a haunting connection between both women where more lies under the surface than above. With a unique and original homage to Strangers on A Train, Harding has written a mesmerizing thriller that will give you pause before packing a suitcase.


Book Cover I Think We've Been Here Before

I Think We've Been Here Before, by Suzy Krause

Need to escape to a place where new spaces prompt dreams and not nightmares? I Think We've Been Here Before, by the unparalleled Suzy Krause is not a thriller that contains a warning to never leave home again. With her signature quiet wit and gentle hand, Krause has created a feel-good book about the end of the world that evokes a beautiful, disquieting sense of dreamy denial for a young couple who meet due to worldwide flight cancellations brought on by an impending meteoric catastrophe. Many in the book mourn and weep—but some find a way to find beauty in far off places in the moments they have left.


Book Cover the Off Season

Learn more about The Off Season:

For fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware, a destination thriller about a woman who accompanies her new husband to a remote hotel during the off season to do renovations—and uncovers deadly secrets behind every door, from the author of the “endlessly entertaining and fiendishly clever” (Christina McDonald, USA TODAY bestselling author) thriller Last One Alive.

The Venatura Hotel desperately needs a facelift. Too bad renovations are murder on a marriage.

While recovering from a professional setback, documentary filmmaker Jane Duvall stays at a remote hotel during the off season with her new contractor husband, Dom, and his daughter, Sienna. Surrounded by an immense forest and the mighty Fraser River, Jane wants nothing more than to bond with her new family. But she’s unsettled by the cold, quiet presence of the hotel’s owner, Peter, who is overseeing Dom’s renovations. When she starts asking questions, Dom grows distant and Sienna becomes belligerent. Undeterred, Jane uncovers secrets that make her question exactly who she married, including a series of strange disappearances at the hotel in previous seasons. When a rainstorm of epic proportions threatens to flood the banks of the river and claim the Venatura Hotel, Jane must solve these mysteries if she’s to survive the off season.

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