Islands have been an ideal setting for countless mysteries and thrillers over the decades. Agatha Christie set some of her classic mysteries, such as Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None, on islands with limited transportation.
Countless other authors down through the decades have set their stories on islands: both real-life and imaginary. They’re ideal settings for mysteries and thrillers because means of ingress and egress are limited: bridges, tunnels, boats, and planes. Without at least one of those things, no one has any way of getting on (or, more critically, off) of the island. If a murder takes place, the list of suspects is narrowed down to whoever was on the island at the time. It also means that the characters are trapped with a murderer somewhere among them. And one of them may well be the next victim.
In the hands of a skillful storyteller, the island becomes a character in its own right, setting the mood of the story, and becoming either a help or a hindrance. An island could be a luxurious, exotic getaway for a vacation or someone’s peaceful home by the sea. It could also be a desolate, isolated place cut off from the rest of the world.
Winner of Britain's coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, Ann Cleeves introduces a dazzling new suspense series to U.S. mystery readers.
Raven Black begins on New Year's Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.
It was supposed to be a fun family adventure in the Australian outback for Heather, her new husband Tom, and her stepchildren Owen and Olivia: a chance to bond as a new blended family. But that adventure all too quickly turns into a nightmare, when the family decides to take a side trip to a remote island with a wildlife refuge. And then a hit-and-run accident, and a group of people bent on revenge, puts the family into grave danger.
For young British couple Jake and Virginie, it was the adventure of a lifetime: buying a yacht and going on open-water sailing adventures around the Indian Ocean. And the island of Amarante, several days’ sailing from Sri Lanka, seems like a wonderful destination for a side trip.
Several months later, the crew of a naval vessel finds them at sea, bloodied and disheveled, and all Virginie will say is that what happened is her fault.
The veracity of Virginie’s story is to be determined, but it is very clear to the sailors that something terrible has happened on Amarante…
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
The peaceful life of a sleepy volcanic island in the Mediterranean is shattered when the bodies of three men, believed to be refugees, wash up on the beach. The villagers decide not to go to the police with their discovery but instead have the bodies buried. After all, the men didn’t seem to die by violence, and to tell the authorities would only cause all sorts of difficulties for the island and its people, correct? That decision heralds the beginning of a series of terrible events that gradually rip the island and the people apart.
On the edge of the Northern Atlantic lies a remote island. The islanders are an outwardly harmonious community—but all have their own secrets, some much darker than others. And when a strange disorder begins to infect them all, those secrets come to light.
Ferry service fails and contact with the mainland is lost. Rumors begin to swirl as a temporary inconvenience grows into nightmarish ordeal. The fabric of the once tight-knit island is unnervingly torn apart—and whatever the cause, the question soon stops being how or why it happened, but who, if anyone, will survive.
If you’re a fan of National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, or simply love books about globe-trotting treasure hunts and mythical creatures, Preston and Child’s latest book about adventurer-thief Gideon Crew is for you.
Crew has an outrageous assignment: steal a parchment that’s part of the Book of Kells. When Crew discovers that the parchment also contains what may well be a treasure map. The treasure? Something extremely rare and valuable that could save the lives of millions. The discovery sends Crew and his associate Amy on a voyage around Central and South America, filled with escapades and discoveries straight out of Greek mythology.
A woman washes up on a small island off the coast of Crete, on the ominously-named Bone Beach, along with the wreck of a sailboat. She has absolutely no memory of who she is or what happened to her. A group of four writers staying on the island find her and begin to care for her. But the woman begins to suspect whether the writers truly have her best interests at heart, after it seems they are not going to keep their promises about alerting the authorities about her predicament.
Meanwhile, in London, the search is on for missing woman Eloise Shelley. She has vanished from her comfortable home, leaving behind two small children and a baffled husband. Her car is still at the house, and she has not taken her purse, passport, or other identification with her.
Is the woman on the island Eloise? How did she get there? And what do the people on the island want with her?
For Martin, his wife Alexandra, and their two little children, a move to the Swedish island of Orust seems like the perfect way to start over in life. Their new home is Martin’s family’s summer cottage, there are good friends living nearby, and Martin can start his own mussel farm. The illusion of a new, happy life is shattered when four-year-old Adam is believed to have drowned.
And then Maya, a photographer temporarily residing on Orust, starts looking into the matter, and she discovers that Adam is the latest in a series of little children that have gone missing by the sea on Orust over the decades…
Nantucket Detective Meredith “Merry” Folger returns in this installment from Francine Mathews. Local fisherman Joe Duarte was swept overboard when his fishing boat was caught in a heavy nighttime storm at sea. But Adelia “Del” Duarte, Joe’s daughter and Merry’s old friend, thinks that Joe’s death was no accident. She comes back to Nantucket with her young daughter in tow and asks Merry to open an investigation into Joe’s death.
Before too long, secrets start to emerge, and Merry finds herself investigating a massive explosion that blows up the local pier, and almost all of the boats moored at it, along with two more deaths that are definitely murders. It appears that Del’s homecoming threatened to unearth a lot of skeletons that people would prefer to stay buried…
What to Read Next
Erin Roll is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. Her favorite genres to read are mystery, science fiction, and fantasy, and her TBR pile is likely to be visible on Google Maps. Before becoming an editor, Erin worked as a journalist and photographer, and she has won far too many awards from the New Jersey Press Association.
Erin lives on the top floor of a haunted house in Montclair, NJ. She enjoys reading (of course), writing, hiking, kayaking, music, and video games.