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‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox

Tag Archive: James Rollins

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Female First: my top 10 chiller thrillers

April 13, 2017

Here are my Top 10 Chiller thrillers published by Female First.

If you can’t find the link, this is what I said:

Not only will these novels chill your blood. They are also set in the chilliest of locations.

  1. Rosamund Lupton’s The Quality of Silence

This is a tense psychological thriller and mother-daughter story set in Northern Alaska during the winter of permanent night. Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby put their lives at risk to search for Yasmin’s husband and Ruby’s father whom everyone, including the local police, believes to be dead.

  1. Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman

This is the fifth novel in the Harry Hole detective series to be translated into English. I particularly like this serial-killer story and its eerie, wintery setting in Oslo. Harry Hole is a flawed and fascinating character and the plot is full of twists that keep you guessing> But be warned, it is a little grizzly in places.

  1. Camilla Lackberg’s The Ice Child

In a small Swedish town a young girl, who has been missing for a while, is found. She has been subjected to terrible torture and she is not the only victim. The detective, and his wife, a writer, find themselves trying to solve the same crime. This book has a great plot twist at the end.

  1. Ruth Ware’s The Woman In Cabin 10

When Lo, a failing journalist, is given a chance to redeem her career on a luxury boat heading for the Arctic, little does she expect to witness a murder. Or does she? Lo finds herself isolated and in danger because nobody believes her. She must find a way to overcome her inner demons if she is to discover the truth and stay alive.

  1. Matthew Reilly’s Ice Station

This fast-paced Antarctic thriller introduces the character of US Marine, Shane Schofield (Scarecrow). The book has non-stop action, adrenalin-charged battle scenes, strange sea creatures, and dark secrets beneath the ice.

  1. James Rollins’ Subterranean

Action, adventure, mystery, suspense, this nail-biting thriller takes you into a terrifying subterranean labyrinth beneath Antarctica’s ice, where an entire civilisation once lived and where killers lurk.

  1. Peter Hoeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow

One of the first Scandinavian thrillers to become a best-seller, it is atmospheric, subtle and beautifully written, with unusual characters, especially the fascinating Smilla Jaspersen, who sets out to prove that the accidental death of a little boy was, in fact, murder.

  1. Martin Cruz Smith’s Polar Star

This is a masterful thriller set on a Russian factory ship in the middle of the icy Bering Sea in which a disgraced Russian detective, working on that ship, is commanded by the ship’s captain to solve the murder of a female crew member. Sinister and dark, this thriller will have you afraid to turn out the light.

  1. L.A. Larkin’s Thirst

I hesitate to include one of my thrillers in the list, but you can’t get chillier than this story of destructive greed in Antarctica. An isolated research station is under attack. What is the secret that must be kept at any cost? Can one man, with nothing but his survival skills, stay alive long enough to prevent a global catastrophe?

  1. Stieg Larsson’s The Millenium Trilogy

This series of three books which kicks off with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a must-read not only because of the damaged but brilliant hacker character, Lisbeth Salander, but because it is full of spine-tingling suspense. My favourite in the series is book two, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

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What is ‘Antarctic Noir’?

October 14, 2016

In  comparison with other icy locations for crime fiction , such as Scandinavia or the Arctic, comparatively few have been set in Antarctica. Matthew Reilly’s Ice Station (1998) and James Rollins’ Subterranean (2009) spring to mind. I am one of the very few crime fiction authors who has set two thrillers there: firstly, Thirst, and now my new book, Devour, published by Constable/Little,Brown. I can only put this down to the degree of difficulty in getting to Antarctica, and, perhaps, because it is such a truly alien place, hard to bring to life on the page in a credible way unless you have actually experienced it? A fellow Sister In Crime author, Ann Turner, has set her latest mystery in Antarctica, Out Of The Ice, and we recently were on a panel with Hazel Edwards discussing this very topic. In fact, on 7 October this year, Hazel Edwards, who has set some of her two hundred books in Antarctica, officially launched ‘Antarctic Noir’. Here’s a link to her article.

Antarctica is the perfect location for a thriller because it offers isolation, jeopardy, and no readily available police force or backup when a killer is on the loose. It also enables me to put characters under pressure, because Antarctica is fraught with hazard, and even before I introduce sabotage and murder to the mix!

So what is ‘Antarctic Noir’? In my opinion it’s crime fiction set in Antarctica, in which the threat originates from there or the mystery will lead them there. The central character is usually somebody who has enough skill to survive the extreme environment. They will face a threat from a human or non-human killer. It’s interesting to point out that in Ice Station and Subterranean the heroes were male with military/law enforcement backgrounds. I am fascinated by what ordinary people can do in extreme circumstances – people who are clever, skilled but vulnerable. So in Thirst, the hero is a glaciologist (he’s also pretty good at swinging an ice-axe!) and in Devour, an investigative journalist, Olivia Wolfe, who is well-trained in self-defence but out of her comfort zone in Antarctica.

I should point out that there has never been a murder in Antarctica, and long may it stay that way. But it doesn’t mean we can’t imagine murder and mayhem in fiction!

The stories in both Thirst and Devour have been inspired by real events in Antarctica, in particular scientific expeditions. Click this link to a video where I explain, ‘Why Antarctica?’ Enjoy!

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