Nowhere To Run : a list of books set in isolated locations

With most of the world’s population self-isolating and not being able to go anywhere, I thought I’d put together a wee list of books set in isolated locations. Let’s face it, things could always be worse. You could be somewhere with a murderer on the loose, for instance. Or zombies. Or one of my worst nightmares, on a ship, surrounded by nothing but water. 😱😂

These ten books were some that popped up in my head straight away when I thought of isolated places. I’m sure there are many more.

Anywho, off we go!

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

Of course, I’m kicking things off with the brilliant Agatha Christie. I haven’t read that many of her books yet but this is definitely a favourite.

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway … until the bodies start piling up. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last.

Note to self : never book a break at a remote lodge in Winter

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up.

Island. Water. Never going to happen.

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness.

Anyone want to know the odds of little old me ever getting on a cruise ship?

1939: Europe is on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd, a servant girl, boards an ocean liner for Australia. She is on her way to a new life, leaving behind the shadows in her past.
For a humble girl, the passage proves magical – a band, cocktails, fancy dress balls. A time when she is beholden to no one. The exotic locations along the way – Naples, Cairo, Ceylon – allow her to see places she’d only ever dreamed of, and to make friends with people higher up the social scale who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man who she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings. 
But Lily soon realises that her new-found friends are also escaping secrets in their past. As the ship’s glamour fades, the stage is set for something awful to happen. By the time the ship docks, two of Lily’s fellow passengers are dead, war has been declared and Lily’s life will be irrevocably changed.

Like I said, ships are a bad idea.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world? 

As far as doom scenarios go, it can’t get much worse than this.

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves. 

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. 

As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence. 

Islands are clearly a popular isolated location. This one has no men. Doesn’t sound too bad 🤔

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

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?

Oh, look! Another island! And a wedding party go wrong. At least there’s champagne 😂

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard. 

Iceland. Always brings the goods. I know, it’s an island too. Sounds so pretty though. Not that Agnes is in any way able to appreciate that. Such a great novel! Read it! I’ll pimp it until I’m blue in the face!

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. 

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Quite possible the worst case scenario? All alone on another planet with no means of escape EVER! I don’t know about you but suddenly this self-isolation stuff doesn’t sound so bad, huh?

If you have any suggestions, please do leave them in the comments and I will be more than happy to compile a new list next week with your ideas. Or heck, do a post of your own. That works too!

Have you read any of the books on this list? Would you like to?

I have more lists planned over the next few weeks. I mean, I’m not reading so I might as well make lists, I guess. 😉

Stay safe and take excellent care of yourselves! xx

This Week in Books (February 5)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

(Review to follow tomorrow on the blog tour. Why, yes, I left it a tad late. Why do you ask?)

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

With her gift for sniffing out the malevolent side of human nature, Miss Marple is led on her first case to a crime scene at the local vicarage.

Colonel Protheroe, the magistrate whom everyone in town hates, has been shot through the head. No one heard the shot. There are no leads. Yet, everyone surrounding the vicarage seems to have a reason to want the Colonel dead. It is a race against the clock as Miss Marple sets out on the twisted trail of the mysterious killer without so much as a bit of help from the local police.

(My first ever Miss Marple. Slightly embarrassing to admit as a crime fiction fan but there you go.)

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

They are driving home from the search party when they see her. 

The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men. Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone. 

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago. 

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust. 

(I’ve heard so many good things about Pine and that cover is so pretty. I can’t wait to get stuck in!)

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (February 2)

Technically this isn’t a weekly wrap-up but more of a look back on the month of January. You may have noticed there haven’t been any weekly wrap-ups because I just haven’t had the time to write them up. January is a blur of shopping, dinners, lunches, parties and one really bad hangover that made me vow never to drink again. That particular resolution lasted about five days. I mean, there was another party, what’s a girl to do? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Thankfully, February looks set to be a whole lot quieter. I feel like I’ve already reached my yearly limit of socialising, to be honest. Still think it’s completely overrated too 😉.

Anywho, on to the books! I’m sure you’ll all be happy to know that with a wee push in December, helped considerably by my loyal buddy reader, I did in fact manage to nail my Goodreads challenge. But for the first time since joining that challenge, it was a bit of a struggle. For someone who read almost 300 books in one year, to “only” have read 201 last year seems somewhat baffling to me but whatever. It is what it is. I am thoroughly enjoying the lack of pressure though so I’ve set this year’s challenge to a measly 100 and we will see what happens. You may also have noticed that my blog tour boycott isn’t quite working out anymore but I’m being extremely picky and hopefully I won’t be sliding down that particular slippery slope too hard again.

Right, let’s take a lot at the books I’ve managed to remove from my TBR in January.

| BOOKS I READ IN JANUARY |

15 books. I remember the days when I read double that in a month. What is wrong with me?! Some brilliant books in that list though and five of those you will undoubtedly see again at the end of the year. Guess away!

| BOOKS I BOUGHT IN JANUARY |

Erm … you may want to grab a cuppa for this one. 😳

Do you think I have a problem? 🤔

| BOOK POST WHAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP IN JANUARY |

With thanks to Avon, Headline, Orenda, Titan Books and Transworld.

| ON THE BLOG IN JANUARY |

Review | Elizabeth Letts – Finding Dorothy
Review | Matt Wesolowski – Beast
Review | Robert Bryndza – Nine Elms
Review | Cara Hunter – All The Rage
Review | C.J. Tudor – The Other People
Review | Howard Linskey – Alice Teale Is Missing
Review | Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst – Death Deserved
Review | David B. Lyons – She Said, Three Said
Guest Post | Robert Crouch – Five Things I Learned From Writing A Series

Seems I posted just enough to keep the cobwebs at bay 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Rebecca Reid – Truth Hurts

Tuesday : Review | Michael Wood – The Murder House

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Claire Allan – The Liar’s Daughter

Friday : Review | Louise Beech – I Am Dust

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up (maybe)

Schedule subject to change due to reviews not being written yet. 🙈

I’d better get going now because I have a mother-in-law to entertain soon. Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend and I wish you a great week with lots of happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (December 15)

Diiiiiiiid ya miss me? 🤣

Technically, I suppose this is more of a monthly wrap-up because it’s been a while. That pesky socialising crap got in the way of writing up these posts. That would have been somewhat okay if the weekends of socialising had actually been the best time ever but no such luck.

One I spent struggling through a migraine, which meant painkillers and no wine and really, being around people without alcohol to drown out the stupidity is tough. The second one ended with blisters on both feet, resulting in yours truly not being able to walk properly for three days and telling those who asked about the odd limping thing that I had sprained my ankle because that sounded infinitely cooler. The third one was spent with … kids. I don’t have any. To be honest, I’m not even particularly fond of them. Yet they seem to gravitate towards me like magnets. On a good day, I can handle these two I’m talking about just fine. But that day, they were proper little germ factories, tad whiny, puking all over. I mean, hey, fun! *facepalm*. Last but not least, weekend of socialising number four. That didn’t start out so well as we arrived to a party quite late and everyone was drunk. Some drunk people are fun. Here though, one couldn’t stop crying because my dog has died and it was really hard not to join in with her. Her husband has wandering hands and I spent most of the evening trying to bat those away. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I despise that kind of behaviour. At least I was in charge of the music so I was just sort of having my own wee party on the sidelines 😂

In the midst of all of that, the other half hired some decorators to paint our downstairs ceiling and walls. No hassle for him since he was at work all day. For me though? I spent three days upstairs in my bedroom because obviously our furniture was covered in plastic sheets and I couldn’t actually sit anywhere! And at the end of those really long three days, I realised I didn’t like the colours we picked. 😳

Anyway! To the books because yes, I have actually been reading! My competitive self refuses to fail at the annual Goodreads challenge. If I make it, I will have read 50 books less than last year and a 100 less than the year before that. I’m stunned. I know my reading mojo was as hormonal as it gets but struggling to get to 200 books in the middle of December is utterly shocking for me.

| WHAT I HAVE BEEN READING |

I’m still (only) averaging about four books per week but I’ll take it. After all, it’s way better than nothing, right? I’m quite enjoying not reviewing most of them too. Bad blogger 😉. Bar one or two, these were all fantastic books and you might just be seeing some of them again at some point.

| WHAT I HAVE BOUGHT |

That’s quite a low number for me. These were all bought in the last two weeks as well. I was close to putting out an alert for the return of my book buying mojo 😂

I’m totally in love with those special Agatha Christie editions and just had to have them. As for Stephen King, apparently I’m supposed to read more of his books. A very wise person said so. 😜

| BOOK POST WHAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP |

As a thank you for helping out with the cover reveal, the lovely people at Headline sent me a proof copy of Heatstroke.

| AS FOR THE BLOG |

Hm. Well, I’ve been quite good at keeping up with the “This Week in Books” posts every Wednesday but other than that, it’s been a tad quiet around here. I’m pretty sure that the reviews I’ve posted in the last month or so can be counted on one hand. To be honest, I don’t see that changing any time soon because I am really enjoying grabbing a book from my shelves and just reading it for pleasure. I do have one review coming up before Christmas but that’s it.

Next week, I will be sharing my top 20 favourite stand-alone books of the year. And at some point, I’ll be sharing my most anticipated ones for next year but that list keeps growing on a daily basis and I may need to split it up into parts. If you thought 2019 was a fabulous bookish year, just you wait for next year! It’s going to be awesome! (with regard to books anyway, let’s not even think about all the other shit). I apologise upfront for your out-of-control wish lists 😂

That’s a wrap for this week! I have just realised it’s only ten days until Christmas (how the hell did that happen?!) and I haven’t written a single card yet so I suppose I should get on that right away.

Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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Author : Agatha Christie
Title : And Then There Were None
Pages : 256
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : September 12, 2013 (first published in 1939)

aboutthebook

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again and again.

mythoughts

I’m continuing on my mission to read books by Agatha Christie and despite all the wonderful suggestions in the comments on my post for Murder on the Orient Express, I disregarded them all (sorry, not sorry) and settled for And Then There Were None because I just bloody love that cover. Sometimes a decision is as easy as that.

Now, I was familiar with the premise of this story. Ten people, who seemingly have nothing in common, are invited to a mansion on an island by a mysterious person calling themselves U.N. Owen. On their first evening at the mansion, there’s a death. And then there were nine. I’m sure you get the picture. But that’s all I knew.

Could Agatha Christie weave a story or what?! This one is so unique and once again proves her incredible observational skills where people are concerned. All these characters are realistic and believable, albeit it in our eyes now maybe a tad old-fashioned. She makes it so easy to imagine what it feels like to be stuck in an isolated place with people you don’t know, not knowing who to trust and with no means of escape.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who was responsible and the conclusion left me spinning. I absolutely loved the ending, where it kind of felt to me as if the author was just rubbing my nose into the various clues I missed and which instantly made me want to read the whole book again. Well played, Agatha.

This is only the second Agatha Christie novel I’ve read but it was a roaring success yet again and I’m more determined than ever to read more books by her in the next few months.

And Then There Were None was first published in 1939 and is available in a multitude of formats and covers.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

 

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie @HarperCollinsUK

36350899

Author : Agatha Christie
Title : Murder on the Orient Express
Series : Hercule Poirot #10
Pages : 240
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : October 19, 2017 (first published in 1934)

aboutthebook

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

mythoughts

Confession time. Deep breath. This is the very first time I’ve picked up a book by Agatha Christie. I know, as a crime fiction lover it’s an utter disgrace. And if it hadn’t been for the movie, it may still not have happened. Anyway, I have now corrected the error of my ways and I dare say this will not be the last Christie book I read.

We find ourselves on board the Orient Express when the train is forced to stop due to a snowdrift. When morning comes, one of the passengers is dead. Since nobody has boarded or left the train, the murderer is clearly still among the other passengers and it’s up to Hercule Poirot to figure out who the culprit is.

I thoroughly enjoyed this change of pace. While I do like my crime fiction a bit gruesome and full of gore sometimes, it’s nice to read something where the focus isn’t on the icky details but more on the investigation and interviews with potential suspects. And there are a lot of them here. Poirot obviously doesn’t have access to any nifty gadgets, google or databases but relies purely on his wit and powers of deduction.

It’s easy to see why Agatha Christie was, and still is, so popular. Or even why Hercule Poirot is the second most famous detective in the world. It seems to me that Christie was an excellent observer, based on the incredibly realistic and eccentric characters. This was a solid plot that had me guessing until the end. I couldn’t figure out at all whodunnit, nor even howdunnit. That’s totally a word, by the way. 😉

A short and quick read, this fabulous new edition of Murder on the Orient Express now stands proudly on my bookshelf and I know more will follow. I’m glad I finally got around to reading something by her.

Murder on the Orient Express was first published in 1934 and is available in various formats with various covers.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads