Want to know what someone is really like? Get stuck in a snowstorm with them. With no power and nowhere to go, you’ll quickly learn just who you’re living with — and your relationships will never be the same.
In these six books — thrillers, mysteries, a family saga, and romances — the authors put their characters to the test in snowy locales. — Elizabeth Held
In the early ’90s, The Bellweather Resort, located in the Catskills, was home to a horrific murder-suicide of a just-married couple witnessed by a young girl. Fifteen years later, during a high school musical festival, the same girl checks into the now-rundown hotel in an attempt to face her demons.
Over a single snowy weekend, with no place to escape, the hotel will be home to a murder, a shooting, and the disappearance of a teenage flute prodigy, as both the young musicians and the adults staying at the hotel are forced to confront long-held secrets.
I was so caught up in Bellweather Rhapsody that I missed my subway stop. Racculia has created a wonderful cast of oddball characters, and I couldn’t help but root for them as they attempted to grow into better people. [We love this book, too; our write-up here.]
When the Shastri family gathers at their private island off the coast of New England for a Christmas celebration in 2044, their matriarch, Dava, stuns them with two pieces of news. One: She has terminal brain cancer and will be committing doctor-assisted suicide over their holiday. Two: Her lawyer has already announced her death to the press so that she can die knowing what her legacy will be.
Stuck on the island during a deadly winter storm, the Shastri’s attempt to understand Dava’s decisions and the new information being reported after her’ death.’
Dava Shastri’s Last Day is a high-concept novel that pulls off its premise, but its star is Dava herself. Kirthana Ramisettis developed a complex, deeply-flawed character, not necessarily likable but fascinating.
Nine friends check in to an isolated, exclusive hunting lodge in rural Scotland for a New Year’s Eve getaway. Unfortunately, only eight survive the trip after one member of their party disappears during a deadly blizzard.
Whodunnit master Lucy Foley uses a clever structure in The Hunting Party, switching between two timelines and multiple narratives. The result is that the reader isn’t just guessing who the murderer is but who the victim is as well. And in this group of friends, nearly everyone is a suspect to be either the victim — or the perpetrator.
It was such a propulsive read I found myself switching back-and-forth between the audio and a printed copy so that I could finish it as fast as possible. [We love this book, too; our write-up here.]
In this novella, longtime friends-turned-business-partners Kristen and Jasper are snowed in at a client’s house over Christmas after an unexpected storm leaves them stranded. After years of attempting to ignore their growing feelings for each other, the forced proximity leads them to consider a romantic relationship.
It sounds like the premise of the Hallmark movie — something Kate Clayborn winks and nods at throughout the book — as her two characters watch cheesy Christmas movies. But Clayborn delivers all the sweetness without the saccharine sentimentality often found in those cable movies.
Ruth Ware is often hailed as a ‘modern-day Agatha Christie.’ With One by One, she proves the nickname isn’t false flattery. The book follows employees at a trendy London tech startup on a corporate retreat at a luxury chalet in the Alps.
Tensions rise as the group debates selling the company, rival factions fight for votes with billions of dollars at stake. Then, when a top executive disappears during an avalanche, they assume it was an accident — until a murderer picks them off one by one. Snowed in from the avalanche, without power or cell service, the group is left trying to survive and find the murderer among them.
Like The Hunting Party, One by One is as much a tale about group dynamics as it is a murder mystery, with characters wading through years of baggage to determine who they can and can’t trust.
In this romantic suspense novel, a remote research station in Antarctica is attacked, and curmudgeonly glaciologist Ford Cooper and chef Angel Smith are forced to go on the run in the most inhospitable place on Earth. With no power and only the supplies they can carry, the pair set out to cover hundreds of miles of unforgiving terrain while a madman attempts to hunt them down.
As they try to make it to safety — and get caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy — sparks fly between the fleeing pair.
Whiteout is wild in the best possible way. Adriana Anders throws plot twist after plot twist at the reader, as the scheme affecting Ford and Angel grows to include a top company and a leading senator. Readers who are willing to go along for the ride will have a lot of fun.
Top image courtesy of Mike Kotsch/Unsplash.
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