Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Four atmospheric thrillers with unusual settings

Tessa Wegert is the author of the Shana Merchant novels, which include Death in the Family, The Dead Season, Dead Wind, and The Kind to Kill. A former freelance journalist and digital media strategist, Wegert’s work has appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Adweek, and The Economist. She grew up in Quebec and now lives with her husband and children in Connecticut.

[My Book, The Movie: The Dead SeasonThe Page 69 Test: The Dead SeasonQ&A with Tessa WegertThe Page 69 Test: Dead WindWriters Read: Tessa Wegert (April 2022)Writers Read: Tessa Wegert (December 2022)]

At CrimeReads Wegert tagged four novels that embrace "unusual settings that are loaded with both atmosphere and crime fiction potential," including:
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Louise Penny fans would probably be satisfied if she never took her series beyond the Three Pines village green, but with Bury Your Dead, the author relocates Chief Inspector Gamache to Quebec City just in time for Winter Carnival. The famed Sûreté du Québec detective is meant to be on medical leave. Instead, a snowy walk with his dog leads to his involvement with a murder and a centuries-old Canadian mystery.

While the homicide isn’t directly linked to Carnaval de Québec, references to the festival’s traditional drinks, street entertainers, and frigid weather create a captivating backdrop. In my opinion as a long-time Penny reader, this book represents the author’s first outing into thriller territory (though titles like All the Devils Are Here later follow suit). The pacing in this one is lightning-quick, the present-day mystery interspersed with gripping flashbacks to Gamache’s traumatic police stakeout gone wrong. This book should be required reading for anyone visiting Quebec City (and does a stellar job of conveying the importance of good winter gear).
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue