Winter has definitely arrived.
The trees are almost bare and I've dug out my woolly jumpers and mittens. The pubs are serving mulled wine, and Brits are certainly drinking it!
It's time to curl up by the fire with a good book, so here are some of my recommendations for winter themed thrillers. Please do leave your recommendations in the comments!
The Shining – Stephen King
As the harsh winter weather sets in at the Overlook Hotel, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. Click here to sample or buy.
The Wolves of Paris – Michael Wallace
It's the winter of 1450 and Paris is in a panic. A pack of ravenous wolves is loose in the city, feasting on human flesh … These are no ordinary wolves. And if they are not defeated, the city's filthy alleys will be awash in blood. Click here to sample or buy.
White Fire – Preston & Child
Colorado, 1876: At a remote mining camp high in the Rocky Mountains, eleven gold miners are killed, their bodies horribly mutilated, flesh devoured.
136 years later … As the winter snows fall, Corrie's life depends on unravelling a dark secret… the key to which may just lie in a lost Sherlock Holmes story, a tale allegedly so horrifying that its author never dared publish it. Click here to sample or buy.
KILL ZONE: A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller – CJ Lyons
Four days before Christmas, visions of sugar plums and sleeping through the Nutcracker with her husband at her side are dashed when FBI Special Agent Lucy Guardino becomes trapped behind enemy lines as a vicious drug cartel declares war on Pittsburgh. Click here to sample or buy.
Subterranean – James Rollins
Beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth is a magnificent subterranean labyrinth, a place of breathtaking wonders – and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists led by archaeologist Ashley Carter has been hand-picked to explore this secret place and to uncover the riches it holds.
But they are not the first to venture here – and those they follow did not return. There are mysteries here older than time, and revelations that could change the world. But there are also things that should not be disturbed – and a devastating truth that could doom Ashley and the expedition: they are not alone. Click here to sample or buy.
One Day In Budapest – J.F.Penn
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg
A little boy falls off a roof in Copenhagen and is killed. Smilla, his neighbour, suspects it is not an accident: she has seen his footsteps in the snow, and, having been brought up by her mother, a Greenlander, she has a feeling for snow.
Icefall – David Wood
When the bones of the Magi are stolen from their resting place in a German cathedral, the whispered words of a dying priest catapult Dane Maddock and Bones Bonebrake into the midst of a deadly race to solve a centuries-old conspiracy. Click here to sample or buy.
Macbeth, a novel – A.J.Hartley and David Hewson
As winter draws near in Scotland, Macbeth meets a trio of witches and the frustrated hero begins to think that perhaps Scotland needs a new king—him. But what begins as a plan fueled by the best of intentions soon spirals into murder, treachery, and personal collapse. A superb, modern rendition of the classic. Click here to sample or buy.
Lockdown – Sean Black
It may be Christmas Eve in New York, but for ex-military bodyguard Ryan Lock it's business as usual. His task: to protect the CEO of the world's largest bio-technology company from a group of radical, and highly determined, activists. Click here to sample or buy.
Cold Earth – Sarah Moss
A team of six archaeologists from the United States, England, and Scotland assembles at the beginning of the Arctic summer to unearth traces of the lost Viking settlements in Greenland. But as they sink into uneasy domesticity, there is news of an epidemic back home, and their communications with the outside world fall away. Click here to sample or buy.
Drop By Drop – Keith Raffel
Professor Sam Rockman's search for his wife's killer takes him from conspiracy amidst winter snows in Washington D.C. to an abandoned underground center for nuclear weapons in frozen Russia. Click here to sample or buy now.
Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
At a remote US ice station in Antarctica, a team of scientists has made an amazing discovery. They found something unbelievable buried deep below the surface – trapped inside a layer of ice 400 million years old. Something made of metal…something which shouldn't be there…it's the discovery of a lifetime, a discovery of immeasurable value. And a discovery men will kill for. Click here to sample or buy now.
Get Back Jack – Diane Capri
As ice shards pelt her skin on the streets of DC, New York, and Chicago, Kim Otto slips around the edges of Jack Reacher's lethal enemies, only one shot from death, until she faces an enemy with nothing to lose. Click here to sample or buy now.
Antarktos Rising – Jeremy Robinson
Antarctica, freshly thawed and blooming, has emerged as a new hope. Rather than wage a world war no nation can endure, the leading nations devise a competition, a race to the center of Antarctica, with the three victors dividing the continent … But the dangers awaiting the team are far worse than feared.
Click here to sample or buy now.
Second Shot – Zoe Sharp
After a bloody shoot-out in a frozen forest, Charlie Fox is left fighting for her life. As she battles to recover from her injuries, she's still fiercely protective of the girl she's trying to protect, even though her actions will catapult them both back into the firing line. And this time, Charlie's in no fit state to protect anyone, least of all herself … Click here to sample or buy now.
The Defector – Daniel Silva
Grigori Bulganov once saved Gabriel Allon's life in Moscow-and Allon always repays his debts. So when the former Russian intelligence officer vanishes, Allon gathers his team of operatives to go after those responsible. But, in a running battle that rages across the globe, Allon soon realizes that his enemy may already hold the key to victory. And that if he continues, it will cost him more than he can bear… Click here to sample or buy now.
Freezing Point – Karen Dionne
In a drowning, desperate world, the Soldyne Corporation sees an opportunity: Melt Antarctic icebergs into drinking water using their microwave satellite array, ship the water to thirsty nations around the globe, and make a fortune. But deep within the ice waits an enemy more deadly than anyone could imagine–and an apocalyptic horror Earth may not survive. Click here to sample or buy now.
The Terror – Dan Simmons
The ships have now been trapped in the Arctic ice for nearly two years. Coal and provisions are running low. Yet the real threat isn't the constantly shifting landscape of white or the flesh-numbing temperatures, dwindling supplies or the vessels being slowly crushed by the unyielding grip of the frozen ocean.
No, the real threat is far more terrifying. There is something out there that haunts the frigid darkness, which stalks the ships, snatching one man at a time – mutilating, devouring. A nameless thing, at once nowhere and everywhere, this terror has become the expedition's nemesis. Click here to sample or buy now.
The World Beneath – Rebecca Cantrell
Blood and Ice – Robert Masello
Journalist Michael Wilde—his world recently shattered by tragedy—has come to the South Pole looking for solace and a new lease on life. But what he finds on a routine dive in the polar sea is something else entirely: the bodies of a young man and a young woman, bound with chains and sealed forever in a block of ice. Click here to sample or buy now.
The Price – Alexandra Sokoloff
In the dead of a Boston winter, a district attorney begins to suspect his wife has made a terrible bargain with a mysterious hospital counselor to save the life of their dying child. Click here to sample or buy now.
Icebound by Dean Koontz
In an Arctic icefield, a special team of scientists has planted bombs that will detonate automatically at midnight to break away some of the ice. Before they withdraw to the safety of their base camp, a shattering tidal wave breaks loose the ice on which they are working. Now they are marooned on an iceberg during the worst winter storm of the decade. The bombs in the ice beneath them are buried irretrievably deep…and ticking. Click here to sample or buy now.
The Red King of Helsinki – Helena Halme
A fast moving Nordic Noir spy story, set in the wintry streets of Helsinki. The year is 1979 and the Cold War is all but over in Helsinki, the playground of the Russian KGB, when a former British Navy officer Iain is asked to work undercover. He’s to investigate Vladislav Kovtun, a violent KGB spy, dubbed The Red King of Helsinki by the Finnish secret service. This is Iain’s first assignment, and when he discovers the bodies left in Kovtun’s wake, he quickly gets embroiled in danger. Click here to sample or buy now.
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow … Years later, Libby’s search for the truth takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer. Click here to sample or buy now.
A Thousand Fiendish Angels – J.F.Penn
Three short stories inspired by Dante’s Inferno, linked by a book of human skin passed down through generations. On the edge of horror, thriller and the occult.
Sins of Treachery: On the death of their Grandfather, twin brothers Simon and Gestas are left a map covered in alchemical symbols that could lead them to great wealth and power. But they find more than they expected in the frozen wastes of the Arctic north … Click here to sample or buy now.
What's your favorite thriller based in or around the snowy winter? Please do leave a comment below.
Lance Horton says
Shadow Dragon is a suspense thriller about a series of bizarre and brutal murders taking place during the winter in Flathead National Forest in Montana just south of Glacier National Park.
Joanna Penn says
Sounds like an interesting landscape 🙂 I’ll check that out.
Marina Sofia says
Oooh, you’ve got some excellent ones there! There is something about the frozen climate that is really suitable for thriller and murderous instant… A couple of recent favourites I would add to the list is: M.J. McGrath ‘White Heat’ set in the deepest Northern reaches of Canada, Bernard Minier’s ‘The Frozen Dead’ set in the Pyrenees, and Dan Smith’s ‘Red Winter set in 1920s Russia. All very atmospheric!
Joanna Penn says
I like the sound of The Frozen Dead 🙂
Marina Sofia says
Sorry, I meant ‘murderous intent’ – need to learn to edit a bit more carefully before I click ‘submit’.
Hi Joanna, sorry this comment should be here 🙂
great tips! I noted you haven’t included any of the Scandinavian crime fiction 🙂 . I’m not a fan of it myself but would love to hear your opinion on the extremely successful Nordic Noir genre. Many thanks!
Joanna Penn says
I think the craziness that emerged after the Stieg Larsson peak put me off reading in the genre, as it all got a bit repetitive. I’ve read a few Jo Nesbo and others, but I don’t read so many of these. It sounds like you don’t either 🙂
Saw now Helena Halme, an author that is unknown in Scandinavia. In any event, would love to hear your views on the Scandinavian crime fiction, cheers.
Great list of reads. A few new ones from my fireplace TBRs. I’d add 61 Hours, a chilly read that opens with a bus crash in a snowstorm. Reacher is traveling that bus and the wrinklies are in danger of freezing without Reachers intervention. This sets in motion an icy Reacher adventure in Bolton, South Dakota, where nothing is quite what it seems
Joanna Penn says
ooh yes, I loved that one too! I’m a massive Reacher fan!
EG Michaels says
Nice list Joanna! I’ll also suggest John Sandford’s book “Winter Prey” for the winter themed thriller books.
Joanna Penn says
super, will add to my personal reading list 🙂
Jon Simmonds says
I’d also add “The Tenderness of Wolves” by Stef Penney to the list of winter-based thrillers. It’s a cracking story, beautifully written and shot through with, well, tenderness… 🙂
Joanna Penn says
I probably need some tenderness on this list, so thank you 🙂
Cyd Madsen says
Those look yummy. It is cold here (ice and snow), and these look like the ticket. Is Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow the same as Smilla’s Sense Of Snow? Publication dates are the same. It’s a wicked good book and created quite a sensation when it was first release. I wouldn’t mind revisiting it. Thanks for the recommendations.
Joanna Penn says
Yes, same book! Must be the US version of the name, in the UK it was Miss Smilla – how strange 🙂
Cyd Madsen says
Just a wee quirk of traditional publishing 🙂
Rayven T. Hill says
Great list of recomendations with The Shining rightly placed first. I will have to dig out my paper copy and read it again.
Graham Downs says
I’ve just finished The Shining, and I actually really enjoyed it.
Nice plug for Budapest! 😉 I’d love to read it, but I’ve already bought my book for December. Maybe next month? (nudge. hint)