As we head into the new year (yay) and the dead of winter (oy), there’s something delicious about a thriller that’s set in a ski resort or a mountain village. What is it about that setting that pairs so well with murder? It’s partly travel envy, to be sure — who wouldn’t like to be in an Alpine town right now? It also conjures up a combination of cozy — fireplaces, hot chocolate, fondue — and terrifying, with the endless expanse of snow outside blocking roads (and help from the civilized world) and making things even more isolated and dire, the perfect playground for your garden-variety killer. Here are three releases that channel the very best of apres-ski terror.
One by One
Ruth Ware (fiction, Gallery/Scout Press)
The team at Snoop, a trendy London tech startup, is having a team-bonding retreat at a luxurious ski resort in the French Alps. The setting is perfect, but as a storm builds outside the hotel, there’s one brewing inside as well, with a disgruntled shareholder and a buyout offer. Then an avalanche cuts them off from the outside world, shutting down power — and providing a killer with the perfect setting to pick them off, one by one.
Sarah Pearse (fiction, Pamela Dorman Books)
Le Sommet is a former sanatorium high in the Swiss alps, newly reimagined as a chic, minimalist 5-star hotel. When off-duty detective Elin Warner is invited there by her estranged brother and his new fiancée, she dislikes the place from the start: In addition to its uneasy past, there’s a storm on the way. When she wakes up the next morning, her brother’s fiancée has disappeared — and a body has been found.
Allie Reynolds (fiction, GP Putnam’s Sons)
Milla has been invited to an impromptu reunion at an off-season resort in the French alps. She’s puzzled at first by the last-minute invitation, but looking forward to seeing old friends she hasn’t seen in a decade, since their time competing in skiing and snowboarding on that same mountain. But when she gets there, everything is off. The resort is deserted, the cable cars have stopped working, their cellphones are missing, and inside the hotel, a detailed set of instructions suggest icebreaker games that seem determined to unearth old secrets.
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