Book Corner: Wilderness Thrillers to Kick Off Summer Reading

The word “adventure” evokes a sense of fun and a break from the everyday. It can be something adrenaline-pumping (or panic-inducing), such as cordless bungee jumping, or mildly stimulating, such as checking a new national park off your must-see list. Since we’re talking about reading, a relatively low-risk activity, I’ve decided to take the “Adventure Begins with Your Library”, opens a new window summer reading theme to more of an extreme. How about finding yourself in the Alaskan wilds or lost in a remote island jungle while trying to survive and/or solve a murder? It’s a lot, I know. But I have every confidence you can rise to the challenge, and you don’t even have to leave your couch.

Enjoy these wilderness survival/thriller mashups:

Murder at Haven's Rock, opens a new window by Kelley Armstrong
Welcome to Haven’s Rock, population 0. In the remote Yukon wilderness, Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, are building a new town for people seeking refuge and a fresh start. The only rule: stay out of the forest. When two of the town’s construction crew break the rule and go missing, Casey and Eric must track them down. Stumbling on a woman’s body, evidently a victim of foul play, the couple must race to uncover the truth and find the missing crew members.

Deep Water, opens a new window by Emma Banford
A distress call from a yacht sets a Royal Malaysian Navy captain on the hunt for a couple missing in the vast Indian Ocean. The survivors, newlyweds Jake Selkirk and Virginie Durand, hold a dark secret about their idyllic honeymoon gone wrong. Having invested their life savings on a sailboat to travel the world, the couple first visits Amorante, a remote island paradise with only a few visitors. But the isolation soon brings out the worst in everyone. As more secrets surface, the lines between trust and betrayal blur in this fast-paced high-seas adventure.

One of Us Knows, opens a new window by Alyssa Cole
Years after her diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder sidelined her historic preservation career, Kenetria Nash and her alters land their dream job: resident caretaker of a mansion on a remote Hudson River island. A sudden visit from the home’s conservation trust and an unexpected storm trap Ken with a group of strangers, including the man who holds the key to her shattered past. When he’s found murdered, Ken becomes the prime suspect. Racing against the clock, Ken and her alters must uncover the truth of Kavanaugh Island or face a future as bleak as the surrounding storm.

The House in the Pines, opens a new window by Ana Reyes
Maya was a high school senior when her best friend dropped dead in front of Frank, the mysterious man they’d been hanging around all summer. Seven years later, Maya is finally moving on when she stumbles on a video in which a young woman keels over in front of none other than Frank. Determined to find out the truth, Maya heads back to her small Berkshires hometown, reliving the summer Frank came between Aubrey and Maya. Soon, her research leads her back to Frank’s cabin deep in the woods.

Getaway, opens a new window by Zoje Stage
Reeling from a traumatic shock, reclusive novelist Imogen is convinced to join her adventurous sister, Beck, and their childhood friend Tilda on a weeklong backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon. Imogen and Tilda, who parted ways after college, feel old wounds reopen as they bicker while navigating dangerous trails. But once they learn the trio is being stalked, they quickly put the past aside in order to work together just to survive.

The Beautiful and the Wild, opens a new window by Peggy Townsend
Liv, a survivor of a harsh childhood, falls in love with charismatic filmmaker Mark. After Mark’s career tanks, the two travel and work odd jobs, settling down once their son Xander is born with a rare genetic condition. Then Mark dies by suicide, and Liv uncovers clues that he faked his death. These clues lead Liv to rural Alaska, where she finds Mark alive and following a hedonistic cult. When Liv refuses to join, Mark holds her captive. Liv must plot her escape, rescuing her son and herself while surviving the brutal weather and terrain of the Alaskan wilderness.

Why should kids have all the fun? Join Adult Summer Reading at Central Rappahannock Regional Library to earn a functional yet attractive mini notebook and pen set. Sign up at, opens a new window

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper