5 Thrillers Set in Remote Locations That’ll Chill You to the Bone

What narratives make you go back to them time and time again? Do you explore the locales of your favourite characters or the antagonists who have ruined a million lives? Well, these stories are the exact opposite. Taking you to impossible-to-reach places, set within the undulating terrains off the beaten track, these mysteries in the back of beyond may get you lost in their secluded depths. Happy reading! 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Written in 1938, this Gothic novel takes the crown as the most haunting nightmare provoked. Du Maurier’s character came alive in a ravenous Hitchcockian drama two years after its publication, giving life to the young nameless woman who married a widower only to discover that the house is haunted, figuratively and literally, by the ghost of his ex-wife, Rebecca. Set in Cornwall, a ceremonial county in southwest England, it was the remote home of the Cornish people. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Devon and the English Channel, Rebecca stands amidst steep cliffs, a vivid coastline and short rivers, wherein she was supposed to have sunk, with an inquest suggesting a suicide. 

The Shining by Stephen King 

Written in 1977, this horror novel written by Stephen King, revolves around the character Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and an alcoholic, who is appointed as the off-season caretaker of the remote Overlook Hotel. Set in the Colorado Rockies, the story delves into the incredible envisioning power of his son Danny, who possesses the clairvoyant ability to see through the hotel’s petrifying past. As record snowfall hits the Overlook, the family finds themselves further confined, forced to withdraw within the premises of the property and its many eerie spaces. Cooked in the isolation and tedium of winter boarding, Jack finds himself lost within the blur of his delirious imagination, one that grows to take a fearfully murderous shape. With the highest peaks and topographic summits, this novel is sure to take you for a ride! 

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Written by Dennis Lehane in 2003, this novel takes us to a US Marshal, appointed to a hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the case of an escaped patient, a murderer. Inspired by the Brontë sisters and their Gothic style, the setting was based on Long Island on Boston Harbor. The ruinous Hurricane Carol has a special role in this isolating milieu, The discovery of illegal psychotropic drugs converted many investigators into patients, sedating them and treating them to delusion. Surrounded by peninsular landscapes, the causeway to access the island (during recce) was under the control of the police, adding to the effervescent drama blooming in the plot. 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

This 2016 mystery novel by Ruth Ware takes you on a joyride (not so much!) through the Norwegian fjords on a luxury yacht to see the northern lights. Laura ‘Lo’ Blacklock, the novel’s protagonist, is a 32-year-old travel journalist, who receives the shock of her life when a group of burglars ransack all her belongings. Determined not to miss her vacation, Lo enters a world on water, encountering a swirling female hand in the water, a scream, and a smear of blood in the neighbouring veranda. Complaining about the safety of the girl in Cabin 10 led her to know that it was always empty. The yacht Aurora becomes a honeytrap for Lo as she disguises herself as her co-passenger, falls in the ocean, seeks refuge in a Norwegian barn and contacts home. 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Ever heard of a bildungsroman murder? This 2018 murder mystery by zoologist Delia Owens intermingles two equally possessing timelines. Following a young girl named Kya, who is abandoned by her mother due to the constant abuse from her husband, the narrative grows around the marshes of North Carolina. She learns to draw the shells and feathers from the shoreline even when illiterate and fights the title ‘nasty Marsh Girl’ given by her schoolmates and the pastor’s wife. The second part of the story is carried forward by the murder of celebrity Chase Andrews in Barkley Cove, located in the same area. Both stories reiterate the hyper-masculinity and the animalesque behaviours that drive the narrative in a unique style, encoding fireflies who flashlight signals to lure the male (of another species) to death.

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About the Author

Pritha Banerjee has completed her Masters in English Language & Literature from the University of Delhi. She was the recipient of the National Essay-writing Award from the SREI Foundation in 2014. Currently acting as a writer and translator for the Sankrityayan-Kosambi Study Circle, her latest publications include articles in ‘South Asian Women’s Narratives: Literatures of Their Own’ by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, FIPRESCI India, Muse India, Pashyantee: A Bilingual Journal, and Anustup Prakashani. Her upcoming translation of Rahul Sankrityayan’s ‘Dimaagi Gulaami’ is to be published by LeftWord Books. Find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

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