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Desert Island Crime with Rachel Ryan

Desert Island Crime

Welcome to Desert Island Crime, where each week we ask a bestselling author: If you were stranded on a desert island and had to choose 8 books to take with you, what would you pick and why?

This week we caught up with Rachel Ryan, whose gripping psychological thriller Hidden Lies is out now. Over to you Rachel. . .


Wild – Cheryl Strayed

I’d definitely take Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. The story follows a twenty-six-year-old woman who solo hikes 1,1000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. I think I could find some inspiration for my desert island survival among those pages.


My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier

I’ll definitely want a couple of suspense novels on the island with me – I’m addicted to thrillers, can’t live without ‘em – so I might as well bring some of the best.


The Poison Tree – Erin Kelly

For the reason listed above.

This list is so far comprised of my personal feel-good books – old favourites I reach to for comfort – and yes, plenty of my go-to feel-good books are about murder.


The Stand – Stephen King

Weirdly, despite how scary it is, this book is comfort reading for me. I read it over and over again in my teens, and the characters feel like old friends. I learned so much from reading King – he taught me how to stretch a moment out and create tension so tight it feels like it might snap. He showed me how to put fear on the page.

Also, The Stand is a nice fat book, and would keep my busy on a desert island.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

More comfort reading! For me, as for so many other bookish children of the nineties, the Harry Potters books are the ultimate comfort food. Re-reading them feels like hanging out with old friends, or spending time in old memories. (There’s also a lot to be learned about how to properly execute a mystery within those pages!) I suppose I can’t bring all seven, so I’ll settle for Book 5, which was always my favourite. Left-field choice, I know, but no matter how old I get I always derive much joy from the part where the whole school unites against Umbridge.


Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Another book in which the characters feel like old friends, and which I never get sick of re-reading. It’s a real toss-up deciding which of Adichie’s books I’d bring – I also never tire of re-reading Americanah, or The Thing Around My Neck.


The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

If I’m stuck on a deserted island, presumably I’ll have lots of time to think. I might as well bring along some poetry to help with the process!


Desert Solitaire – Edward Abbey

This collection of essays is one of my favourite books of all time. When I was in my twenties, and backpacking South America with my then-boyfriend, I came across this book by chance in a hostel in Bolivia. I knew after the first few pages that I’d found something that would become a part of me. Reading about Abbey’s adventures on the deserts of Utah helped me find the courage to start solo travelling, which is now a big part of my life. Now, every time I solo travel, I bring my battered copy of Desert Solitaire along with me – the very same copy I picked up in Bolivia all those years ago. It’s yellowing and it’s got no cover, but I’m quite sentimental about it. It would have to come with me to the desert island.


Rachel’s gripping thriller Hidden Lies is available in paperback, eBook and audio. Find out more below: