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:
THE TOP TEN BESTSELLER
'A tense, unsettling thriller' T. M. LOGAN, author of THE HOLIDAY
'Gripping . . . a bright new voice in psychological thrillers' ERIN KELLY, author of HE SAID/SHE SAID
'Packed with tension and twists' CANDIS
'I didn't put it down until I had turned the final page' LIZ NUGENT, author of OUR LITTLE CRUELTIES
'Gripping, propulsive' IRISH TIMES
'Eerie and unsettling' CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD, author of THE NOTHING MAN
'A breathless, gut-wrenching thriller' WOMAN'S OWN
'Pacy, clever and tense' JO SPAIN, author of THE PERFECT LIE
'Packs an emotional punch' IRISH INDEPENDENT
'A high-speed, heart-stopping ride' EDEL COFFEY, author of BREAKING POINT
'Beautifully written, perfectly paced' THE TABLET
What if your child's imaginary friend was real?
All children have imaginary friends. It's perfectly normal.
But when Georgina's young son Cody tells her about his 'New Granny', a mysterious friend from the park, the words send shivers down her spine. Georgina's beloved mother died only months ago.
Her husband Bren is certain the woman is an invention, Cody's way of grieving for his grandmother, but there's something in the way Cody talks about his new friend that feels so real.
Is someone out there, watching Georgina's family from the shadows?
Is Cody's imaginary friend not so imaginary after all?
An absolutely gripping psychological thriller with an emotional punch that will take your breath away. The perfect suspense novel for fans of Lisa Jewell, Clare Mackintosh and Jane Corry.
What readers are saying . . .
***** 'Wow . . . unputdownable'
***** 'This was amazing! Chilling and tense'
***** 'Thrilling, engrossing page-turner'
***** 'Gave me chills'
***** 'Such a GOOD read . . . gripping, tense and unpredictable'
***** 'I was gripped from first page to last'
***** 'I couldn't put it down'