Vacation Reads: Getaways Gone Wrong

It’s vacation season and what better way to commemorate that than with some books featuring getaways gone wrong? After reading these thrillers, you may find yourself side-eyeing your family and friends on your next trip.

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them? Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you guessing to the very end, and make you think twice about booking that Airbnb!

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

When Milla accepts an off-season invitation to Le Rocher, a cozy ski resort in the French Alps, she’s expecting an intimate weekend of catching up with four old friends. It might have been a decade since she saw them last, but she’s never forgotten the bond they forged on this very mountain during a winter spent fiercely training for an elite snowboarding competition. Yet no sooner do Milla and the others arrive for the reunion than they realize something is horribly wrong. The resort is deserted. The cable cars that delivered them to the mountaintop have stopped working. Their cell phones—missing. And inside the hotel, detailed instructions await them: an icebreaker game, designed to draw out their secrets. A game meant to remind them of Saskia, the enigmatic sixth member of their group, who vanished the morning of the competition years before and has long been presumed dead.

Stranded in the resort, Milla’s not sure what’s worse: the increasingly sinister things happening around her or the looming snowstorm that’s making escape even more impossible. All she knows is that there’s no one on the mountain she can trust. Because someone has gathered them there to find out the truth about Saskia…someone who will stop at nothing to get answers. While I realize that this is a winter getaway thriller, so it’s a bit out of season, it was too engaging to not include. Told between flashbacks of the fateful season ten years ago and what’s happening now in the present, Shiver kept me on the edge of my seat. I also enjoyed learning more about snowboarding culture and the preparation that goes into a competition.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older Black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another? Leave the World Behind is a slow-burn thriller and Alam does an excellent job keeping the undercurrent of uncertainty going throughout the book. The perspective shifts abruptly between characters, which only added to the tension. There were times when I wanted to shake the characters in the book, but overall, I did enjoy it.

There’s an upcoming Netflix adaptation of Leave the World Behind starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts that I’m looking forward to watching. I feel like this is one of the rare occasions where the movie might just be better than the book – I think it’s going to translate really well to film.

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