Following up on the success of her 2016 bestseller, Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty redirects her familial focus to introduce us to Nine Perfect Strangers. Each member of this unlikely group has their own reason for checking in to Tranquillum House, a remote health resort.
They recognize that their 10-day stay will require some effort, but no one imagines how truly challenging it will be. One guest in particular, former romance novelist Frances Welty, arrives and becomes obsessed with the resort’s strange and charismatic owner. She struggles to decide whether she should dive right in to her program or leave while she’s got the chance. Soon, each guest faces the same decision.
If you like the dark humor that is central to Moriarty’s writing style, you may want to check out Holy Ghost by John Sandford. The self-appointed mayor of Pinion, Minn., schemes to put the quiet, small town on the map. He and his co-conspirator try to turn the whole town into a religious shrine that will attract thousands of tourists. However, the discovery of a dead body thwarts this plan and begins a series of troublesome events for Pinion’s residents.
Another darkly humorous novel released this year is My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Moshfegh shows us how reasonable -- and maybe even necessary -- alienation can be when her unnamed narrator grows increasingly dissatisfied and exhausted by her post-college life. The narrator spends an entire year under the influence of a cocktail of drugs designed to help her heal through constant hibernation.
If you’re interested in stories that focus on the dynamics of a group of strangers, check out And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Originally published in 1939, this novel follows 10 strangers as they are isolated and stalked on Soldier Island. Believing they have been invited to the island for reasons such as employment and vacations, the strangers soon realize the shared reason for their presence on the island: They are to be executed, one by one, for misdeeds they committed in the past.
Another novel set at a resort is Nora Roberts’s Come Sundown. Bodine Longbow runs her family’s ranch and resort in western Montana. After a young woman’s body is discovered on the resort, Bodine becomes aware of the possible dangers lurking in the mountains surrounding the resort. The murder reminds the Longbows of an old loss -- over two decades ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice mysteriously vanished. Bodine and her friend and employee, Callen, must work together to determine whether this new tragedy may be connected to Alice’s disappearance.
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