In many cultures, doors to the underworld creak open in October, so it’d be criminal not to sink your teeth right now into these three transporting thrillers:
- Jason Bourne meets Luxembourg tourism board in Chris Pavone’s The Expats (2012), a corkscrewing tale of European espionage set among the cobbled streets and convivial cafés of this medieval yet modern duchy.
- In John Burdett’s page-turner Bangkok 8 (2003), detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep’s nonviolent Buddhist leanings rather get in the way of his hunt for a cop killer through the steamy labyrinths of the Thai capital’s underworld.
- John Berendt’s best-selling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994) unravels a real-life society murder, but the true main character is Savannah, Georgia, in all its southern gothic glory. Berendt will have you wishing you lived in a white-columned mansion shaded by Spanish moss-draped trees, with a voodoo priestess for a neighbor.
If you like your thrills on the milder side, meet Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police (2008), who tries to solve an apparently race-inspired murder that disrupts his idyllic small town in the Dordogne. The popular protagonist stars in five other novels, most recently The Devil’s Cave and Bruno and the Carol Singers (both 2012).
Don George is an editor at large at Traveler and the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. He has also edited several award-winning travel-writing anthologies, including Better Than Fiction. Follow Don on Twitter @don_george.