Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Five top wilderness thrillers featuring fearless women

Peggy Townsend is an award-winning journalist and author. Her work has appeared in Catamaran literary magazine, Santa Cruz Noir, The Boston Globe Magazine, Memoir, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Twice she lived for seven weeks in her van, traveling to Alaska and along the back roads of the U.S.

Townsend's new novel is The Beautiful and the Wild.

At CrimeReads she tagged five favorite wilderness thrillers featuring fearless women, including:
I devoured The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne.

Dionne’s protagonist Helena Pelletier was raised in an isolated cabin in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She doesn’t learn until she flees her home that her father, both loving and heartlessly cruel, had abducted her mother as a girl and held her against her will for years. Now a mother herself, with her past hidden from even her husband, Helena discovers her father has killed two guards and escaped from prison and that, in order to protect her children, she must now hunt him.

Helena is one of those unforgettable characters who knows how to hunt and fish, to skin animals and to savor the taste of boiled cattails but finds the civilized world a mystery. She suppresses her wildness in an attempt to fit in until, one day, everything changes and that animal-like fierceness is resurrected. With her daughters’ lives in jeopardy, Helena takes her dog and weapons and goes into the marsh after her father.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Marsh King’s Daughter is among Luanne Rice's five best thrillers set in wild places and Sally Hepworth's top eight dysfunctional fictional families.

--Marshal Zeringue