The best novels where the weather is a character and a foe

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist with a passion for reading and it is this which I feel qualifies me to speak on this topic. My reading is eclectic across the crime/mystery genre and there’s nothing I love more than a book that sucks me right into the same world its characters inhabit, something all five of my choices did. As a novelist I appreciate the way these novels all use the weather conditions to add an extra layer of threat to the protagonists and it’s something I’ve always wanted to emulate.


I wrote...

The Flood

By Graham Smith,

Book cover of The Flood

What is my book about?

Still haunted by the historic murder of her parents, PC Fiona MacLeish has been told by Police Scotland that she must take a break from the demands of a busy force. So she’s returned to her remote childhood home in the Borders, where she grew up with her aunt. A place where nobody even knows she’s in the police force.

But when a terrifying storm cuts the small farming community off, and the bloodied body of one of her aunt’s neighbours is found, she realises the very place she has gone to find peace may be far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Ice Station Zebra

Graham Smith Why did I love this book?

I am a huge fan of MacLean’s work and in Ice Station Zebra he crafted a wonderful novel that pitted the protagonists against not just the antagonists, but also the weather.

As he so often does, MacLean has created a take of high-stakes derring-do, but with this novel he added an extra foe, the frigid weather of the Arctic Circle. Can you imagine battling to catch a killer when there are ice spicules being blown across a frozen tundra? Whether you can or can’t, you need to read this fantastic novel. 

By Alistair MacLean,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ice Station Zebra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic thriller from the bestselling master of action and suspense.

The atomic submarine Dolphin has impossible orders: to sail beneath the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean, and somehow locate and rescue the men of weather-station Zebra, gutted by fire and drifting with the ice-pack somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

But the orders do not say what the Dolphin will find if she succeeds - that the fire at Ice Station Zebra was sabotage, and that one of the survivors is a killer.


Book cover of Sahara

Graham Smith Why did I love this book?

One of Cussler’s earlier novels featuring Dirk Pitt, Cussler sends his erstwhile hero deep into a desert landscape where he throws all manner of problems at them.

As Pitt and co battle to survive the harsh conditions, they are tested to the limit as they must not only escape the arid landscape, but do in time to foil a dastardly plot. While perhaps not as much of a literary heavyweight as some of the other authors mentioned on this list, Cussler is brilliant at writing a rollicking good yarn.

By Clive Cussler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sahara as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The eleventh classic Dirk Pitt novel, where the adventurer is drawn to a secret in the burning African desert, which could destroy all life in the world's seas.

A CREEPING RED TIDE OF DEATH

Deep in the African desert, Dirk Pitt discovers that a top secret scientific installation is leaking a lethal chemical into the rivers, threatening to kill thousands of people - and to destroy all life in the world's seas.

To warn the world of the catastrophe, Pitt must escape capture and death at the hands of a ruthless West African dictator and French industrialist, and undertake a…


Book cover of The Land God Gave to Cain

Graham Smith Why did I love this book?

Many of the Hammond Innes novels I’ve read could have featured on this list, but I’ve chosen this one because so much of it is about a battle with the elements.

Ian Ferguson is on a quest to Labrador Island to discover who sent the rescue message that was the last communication his radio operator father received. Innes is so adept at describing the weather you’ll shiver along with his characters.

By Hammond Innes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Land God Gave to Cain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adventure novel.


Book cover of Ice Station

Graham Smith Why did I love this book?

With this stunning introduction to Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield, Reilly hits the heights of adventure like few before him.

The action is non-stop and just when you think you have a chance to breathe, the frigid Antarctic conditions rear their head. Not so much a full on foe, as a general hindrance, I loved Ice Station because Reilly’s sparse descriptions of the landscape and inhospitable weather were just enough to bring a sympathetic shiver to me before the action kicked off again.

By Matthew Reilly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ice Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fast-paced thriller from bestselling author Matthew Reilly, Ice Station.

Antarctica is the last unconquered continent, a murderous expanse of howling winds, blinding whiteouts and deadly crevasses. On one edge of Antarctica is Wilkes Station. Beneath Wilkes Station is the gate to hell itself...

A team of U.S. divers, exploring three thousand feet beneath the ice shelf has vanished. Sending out an SOS, Wilkes draws a rapid deployment team of Marines-and someone else...

First comes a horrific firefight. Then comes a plunge into a drowning pool filled with killer whales. Next comes the hard part, as a handful of survivors…


Book cover of Cold Granite

Graham Smith Why did I love this book?

MacBride’s seminal debut introduces readers not only to an erstwhile hero and a stunning ensemble of secondary characters, but also his wonderful descriptions of a foul Aberdeen winter.

Scattered in among the narrative are little vignettes that elevate the whole story with his excellent turn of phrase. Since reading this novel, his books have become must reads for me, even if the Aberdeen Tourist Board don’t have him on their Christmas card list.

By Stuart MacBride,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cold Granite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The very first Logan McRae novel

Stuart MacBride's Number One bestselling crime series opens with this award-winning debut. DS Logan McRae and the police in Aberdeen hunt a child killer who stalks the frozen streets.

Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather...

It's DS Logan McRae's first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn't get much worse. Three-year-old David Reid's body is discovered in a ditch: strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he's only the first. There's a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are…


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Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

Book cover of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Author Of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Englishman who fell in love with a 300-year-old former sausage curing hut on the side of a Slovenian mountain in 2007. After years of visits spent renovating the place, I moved to Slovenia, where I lived and worked for many years, exploring the country, customs, and culture, learning some of the language, and visiting its most beautiful places. I continue to be enamored with Slovenia, and you will regularly find me at my cabin, making repairs and splitting firewood.

Sam's book list on books about Slovenia

What is my book about?

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house, but what was meant as a pitstop becomes life-changing when he decides to stay. Along the way, he meets a colourful cross-section of Slovene society: from dormouse hunters, moonshine makers, beekeepers, and bitcoin miners, to a man who swam the Amazon, and a hilltop matriarch who…

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

What is this book about?

'Charming, funny, insightful, and moving. The perfect book for any Slovenophile' - Noah Charney, BBC presenter

'A rollicking and very affectionate tour' - Steve Fallon, author of Lonely Planet Slovenia

'Delivers discovery and adventure...captivating!' - Bartosz Stefaniak, editor, 3 Seas Europe

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house but what was meant as…


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