SARA OCHS - author of THE DIVE - The Destination Thriller

Written by Sara Ochs


I like to consider myself an equal-opportunity thriller reader. But, if I’m being honest, there has always been one type of thriller that stands apart from all the others for me: the destination thriller.


To me, the destination thriller is its own category of book, combining mystery and a small cast of characters—all of whom are harboring secrets and suspicions—and a beautiful and dangerous location where anything can happen.


So, it shouldn’t come as much as a surprise that when I sat down to write my debut thriller, THE DIVE, setting was at the forefront of my mind. I have long been a huge fan of thrillers set on remote islands, like Lucy Foley’s THE GUEST LIST and Lucy Clarke’s ONE OF THE GIRLS. I love how both are masters at moving the locked room mystery beyond the four walls and into a wild and foreign—yet still completely isolated—terrain. So, I wanted to follow in their footsteps and set my debut thriller on a remote island. And fortunately, I knew just the place.


A few years ago, my two friends and I backpacked our way through Thailand. Towards the end of our trip, we made it to an island in the country’s southern region. As soon as I stepped off the ferry, I was in love.


I’d never seen anywhere so beautiful. With its pristine beaches, craggy mountains, and lush palm trees, everywhere on the island made me feel as though I was looking through an Instagram filter. My friends and I spent a full week there, earning our scuba diving certifications, rubbing elbows with the expats that had made the island their home, and soaking in sunsets, beach cocktails in hand.


It was towards the end of my stay that I learned a double murder had occurred a year before on the beach not far from where I had been staying. I spent the ferry ride and multiple flights home mulling over this apparent dichotomy. The juxtaposition of such a dark act occurring on the most beautiful place I’d ever visited just didn’t seem to fit right in my mind.


I was never able to fully get that island out of my head. And despite knowing the dark crime that had been committed there, my feelings for it didn’t fade over the years; it was somewhere I regularly imagined running away to when the stresses of everyday life became too much.


So, when I decided to write a thriller, I knew that island—in all its beauty and complexity—would be the setting. I layered on top of that a group of expats, all of whom are running from dark pasts, and the mysterious death of a resort guest discovered mid-scuba dive. And when I put it all together, I was left with my debut, THE DIVE, a mystery set on Koh Sang, a fictional Thai island very much based upon the life-changing place I’d visited years before.


One of my favorite parts about writing THE DIVE was being able to relive my Thailand trip and immerse myself in memories of my favorite destination. It’s this joy that I’ll carry into my future thrillers, many of which I intend will be based upon the antics I got up to on my various other travels.


So, you can be pretty sure that every time I travel to a new place, I’ll be the creepy girl there, taking it all in and occasionally musing aloud, ‘This would be a great place for a murder.”


'Set on a sun-drenched island where darkness lurks in the shadows and everyone is hiding secrets, The Dive is the perfect summer thriller. A must-read for fans of The Beach!'
Allie Reynolds, author of Shiver and The Bay

‘I loved The Dive - a twisty, gripping, unputdownable thriller set in a stunning but sinister location.’
Roz Watkins, bestselling author of the DI Meg Dalton series

‘Propulsive and devilishly twisty, THE DIVE demands to be read in one breathless sitting. The ideal book to take to the beach in summer 2023 - just not *this* beach!’
Catherine Ryan Howard, bestselling author of The Nothing Man

‘The claustrophobic world of beach-bums, influencers and long-term ex-pats, each with their own agenda, is the perfect environment for a fast-paced closed-room thriller that demands to be read in one sitting - prepare to be submerged from the first page and not resurface until that unsettling final line.'
Charlotte Philby, author of A Double Life


The Hunting Party meets The Beach in this sun-soaked locked-room thriller debut for 2023!

Sara Ochs

20th July 2023

Hardback | Bantam Press | £14.99

Sara Ochs

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor