I respond most strongly to novels with a definite sense of place. As a person who has always lived in a city and loves the idea of the country but has no desire to live there, I am most fascinated by stories that portray the bleak beauty of high latitude wild country.
I've just finished reading Ann Cleeves' Dead Water, which is the fifth in her Shetland series. Cleeves always takes me to her Shetlands in this series so easily that I
feel familiarity with I place I've never visited. That's a sign of an author who can evoke a realistic sense of place.
imagine how the series could continue after book 4's shattering finish
but Cleeves has taken me along on another journey. It's simply wonderful, but you must read the books in sequence to be truly caught in the landscape. Raven Black (1), White Nights (2), Red Bones (3), Blue Lightning (4) and Dead Water (5).
I've just discovered that the BBC is currently showing Shetland, based on Red Bones. I wonder how long we'll have to wait to view it here?
Edit: I've just discovered a wonderful leaflet that includes a map of the Shetlands, and a commentary from Cleeves about the real and fictitious locations in her books. It's a pdf and can be found here. Wonderful!