First-time novelist Stef Penney won Britain's Costa Book of the Year award this month for The Tenderness of Wolves, a vivid portrait of life in snowswept Canada. The book's realism is particularly impressive since Penney has never visited the country. Suffering from agoraphobia, she could only make it as far as London's British Library to do her research. But fictional fudging is an illustrious tradition (Shakespeare almost certainly never left England, either) and other acclaimed modern authors have gotten by with less meticulous research.
This thriller follows...