Malta is about to become the hot setting for America’s latest crime bestsellers

The tiny Mediterranean archipelago spent a week wooing three popular thriller writers in hopes that they’ll use it as a setting to promote the islands in the US

Chris Kuzneski, Boyd Morrison, and Graham Brown in Malta

Chris Kuzneski, Boyd Morrison, and Graham Brown intend to incorporate references to Malta in future books. Photograph: Adam Alexander

It’s possible that more people in America have heard of bestselling authors Chris Kuzneski, Boyd Morrison and Graham Brown, than have ever heard of Malta.

But all that might be about to change now after the tiny Mediterranean archipelago successfully spent the last week wooing the three hugely popular thriller writers, in what must rank as one of the most unusual and canny tourist initiatives ever.

The authors, who together sell millions of books, came to Malta at the invitation of the Malta Tourism Authority, which is now hoping that they will return home and help promote the Maltese islands in the as-yet-untapped US market by using the archipelago as a backdrop in their new thrillers.

“I’ve been writing over a decade now and I can’t remember any of our writing friends ever mentioning being a part of something like this,” says Kuzneski, whose website claims, perhaps with tongue in cheek, that his books have sold a billion copies in some 25 different languages. (“Give or take a billion,” he jokes.)

It all began with a fan letter from Malta, explains Kuzneski, after he mentioned the island in his first book, Sign of the Cross. “This was my first international release and how a copy of my book had ended up in the middle of the Mediterranean blew my mind, because I’d worked so long and so hard, and finally to have my book at the other side of the world just amazed me,” he says.