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** My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of this book and Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Every now and again, there is an author who exceeds all expectations and writes a book that completely blows your mind, and I believe that Johaha Gustawsson is one of those rare authors.

In Keeper, readers are reacquainted with profiler Emily Roy and crime writer Alexis Castells as the pair are pulled into a case that has far reaching implications.  But where Gustawsson excels is through weaving together two strands of plot separated by hundreds of years to bring an astoundingly addictive read.  The Ripper killings elicit intrigue from many audiences and so the idea of incorporating them here just serves to make this book even more addictive reading.
Having heard the author speaking at Granite Noir 2018, she mentioned that there had been a Swedish victim of Jack the Ripper and so the way that she incorporates this into her book is ingenious.

The plotting of this book is really something else, I don’t even know where to begin and I don’t want to do Keeper a disservice by attempting to do so.  I will say that this is a book that will keep you on your toes and no matter how many times you think you’ve sussed it out, Gustawsson will completely render you speechless by the deft way that she weaves complex details together.  The characters are fantastically crafted, each appearing so real and multidimensional.  Their histories are so colourful and packed with such comprehensive detail that readers cannot help but become invested in them.

I would highly recommend reading Keeper, and also Gustawsson’s previous thriller Block 46.  Both are equally brilliant and showcase the amazing skill of this author perfectly.

You can buy a copy of Keeper via:

Amazon UK
Orenda Books eBookstore
Wordery

FINAL Keeper blog poster 2018

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Today to Celebrate Indie Publishing I am delighted to share a book from the amazing Orenda Books, a publisher who brings exceptional books to the hands of readers around the world and I’m pleased to say that today’s offering is one such book!

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** My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived… Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.

My Thoughts & Review:

Billed as the first book in the Chastity Riley series, Blue Night gives readers a glimpse into German crime writing.
Chastity Riley is state prosecutor in Hamburg who’s careers has stalled somewhat after her previous case, turns out prosecuting one of her superiors  for corruption wasn’t the best move, neither was shooting a gangster in the genitals.  Her new posting is in witness protection, the theory being she cannot get into too much trouble here.  The discovery of a badly beaten man on the streets of Hamburg means a new case for our protagonist, and she has to use every ace up her sleeve to try and get him to open up and share his secrets with her, the most important being his identity.

There are so many aspects to the plot of this book and some wonderfully interesting characters that really make this book come alive.  The unique layout of this book is what sets it apart in the storytelling.  Between chapters are short monologues from the main characters, giving an intriguing look into their minds and their histories which builds a powerful and colourful  image of the characters.  These short snippets are used to great effect, adding so much to the plot through a few short paragraphs of even lines.

The style of writing is something that I think some readers may take a little getting used to but I did feel that it enhanced my enjoyment of the book.  The wonderful way that Buchholz brings her plot alive through gritty, punchy and thrilling writing makes this a gripping read that readers can race through and devour every last tantalising detail.

The characters in this are intriguing and I felt that the more I learned about Chastity Riley, the more keen I was to read on.  I’m glad that this is just the first book in the series, there seems to be so much to  Chastity, more than could ever be put into one book.  She’s fiercely loyal to those she holds dear and always tries to be there for them, this coupled with her cynical attitude makes her such a brilliant creation.

I’d definitely recommend checking this one out!

You can buy a copy of Blue Night via:

Orenda Books eBookstore
Amazon UK
Wordery

BLUE NIGHT Blog Tour Poster

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Whiteout_New_Cover

** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

My Thoughts & Review:

For fans of Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series a huge sigh of relief can be breathed, the next instalment has landed!

Whiteout sees readers reunited with Ari Thór who is investigating the case of a young woman found dead at the bottom of the cliffs in Kálfshamarvík, a deserted village.  He and Tómas have their work cut out for them with a tight time frame to solve this one, but when they discover that the young woman’s mother and young sister died at the same spot some years ago the investigation becomes as dark and chilling as an Icelandic winter.
The plot also has a wonderful strand relating to the personal lives of Ari, Tómas and Ari’s girlfriend Kristen.  Kristen is heavily pregnant and ends up agreeing to join Ari and Tómas on their trip to Kálfshamarvík, using the time to research her family history.

If you are new to the Dark Island series, I would thoroughly recommend going back and reading the books in order, this will build up a better picture of Ari Thór and give you a wonderful grounding of the skill of Ragnar Jónasson.  He incorporates the eeriness of the setting perfectly into the plot of his novels leaving a reader feeling chilled and wrapped up in the darkness.  I love the way that this feels more like an old fashioned investigation story, relying on intuition and investigative techniques, and it feels like an exercise in mental capabilities trying to puzzle the mystery together with Ari.

There is so much more to this novel than I first expected and I truly am glad.  The character development was superb, it was good to see more about the personalities and  felt that I learned more about Ari and Kristen in Whiteout.  The other characters in this were equally interesting in their own way, some that readers can empathise with and feel invested in, but equally there were ones that you could not help but loathe.

As always, the wonderful scenery that is described in Ragnar’s books really sets the scene and tone for the novel.  I’ve never been to Iceland, and only ever googled images but from what I’ve read in the series it feels like I’ve trudged through the snow, battled biting winds and been lost in the dark of Iceland on several occasions.  The imagery that the writing conjures is so powerful and intense.  The narrative holds your attention perfectly and draws you in slowly making this a superb read!

A thank you to Quentin Bates for this wonderful translation, it’s always a joy when you see him listed as the translator of a book as you know that he will have ensured that the English version of a book will read as though it were the original.

 

You can buy a copy of Whiteout via:

Orenda Books eBookstore
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

About the Author

Ragnar_Photo_TwoRagnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Follow Ragnar on Twitter and his website.

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SNARE new front cover

** My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world.

As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies.

Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts & Review:

When you pick up any book in the Scandi Noir genre you’re instantly looking for something that will blow you away, something that will chill you to your core (more the weather conditions than the plot but if the plot is good enough, it can certainly have that impression on you), but most of all you’re hoping for an exceptionally written book that leaves you with an intense book hangover.  Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir is all of the above, and then some!

Readers first meet the main character Sonja as she is smuggling drugs into Iceland at the “request” of the criminal underworld.  Following a heartbreaking and messy divorce, she lost custody of her son, she has sunk to drug smuggling to try and survive.
Sonja’s efforts in bringing the cocaine into the country are under scrutiny of customs officials, and one in particular is sure that she’s up to something.  Bragi is close to retirement and after his wife going into a care home, his job is all he has left and he’s determined to prove his worth.

And if drug smuggling with a cat and mouse chase wasn’t enough for readers, there is a deliciously thrilling thread of financial crime running through the plot that involves another character linked to Sonja.
At the heart of this book is the story line of a desperate mother who will do anything to win her son back, the problem being that she needs to outwit those around her who have a vested interested in her in order to gain her freedom.

Lilja Sigurdardóttir has created a very powerful book, with a plot that will stay with readers long after they’ve finished reading.  It is a book that readers will struggle to put down, and if they do manage to, the book will only call out to them tauntingly to be picked back up.
Sometimes when you read a book you can imagine a scene play out, or you can see the setting because of the language used by the writer, but in the case of this book, you really do feel like the whole thing plays out like a movie in your mind.  There’s just something so fantastic about the writing.

Characterisation in this is perfect, I could not help but feel connected to the different characters and their tales and despite wanting to dislike Sonja for her drug smuggling, I felt that I sympathised with her in a way.  And boy did I feel my heart thundering when she was passing through customs, she may have appeared cool and collected but I was a nervous wreck on her behalf – astounding writing!!

An excellent addition to the Scandi Noir genre, packed with tension, suspense and a crime story that gets under your skin!

I also think that credit and appreciation should go to Quentin Bates for his wonderful translation.

 

You can buy a copy of Snare via:

Orenda eBookstore
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter! It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another post to showcase an independent publisher and one of their books!
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from No Exit Press, these guys are fast becoming one of my favourite publishers with the fantastic selection of books they’ve published this year!  So many that I may end up having to do a top ten books of the year from each indie publisher at this rate!!


Today’s book in the spotlight is The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet.

Description:

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A FROZEN BODY.

A MURDERED BIKER.

A LAWYER WITH NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE.

In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death.

A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe.

Does the frozen woman hold the key?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

As a fan of Nordic Noir I was really keen to read this book after seeing the description, it jumped out to me as something I would enjoy and sounded very intriguing.

Interestingly , the plot of this book encompasses more than just the frozen woman, there is blackmail, politics to consider too, and as the opening chapter develops we also encounter biker gangs.  With so many strands to the plot I did wonder how this would all fit together and certainly the style of writing makes a reader work for the answers.  The author manages to weave together the different aspects of the plot whilst slowly revealing bits and pieces without giving the game away, almost like one of those crazy blurred images that slowly comes into focus as you watch it.  And once you see the full picture you feel a great satisfaction at being able to finally see the whole thing.   As ever I am trying very hard not to give anything away about the plot, I hate spoilers and would hate to ruin this book for others.

This is a book that requires attention and time when reading, I found that there were a few times that I paused my reading to go back a page or two to be sure of what I was reading, or in one particular case to double check a character name because I’d gotten confused, but I suspect that this is due to the complexity of the names and my irritating need to try and sound them out (and mispronounce them atrociously) whilst I read.  There were a couple of things that I did feel passed me by, especially about the political conditions in Norway, perhaps they read better in the original Norwegian and something was lost in translation?

Characterisation was very good, Stribolt is a character that I think some readers will relate to, especially the unsent resignation letters.  However, I felt that I didn’t get much of an understanding or connection to Vaarge.  

Overall an interesting plot, well written and keeps the reader guessing with twists and turns cleverly scattered throughout.

 

You can buy a copy of The Frozen Woman via:

No Exit Press (publisher)
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

** My thanks to Katherine Sunderland at No Exit Press for my copy of this book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

 

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Hello and welcome along to another post to Celebrate Indie Publishing, today I am delighted to share a book from the wonderful Orenda Books, today’s fantastic book featured is “Faithless” by Kjell Ola Dahl and I’m delighted to say that this post is also part of the blog tour for the book.


Book Feature:

Published: 15 April 2017

Description:

Faithless cover(1)

When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her—and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers—and the killer—before he strikes again. Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, atmospheric page-turner marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Kjell Ola Dahl was not a name that I was familiar with before I heard about this book, and for those out there that are shaking their heads in shock, horror or disbelief, please accept my apologies.  Kjell Ola is lovingly described as the “one of the fathers of Nordic Noir” by  his publisher Orenda Books, and after devouring this book I can see why.

“Faithless” is actually the seventh book in the series following the Oslo detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda, but happily this book can be read as a stand alone.  I did initially worry that I might struggle to connect with the characters because I came to the series so late but they are written so well that you don’t feel that you’ve missed anything.  The shared history and friendship of the detectives runs in tandem with the main thread of the plot and does not detract from the case at hand, the focus is on the crime and investigation. 

There is something special about Nordic Noir, there’s a realistic simplicity to it, the precise nature of which makes it a joy to read.  This realism shows through in the characterisation, Frølich and Gunnarstranda are time served detectives, they rely on gut instinct and experience rather than modern technology.  The simplicity of doing things the “old fashioned” way gives them an authenticity and fits in so well with the creations I conjured in my head whilst reading.
In keeping with the hallmarks of the genre, there is an unfathomable darkness looming on the horizon.  The tension slowly mounts whilst Dahl masterfully leads his readers on a journey of misdirection and plays with their minds, but all the while the darkness swells until Dahl cunningly stuns his audience and leaves them dumbfounded.  

The plot is clever and the numerous strands of the plot weave so eloquently together to form a conclusion that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

As with any translated book from this publisher, the translation work is superb.  Don Bartlett deserves a huge thank you for taking this wonderful novel and making it read naturally in English.  I will admit that I am somewhat hesitant with some translated books, there is always a worry that subtleties will be lost in conversion into another language, that social or cultural aspects may not comfortably translate but here this is not the case, and I would like to offer my thanks to Don Bartlett for his time and hard work in ensuring that his work is to the highest standard.

You can buy a copy of “Faithless” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery
Orenda Books eBookstore


 

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more reviews, guest posts etc.

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