I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Island by Ragnar Jonasson. This is book #2 in The Hidden Iceland series. This is available from April 4th.
Autumn of 1987 takes a young couple on a romantic trip in the Westfjords holiday – a trip that gets an unexpected ending and has catastrophic consequences.
Ten years later a small group of friends go for a weekend in an old hunting lodge in Elliðaey. A place completely cut off from the outside world, to reconnect. But one of them isn’t going to make it make alive. And Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is determined to find the truth in the darkness.
I read The Darkness and absolutely loved it, I adored it’s main character, Hulda Hermannsdóttir and as soon as I had finished it I immediately picked up this book. Read this series in order to benefit from the chance to get to know a great female lead character and also for the unusual timeline.
Hulda is called into assist and investigate a death , she draws on her experience and uses her instincts to realise that something is not right.
I will say right from the off that this book didn’t grab me in the same way the first one did, instead this book gradually drew me in. This author excels at atmospheric, eerie landscapes that provides a cold and stark backdrop to a plot that intrigues. The investigation is twisted and led me to think it could be anyone of the other characters that were guilty.
So from a slower start, this book also had a different feel that I can’t really put my finger on. It was one that gradually drew me into the plot, I learnt more about Hulda and got a little more insight into her character. I really enjoy the writing style of this author, he has the ability to create wonderful imagery with his words. The character of Hulda is wonderful in so many ways.
This is a series I would recommend reading in order, but I think it would work well as a stand alone. This is a book that readers of Noir Fiction, Crime, Mystery and Suspense novels would really enjoy. It gets a definitely recommended from me.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amaxing 🙂 xx
Today I m delighted to be sharing my review for The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson. This is a book from my own TBR and it is the first in the Hidden Iceland trilogy. Keep an eye out as I have also read the 2nd book, The Island and my review for that will be ready soon.
Anyway, how about we have a look at this very unusual set out trilogy, starting with The Darkness…
At sixty-four, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is about to take on her last case before she retires: A young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, found murdered on the seaweed covered rocks of the Vatnsleysuströnd in Iceland.
When Hulda starts to ask questions it isn’t long before she realizes that no one can be trusted, and that no one is telling the whole truth. Spanning Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands and the cold, isolated fjords, The Darkness is a thrilling new crime thriller from one of the biggest new names in Scandi noir.
This was such a great book and I was easily drawn into it. The story revolves around Hulda Hermannsdottir, she has a year to go before she retires from her job as a Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik Police.
Oh my god… what a slap in the face for Hulda, the treatment she received was so unfair and unjust and even now it makes my blood boil. Her decision to take on a cold case gave her so much more than she bargained for. I think I should explain this is going to be a bit of a random and vague-ish review beacause I don’t want to give anything away and spoil it for other readers…
This was such a fabulous read and one that appealed to me so much as I got to know Hulda. She is a bit of a loner, workaholic and I really warmed to her character. Her treatment by the police department is one of those that play on the “boys clique” within the workplace. Even though it made me angry it also worked to Hulda’s advantage… to a point… as it gave her a great case to look into. It is not however straight forward and she makes several waves.
During her investigations I got to learn about Hulda, her life, her family and what made her who she is. I got to know her story and discovered a lot more than meets the eye. She is tenacious and doesn’t like to leave loose ends.
The plot and the story for this book is absolutely brilliant. Told over three days and therefore in three sections, with quick and snappy sub chapters that keep the story moving along at a wonderful pace. The descriptions are atmospheric and add an eerie presence to the stark landscape. It has in someways a resemblance to Hulda’s character, cold, lonely and unforgiving. By the time I got to the end of the story I was stunned… well… wow…never saw that one…OMFG…
This is a brilliant book that I just absolutely adored. Atmospheric, chilling, tense and very addictive reading and a must for those who love Icelandic Noir, murder, mystery, crime, suspense… yeah just buy the book, the 2nd book, ‘The Island’ is just as awesome. As for the 3rd one ‘The Mist’ gotto wait until March 2020… I already have that on pre-order 🙂
And just in case you wanted to know if I would recommend it…. I Abos-flamin-lute-ly and most definitely would I recommend this book 🙂
Ragnar Jonasson is author of the award winning and international bestselling Dark Iceland series.
His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Snowblind has been a paperback bestseller in France.
Nightblind won the Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Most Captivating Crime in Translation.
Snowblind was called a “classically crafted whodunit” by THE NEW YORK TIMES, and it was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015 in the UK.
Rights to the Dark Iceland series have been sold to UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Poland, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Portugal, Croatia, Armenia and Iceland.
Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.
From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.
Ragnar has also had short stories published internationally, including in the distinguished Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in the US, the first stories by an Icelandic author in that magazine.
He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik.
Today I have my review for Dark Pines by Will Dean. I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now and with the release of Red Snow, that I also have on my TBR I thought it was about time I delved into the Swedish Forests with Tuva Moodyson.
Let’s see what the book is all about…
An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.
It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.
This is the first in the Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series and it was a chance to meet Tuva. She has moved back to Sweden to be closer to her mother. Gavrik is a forest village in the isolated Swedish forest filled with bugs, bogs and lots of pine trees, Oh and a 20-year-old unsolved murder. Tuva works on the local paper and so her interest in not only the old murders but the new one gives her a chance to meet up with residents.
Doesn’t it sound like a fabulous place to live…lol
I can see why this book has favourable reviews and now I have read it I am eager to get into the new one. Tuva is a fabulous character and I loved that she is a little unexpected. She has the dogged determination that I kind of expect in a reporter, but she is also wary and comes across in a nervy way. By the end of the book, I did realise that she is quite determined and tenacious as she uncovers the truth.
The truth and the discovering the suspect is one of the main focuses of the story. Tuva gets to meets some…let’s call them “interesting” characters. A line from the book that summed up, some, of the personalities was said by one of Tuva’s friends as she described the residents of the remote village as being “the creme da la fucking creme of Gavrik’s rednecks and perverts” I have to say I did nod in agreement with this line.
As for discovering the truth, well I had no idea and I was glad that Tuva did all the legwork. There were so many possibilities as to who could have done it and why. The author did a fabulous job of throwing red herrings right left and center, but this was done in such a subtle way, he sowed seeds of doubt into the characters so, in the end, I had no idea who to trust.
Trying to discover the perpetrator of the crime takes Tuva into some very creepy and lonesome areas. The possible suspects are not the sort of people I would want to visit, this builds up the tension and suspense as she follows her trail of clues.
While Tuva is investigating she is also trying to visit her mother. Mentions of both Tuva’s mother and father give a bit of an insight into Tuva herself. The importance of truth and writing the truth is something that is in the core of who she is. The truth is something that Tuva has to tread very carefully with as she risks alienating the local community if she gets it wrong.
There is another thing that stood out for me in this book, apart from the plot and cast, and that was the wonderful descriptions. This author has a real way with the words for sights, sounds, and smells, they are definitely atmospheric and at times appear to have a sense foreboding to them. The vivid imagery that this brought to the story was this readers dream. Admittedly some of them left me screwing my face up and feeling yuck.
Tuva is a character I really liked and I am really looking forward to getting to know her a little better and meeting her again in Red Snow.
If you like atmospheric mystery reads with a female lead then have a read of Dark Pines. It is a crime, mystery and thriller read that I would recommend.
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the center of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.
Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and to Bob for my e-copy of his book.
1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….
Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.
I think the cover for this book is quite grim and sinister looking. The story inside is as equally as grim and definitely more sinister than I was expecting and also very intense. It did require a lot of concentration on my part for the beginning 25%. Characters were quickly introduced in rapidly alternating chapters. At times it was a struggle to keep up with who was who and what role they were going to play. Then suddenly I started to get a feel for them, starting to recognise them easier and started to be able to pay more attention to the story instead and then I really was able to enjoy it at a whole other level.
The story is one of a dark and drug-fuelled nature with corruption and the search for power and dominance. There was a heavy feel of Japanese culture and society throughout and the expectations of the different generations. Expectations of themselves as well as others. I found the concept of anyone not being 100% Japanese and therefore seen to be an outcast, a hard one to read about, though I do understand it as part of the culture of the time.
Society clashes between the older generation and their demand of respect and obedience against the new younger culture seeking their own lives and enjoyments to be very interesting. It was a good blend and balance of the old and the new. There is some hard reading when dealing with the camps and research centres during WWII. Some horrific experiments and treatments tried and given to prisoners was appalling, but I understood its place in the story. This period in history, that includes the Atomic Bomb, is a hard part of human history.
This is definitely a book that you can say has a plot that is definitely multi-l;ayered. As I have mentioned the prison camps and atomic bomb have a part in this story, as well as the 1995 Sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Te author has mixed and intertwined fact with dark and disturbing fiction to create a intricate, mysterious and intense reading journey.
The characters are as intense as the plot itself. A Yakuza boss who believes he is a Japanese demon, a Police Officer who is of mixed race, A German Photographer, a Belgian diplomats son are just the tip of the iceberg. It seemed that each character had a secret or something to hide and I wondered who I could trust and if any of them were actually telling the truth. Even now I am not completely sure who was truthful or in fact were they believing their own idea of their own version of the truth.
There is no mistake this is a dark noir read, the descriptions and vivid imagery are amazing and do at times make for uncomfortable reading. This is not a book I would recommend to readers who are after a quick read. If however you are after a book that requires patience and concentration, especially at the beginning, then this is the one for you. I found myself taking regular breaks as I read to be able to absorb the details.
This is a book I would recommend to readers who like crime, thriller, and mystery that is dark and definitely on the noirish side. I did check to see if “noirish” was actually a word and checked out the Collins Dictionary and this is what they had as the definition for
Noirish “2…a genre of crime literature in which the characters are tough or cynical and the settings are bleak…” and that definitely applies to this book.
About the Author:
A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35
books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French,
English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best
Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and
“Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s
Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category
His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published
by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best
short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The
collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese,
Spanish, and Swedish. “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of
“Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary
Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart
Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion
2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only
non-American finalist of the Awards.
Russian website for Месть Бодлера, the Russian edition of Baudelaire’s Revenge
GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY:
to Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir today as part of the Blog Tour with Orenda Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite and for arranging my e-copy of this book. When I saw the email for this book I jumped at the chance to be part of the tour. I had already bought Snare, the first book in this trilogy and just hadn’t got around to reading it, so the Blog Tour was the perfect chance to make up for that. You can see my review of Snare here.
A breathtakingly original thriller by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series Film rights sold to Palomar Pictures
Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…
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, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Things for Sonia seem to go from bad to worse. When she thinks she has finally managed to escape the clutches of those who control her life, she and her son Tomas are taken back to Iceland. The journey into this trilogy contiues with this fabulous follow up to Snare.
I would like to say straight away that if you haven’t read Snare, then you really should. It lays the blocks for a story that Trap continues. It is a seamless progression through Sonia and other characters journey. I for one am so glad I read in order.
I am still a little shocked that one of my favourite characters in this book is a drug smuggler… But the author has created a character and a scenario that is so believable that I cannot help being invested in the dilemma Sonia finds herself caught up in. It places this character in between “the devil and the deep blue sea”. To maintain contact with her son she must continue to do what is required of her. But now she has the help of customs official Bragi to aid her. His story is one that again I can see the reasons behind.
Each time that it looks like there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for her, life takes a twist that is brutally heartbreaking for her. The reasons for her actions are justifiably believable and totally convincing.
Around Sonia’s story, the author continues the threads of the financial crash in Iceland and also Agla’s role in it. Again this is another character I am rooting for, even though her role in the crash falls into a grey area.
True colours are starting to come to light for other characters with many surprises along the way. I am being my usual vague self with this review as anyone who is reading this but hasn’t read the first book doesn’t get any spoilers from me. If you haven’t read Snare or Trap then you really should buy them.
The author does a brilliant job of showing how the conflict of interests and a mothers love hold no bounds and how this love can shape their decisions. She successfully combines several elements that at first glance made me wonder at their connections to each other but as the stories have unfolded I was completely drawn in, and continue to be drawn in deeper. Once again the translator Quentin Bates shows his skill with an amazingly brilliant and seamless translation.
This is another superb read that readers of Noir will really love. The characters, descriptions, and storylines are brilliantly woven to create an amazing story of manipulation, smuggling, money and at its core, a mothers love for her son. An absolute must read for readers of crime, thriller, mystery, Icelandic Noir. This book gets a massive highly recommended from me and I cannot wait for the next book.
About the Author:
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Today I have a review of Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir. I have had this book on my TBR since 17th December last year… I wanted to start this first book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy as I am taking part in the Blog Tour for Trap tomorrow and really wanted to read in order. I am so glad I did as this is a brilliant book that sets the basic and paves the way for what is to follow.
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.
Sonia is offered help why she is going through a messy divorce and custody battle of her son. A simple errand is all that is required but little did she know that this simple errand would take her into a world of drug trafficking. Once she is in, she is in and she is now finding how difficult it is for her to escape this drug, money, and greed filled world. Sonia is in a relationship with Agla, Agla has her own problems and is under investigation for her role in Iceland’s economic crash.
If I tell you that I spent the afternoon reading this book from start to finish, then it will give you some idea of how addictive it was. There are so many stories that have been brilliantly threaded in and around each other. The cat and mouse game of drug smuggling, an economic crash and ensuing investigation, a broken family, a man looking after his ill wife are just some of the themes.
This author gave me a story that had me rooting for a character that was smuggling drugs!!! This is not something I would do, but the way the author made me believe Sonia’s plight and how I could sympathise with her dilemma show how well the author has written. Another thing about Sonia that goes against the grain for me is her ability to lie. In theory, I should really not like this character at all… but the author has given her a story that has so much to it, that I cannot help rooting for her.
There are various characters in this book and while some have an obvious reason for being there, others seem to have a small part and move on, it is only as I read the second book that their role really comes into play and their motives are being realised. I was never completely sure as to who I could trust, they all have their own motives and what they think is their own priority.
I mentioned cat and mouse earlier, and this is the way Sonia has to use her wits to get through customs while carrying her haul of drugs, the various ways she hides the drugs and also the way she manages to dodge officials was clever. You know what I could go on about this book so much, but I think I would end up giving away spoilers, so I’m leaving it there.
This is a book with a story that is so addictive, believable and really gets under your skin, the descriptions and the slower pace of the book are perfect for this Icelandic noir. At the beginning of the book, there is a very useful guide for the pronunciation of the various names. Yes I did read them and attempt to pronounce them and I think I am still way off saying them right especially Eyjafjallajökull and some others, but a very useful addition all the same. I have to mention Quentin Bates, the translator. He is seamless in his translation and this means I get to read a book that I would never have been able to read.
This is a story that is addictive, the characters are convincing and believable, the writing is wonderful, the translation is brilliant. I loved everything about this book and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. This is a book I highly recommend.
About the Author:
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain, and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Follow Lilja on Twitter and on her Website
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be wonderful 🙂
Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow and see what I think of the second book; Trap xx
I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on After He Died by Michael J Malone as part of the blog tour for Orenda Books. I would like to thank Anne Cater for my invite onto the tour for this fabulous book and also Orenda for my copy. You can get your own copy from AMAZON UK
You need to know who your husband really was…
When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed… When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger. Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…
Paula Gadd lost her son almost seven years ago, her husband has just died. But a stranger asking Paula how well she knew her husband leaves her questioning all she thought she knew.
Straight away I want to mention the cover, how simple, effective and amazing it is. The story itself is far from simple, but it is effective and it really is amazing. I got to meet Paula at the funeral of her husband Tommy, she is still stunned, shocked and in a daze when this random stranger just walks up and asks Paula how well she knew her husband…
By this point I am already hooked, what follows left me on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. Paula is rocked and as she discovers there are things that her husband has done that she had no idea about. I also got to meet some of Tommy’s family and also the stranger and how she fits into the story. Yes this is vague for a reason, no spoilers from me..
This is a book that is fast paced but one where I forced myself to slow my reading of so I didn’t miss any little detail. The author does the most amazing job of building up tension and suspense and at the same time sows so many seeds of doubt along the way. The plot is deliciously deceptive and twisted, but never once did I feel confused, the writing simply flowed as the story was revealed.
The characters in the story are such a random lot, and yes some I did like, those that I couldn’t make my mind up about and some that completely hoodwinked me. I love the concept of how well you know someone and how the author has used that and then completely turned it on it backside to reveal a world of doubt, mistrust, conflict and finding the truth about the person you thought you knew.
This is the first book I have read by this author, I have now bought a myself a couple more as this was so amazing. If you are a fan of crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense with a good helping of domestic noir then you will absolutely want to read this one. An absolutely fantastic read that I would highly recommend.
About the Author:
Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.
See what other Book Blogger think by following the tour
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am sharing my thoughts today on You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks. My thanks to HQ for my e-book I recieved via NetGalley.
‘A chilling, gut-wrenching thriller.’ Helen Fields
A bold, sharp, gripping debut about a couple whose perfect life in the Swedish countryside is not what it seems…
A gripping page-turner for fans of The Couple Next Door, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darker side of marriage, motherhood and friendship.
Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there.
And then Merry’s closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors.
But soon it’s clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.
Husband and Wife, Sam and Merry and their son Connor now live in a remote and idyllic area of Sweden. Merry’s best friend Frank comes to stay, the women have been friends since childhood. All seems good, life appears perfect….but is it really?
This story is told from the perspectives of the three main characters, Merry, Sam and Frank in quick alternating chapters. Merry is looking forward to Frank coming to visit, as Merry is now a stay at home Mum, but she is determined to show Frank that she has a wonderful life, baby and home that everything is perfect. Frank however knows Merry from old, knows how she works, and how she make things out to be rosy, so she is trying to see if things are indeed as rosy as they appear. Sam is trying to get his business up and running so is not home all the time.
The author has taken the concept of marriage, happy families and idyllic home-life and thrown a big old spanner in the works by psychologically manipulating her characters. Friendship is not immune to this spanner either, it doesn’t take long for the pretence of perfect to start showing a few little cracks, as the bonds of marriage and friendship are not as they first appear.
One thing I really loved about this story was the lack of dialogue. Yes you read this right, no dialogue. Instead you are given the perspective from whichever characters head you are in. I got to see and hear the thoughts of past events, conversations and it worked so well for this story. It was easy to follow and it didn’t take long for me to recognise which character was which was which. The voices of the characters came out loud and clear for me. It was a way of seeing behind the mask of the character if you like, hearing their real thoughts rather than saying what they think should be said. It was also a great way to build up the suspense and the tension as the story developed even more, but even though I was in their heads there were still quite a few shocks along the way, and the mistrust built up.
Initially I thought I was warming to the characters, but as things progressed I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about them, I didn’t trust what they thought. I did empathise and feel for them but by the end I was shocked.
This is a clever look at marriage, parenthood and friendship and how each aspect of them fit together, or how they can be forced to fit. A great suspense filled psychological, noir that I would definitely recommend.
About the Author:
Michelle Sacks is the author of the short story collection, Stone Baby (December 2017) and the novel, You Were Made For This (June 2018).
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx
Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Sirens by Joseph Knox. This is the first book in the Aiden Waits series and my first time with this author. You can get a copy of Sirens from all good bookshops and also Amazon UK.
I stopped going to work. I went missing. We still live in a world where you can disappear if you want to. Or even if you don’t.
Detective Aidan Waits is in trouble
After a career-ending mistake, he’s forced into a nightmare undercover operation that his superiors don’t expect him to survive.
Isabelle Rossiter has run away again
When the teenage daughter of a prominent MP joins Zain Carver, the enigmatic criminal who Waits is investigating, everything changes.
A single mother, missing for a decade
Carver is a mesmerising figure who lures young women into his orbit – young women who have a bad habit of disappearing. Soon Waits is cut loose by the police, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.
How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?
The disgraced detective Aiden Waits is the right man for the job of tracking down a missing girl, especially when that girl is the daughter of an MP, and he wants the news of her disappearance kept quiet.
This is a story that I found a little slow to get going but in this slowness the author, managed to convey the scene, the characters and the basics ready for the story to evolve. I got to learn the story behind Waits and the way and why he was offered the job that I think many would have turned down. His record for being a dirty cop allowed him the space to work into the world of drugs, gangs and the whole heap of stuff that you expect to find along with this lifestyle.
I got a good idea of the people and the gangs that operate within the drugs world and also the methods of dealing with trouble or potential trouble makers. I felt that once all the basics were covered, the story then kicked into gear, this actually worked quite for me. There are a couple of characters that I liked, but then I wouldn’t really want to like some of them, due to the nature of their characters, as they are pretty unpleasant. Even though there are quite a few characters and it took me a little while to get used to them, they are memorable.
I did enjoy this book and even though the slower beginning to this story, it gave a good foundation for the story that followed. It gave a lot of detail that I think will stand me in good stead for the next book The Smiling Man, and I am looking forward to reading that as well.
This book is definitely gritty and is detailed in some of its descriptions with a plot that explores things I would associate with a gang/drug theme. It deals with social and law disorder, drug abuse, gangs and crime in an atmospheric and noirish way. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who enjoy Northern Noir, Crime, Thriller with an undercover/ disgraced detective.
About the Author:
Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke-On-Trent and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. He runs, writes and reads compulsively.
Sirens is his debut novel. His second, The Smiling Man, is available now.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx
Today I have my thoughts on Uncommon Cruelty by Liz Mistry. This is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series and is set around Bradford, West Yorkshire. You can buy a copy from Amazon UK and it is available in eBook or paperback formats.
An unmissable new crime thriller from the best-selling DI Gus McGuire series
DI Gus McGuire and his team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy after his parents return from a weekend away, to find their home trashed and their son missing. But that is just the beginning.
As the investigation unfolds, Gus must discover what links a violent bikers’ gang, a Muslim youth group and a fundamentalist American based Christian church.
Alongside this, two cases from the past come back to haunt DI Gus McGuire and his DS, Alice Cooper.
Gus has a lot to juggle, but will he cope?
Uncommon Cruelty is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series set in Bradford, West Yorkshire and is a gritty, Northern Noir read.
I have done my usual trick and not read any other books in the series and this is my first time reading this authors books. This book works well as a stand alone as the author does a very good job giving details on background so I didn’t feel I was missing out too much but, halfway through Uncommon Cruelty I had myself a little shopping trip and bought the other 3 in the series as I was enjoying it so much 🙂
So when parents come home from a trip to find their house trashed, their son missing and two bodies they immediately call the police. So enters Gus Mcguire and DS Alice Cooper to investigate.
I liked the dynamics of Gus and Alice, they are professional but also have a great banter and there is a good rapport with fellow colleagues. This lifted the tone of the story at times and I think it worked well in what would be a stressful situation for those investigating.
There are little indications of past stories that are explained and this added to the intrigue for me. They have been added to give clarification to a reader who hasn’t read the previous books and do complement this story.
The plot covers so many different angles and takes trips down those pesky blind alleys that helped build up the suspense. It was as if I was being teased and being held just at arm’s length from the truth. Not only does the team have a tricky case to deal with but a past keeps poking their nose in.
The author did a fantastic job of leaving tantalising little clues giving an inking as to who it could possibly be and when the end arrives you definitely get to learn about the why of the crime.
This is a brilliant story that intrigued me, with several plot lines that twist and weave until you discover all the facts. A thoroughly enjoyable and addictive read that would be great for fans of gritty Norther Noir, crime, murder and mystery books. One I would highly recommend.
About the Author:
I am a crime writer based in Bradford but originally from West Calder in Scotland. I studied at Stirling University and taught in Bradford inner-city Primary schools for many years. I write gritty crime fiction drawing on the richness of Bradford’s diverse cultures and my writing is heavily influenced by Tartan Noir writers such as, Stuart MacBride, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. I completed an MA in Creative Writing at the brilliant Leeds Trinity University. I currently have three novels published: Unquiet Souls (my debut novel) and Uncoiled Lies and Untainted Blood. I look forward to writing many more featuring my main character DI Gus (Angus) McGuire and his team. I am co-founder and lead blogger with The Crime Warp Blog