The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson , Andreas Jäger (Translator), Victoria Cribb (Translator) #IcelandicNoir #crime #trilogy #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson. This is the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy and I am absolutely gutted to have come to the end of it. This has been such a brilliant literary journey.

Here is more about the final instalment…

1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever. 

My Review…

This is sadly the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy. This has been an absolute corker of a series and it has been set out very differently. The series runs back in time, so the first book is set in the present, and the final book set back in time. Running the series this way gives the reader a chance to experience a character from a slightly different perspective. I would advise reading them in the order they are meant to be and the way they have been published.

The main character is Hulda Hermannsdottir, a Detective. Her husband is Jon and they have a daughter Dimma. Family life is strained especially in the run up to Christmas. Hulda is called to a crime scene and then the story goes back in time to just before the events.

I really like the way the author has laid this series and especially this story out. If you are after blood and guts then you are not going to get it. This is a wonderful example of Icelandic noir, its atmospheric, has flawed characters and has a bleakness to it that adds to the overall subtle sense of suspense.

It is in a small part a police procedural, but this is not the main concept of the story. The author gradually builds up a scene, adds characters, develops them, adds a little tweak to them and then develops and adds more as the story progresses. I really enjoy this style and I have to say this author does this so well. The story is more about the interaction of the characters, there are not many but the author uses them so well. He drops links that I didn’t expect and it all works so very well.

The flow is quiet, patient and yet totally gripping from the first few pages. The series has been a wonderful journey and I have absolutely l loved each one. They do have an emotional side to them, not the gushy sort but a more heartbreaking sort, although the first book did have me blubbering.

This is a trilogy that fans of noir, crime, mystery and human relationships and interaction would love. I thought all three books were excellent and I would definitely recommend them all.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Nesting by C.J. Cooke @CJessCooke @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours @fictionpubteam #mystery #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Nesting by C.J. Cooke. This book has a gorgeous cover and the story inside is just brilliant. Huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my copy of the book and also for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Synopsis…

It was like something out of a fairytale…

The grieving widower.

The motherless daughters.

A beautiful house in the woods.

Deep in a remote Norwegian forest, Lexi has found a new home with architect Tom and his two young daughters. With snow underfoot and the sound of the nearby fjord in her ears, it’s as if Lexi has stepped into a fairy tale

But this family has a history – and this place has a past. Something was destroyed to build their beautiful new house. And those ancient, whispering woods have a long memory.

Lexi begins to hear things, see things that don’t make sense. She used to think this place heavenly, but in the dark, dark woods, a menacing presence lurks.

With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.

But protect them from what?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

I am going to start with the cover for this book and say that I absolutely adore it. The relevance of the cover image is something that is gradually revealed as the mysterious and atmospheric story unfolds.

The story is about Lexi taking someone’s identity and finding herself in Norway in a remote woodland being a Nanny to Gaia and Coco, Lexi is known as Sophie. The house she stays in is creepy, full of weird noises and there is a certain creepiness to it. Why the need for a Nanny, when Aurelia died Tom needed help to look after his daughters while he was finishing the building the eco-friendly house.

Ecology plays a part in this story as does a folk-lore of the land looking after itself. The author has used her own Scandinavian feeling fairy tales to add a folklore vibe to this story. It gives it a wonderful sense of the old world or ancient woodland that fits in so well with this mystery. The atmospheric air is suspense-filled but not over the top spooky. There is the ever-present presence of something lurking in the background and it does give a certain eerie chill.

The story itself is one that had a lot more than I first expected, as much as it is a story of discovering the mystery it is also about one of the characters discovering herself. In fact, the characters all have something that they hold back, giving tension to the book.

I really liked this book and once I started it I found it difficult to put down. It has the feel of a Scandi-Noir and it does have folklore, gothic feel as well as being a mystery and to a certain extent a mystery thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is one that I would definitely recommend.

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One Fatal Night by Helene Fermont @HeleneFermont #OneFatalNight @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for One Fatal Night by Helene Fremont on the final day of the Blog Tour My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book/ Let me show you what it’s all about…

Synopsis…

One woman’s quest for revenge unearths a fatal secret from her past.

Astrid Jensen holds one man responsible for her mother’s suicide, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get close to Daniel Holst and destroy his life – even if it means sleeping with him to gain his trust. Astrid knows he’s not who he pretends to be. But before she can reveal his dark secret, people from her mother’s past start turning up dead, and it looks like she and Daniel are next. In order to survive, she might have to put her trust in the man she has hated for so long.

Daniel Holst has worked hard to climb into Norway’s most elite and glamorous circles, and he’s not about to let any woman bring him down. But when a psychopathic killer starts murdering people from his shadowy past, he discovers that the only person who might be able to save him is the woman who wants to destroy him.

As Astrid digs deeper into her past, she uncovers secrets long buried and realizes everything she once believed is based on lies. What began as a quest to avenge her mother’s death becomes a desperate struggle for survival and leads to the truth about what happened one fatal night ten years ago—and the surprising mastermind behind the most recent murders.

If you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Debbie Howells, you’ll love this character driven thriller with a noir edge.

Purchase from…

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2F4wV4Y

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2GEkAVN

NOOK: https://bit.ly/2ZdQajz

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2F9kNzR

My Review…

This book has quite a curious start. Astrid is flirting with her boss Daniel and as it goes further the author brings a sense of revulsion into play from Astrid’s perspective. Astrid has ulterior motives for getting close to this man. Daniel’s second in command as such is Joel, he is head of security and also the two have been best mates for years.

The story of the past is gradually revealed in this fast-paced mystery thriller. I was soon quickly turning the pages as I greedily wanted to know more about why and how the characters in this story are connected.

Now, I did mention it was fast-paced, at times I felt it was a little too fast, not a criticism as such but I would have liked a little more. I found the jumps between the links came a little too thick and fast and this gave the impression of it being too coincidental. Putting that aside though it was very addictive reading and I did think the story was well presented.

The author does touch on some hard subjects, and I am glad that not too many details were described, enough to give a basic idea of awful acts being committed. The author instead focused more on how these acts gave certain characters a reason for why they behave as they do now.

This is quite a gritty mystery thriller read, it is a shortish story, more a novella that I read over the course of an afternoon. A fast, suspense-filled, mysterious story set in Norway that I think readers will enjoy and I would happily recommend.

About the Author…

Hélene is an Anglo-Swedish fiction author currently residing in her home town of Malmo, Sweden, after relocating back from London after 20 years.

Her thrilling character-driven psychological fiction novels are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

Hélene is the proud author of four novels – One Fatal Night, Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/helenefermont

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helenefermontauthor/

Website: https://www.helenefermont.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helenefermont/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15484308.Helene_Fermont

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Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @annecater #Bookreview

I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Blog Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also to Orenda Books for my e-copy of this book

Cage is the third and final book in this trilogy, and you know what is coming… yes you really should read these books in order.

A masterful conclusion to the award-winning, critically
acclaimed Reykjavík Noir trilogy, as drug-smuggling,
financial crime, political intrigue, love, murder and
betrayal come together.


The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence
for financial misconduct ends, but her lover Sonja is not
there to meet her.


As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into
an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the
world, Agla and her former nemesis María find the stakes
being raised at a terrifying speed. Ruthless entrepreneur
Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he
has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own
home. And at the same time, a deadly threat to Sonja and
her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where
she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if
she wants to stay alive…


The lives of these characters are about to collide in a
shocking crescendo, until the winner takes it all…

Things have finally come to an end in Cage. This book brings everything from Snare and Trap together.

Once again Agla is in the midst of drug smuggling, corruption and is against those who thirst for even more power. This story focuses more on Agla and her decision to look into a different tale of corruption. She is delving into the truth behind the mixed metal and aluminium business.

If you have not read Snare or Trap then you really should. Many of the characters have been previously introduced in those books. Reading the previous books gives a better understanding to their individual characters and what makes them tick, and I think more importantly it gives you an idea of their own inner strengths and weaknesses.

Agla teams up with a journalist, Maria, it is a tentative working relationship as they both discover just how far the corruption in the metal trade actually goes. Along with this story there is also another, that is the new friendship that Agla has and also the story of a young man who thinks he is doing the right thing.

While I admit this is not my favourite of the three books, it is still a cracking read. The author brings together the previous books to quite a shocking finale. She took me down a route I didn’t expect. This story moves away from Sonja but she still has a role to play in this book and I think this is what threw me when I read this book. But it was good to see more of Agla.

The story is told from different perspectives and this helps to weave a sense of mistrust and intrigue throughout the story. It did take me a while to get myself up to speed with the various characters as it had been a while since I had read the previous book. But gradually the characters and their own stories started to come back to me.

This is a reasonably fast paced read as the author yet again weaves a complex and intense story. She pulls the threads together to create a wonderful finale. The author has a wonderful atmosphere as she creates yet another Icelandic read. Agla is in prison and the author shares how the financiers and bankers who were part of Icelands financial crash were treated.

The titles for each of the books are snappy and each are relevant to the story within, Cage is no different and it was as I read the book the significance of it makes itself known.

Once again a fabulous job was done of the translation, without translators I would not have access to read this fabulous trilogy.

This is a book, in fact a trilogy that delves into the world of drugs, control, corruption, power and manipulation. Ideal for readers who love a good crime thriller read.

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, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

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Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson. This is the 2nd in the Dark Iceland series and it has been around 18 months since I read the first book Snowblind!

Let me show you what Nightblind is all about…

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.

Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.

This is set in Siglufjörður, Iceland (I still have trouble pronouncing this one!) and a killer is on the loose, the victim is a local police officer. Ari Thor is called off sick leave to investigate. He doesn’t know much about his dead colleague so Ari Thor has some catching up to do given the length of time he has been off.

this is listed as #2 in the series but, it is set 5 years after Snowblind. There is a sense of things that have happened in those 5 years. On further investigation I have discovered that the series has been published in this order, but it doesn’t follow the chronological order… does that make sense… I do hope so! Given this, I was still able to follow and in fact has left me twitching to read the next book in the series to fill in the intriguing gaps!

The story is faster paced than the first one and at just over 200 pages it is a quick read. this author really does excel at creating a brooding atmosphere. There is the feeling that people are holding things back or are working to their own agenda. The small community seems to know a lot but divulge very little. It adds an extra level of tense suspicion to the story.

There are several things that Ari Thor has to deal with. He needs the help of his old friend and boss, Tomas. While Ari Thor is a more cautious man, Tomas is not, he is blunt and to the point with his questioning and really doesn’t mind ruffling the odd feather or four.

The story has two different styles, there is the main story, then there are pages written in italics. The italic pages are from an anonymous person. I liked this switch between the two styles, it gets the old brain cells clicking and whirring trying to workout the connection between the two. I love that “realisation moment” when things suddenly become clear.

This is another fantastic read and if you are a fan of crime, mystery and noir then this is definitely one that should be on your list.

Nightblind gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!


Many thanks for reading my post, likes and shares are always appreciated 🙂 xx

Book 15 of 20

The Island by Ragnar Jonasson #HiddenIceland @MichaelJBooks #review

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

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson #HiddenIceland #TheDarkness #review

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 🙂

Purchase link – Amazon UK

Image taken from Goodreads

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.

Visit Ragnar on – Twitter Website

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂

Dark Pines by Will Dean #MeAndMyBooks #bookreview

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.

Visit Will on Twitter

The books in The Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be wonderful 🙂 xx

Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven @ @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int’lly) #review

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.

Synopsis:

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.

Purchase Links

Amazon.comAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon FrAmazon Es

My Thoughts:

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 “mystery/suspense”.

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.

Social Media Links –

Book Trailer on YouTube

Author social media links: Facebook Twitter Pintrest

Author websites

Website (NL/FR/EN)

Russian website for Месть Бодлера, the Russian edition of Baudelaire’s Revenge

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#Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir @lilja1972 trs Quentin Bates #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @OrendaBook #BookReview

TRAP AW.indd

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.

Buying link for SNARE – AMAZON UK and TRAP at AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

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:

Lilja author photo.jpg

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.

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Trap First BT Poster

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