After She’s Gone by Camilla Grebe @ReadersFirst1 #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for After She’s Gone by Camilla Grebe. I was fortunate to be chosen as a winner by Readers First to receive a hardback copy of this book. Published by Zaffre on 21/03/19

So why don’t you have a look and see what it’s all about…

For psychological profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön, life is good. She and her partner, investigator Peter Lindgren, have just returned from a dream holiday in Greenland and the symptoms of her early onset dementia seem to be under control.

Then they are asked to go to the small, sleepy industrial town of Ormberg to investigate a cold case: ten years earlier a five-year-old girl’s remains were found in a cairn near the town.

With her dementia creeping back again, Hanne starts to keep a diary noting down everything she is likely to forget. She will go to any lengths to keep up appearances so she doesn’t lose her job, or worse: Peter.

Then Hanne is found wandering around the outskirts of Ormberg lost, hurt and confused – and Peter is missing. When the body of a woman is found at the cairn and one of Hanne’s shoes is found nearby covered in the victim’s blood, can Hanne’s diary hold the key to what happened? How does this new murder connect to their old one – and where is Peter?

SHE HOLDS THE KEY TO A MURDER – SHE JUST DOESN’T REMEMBER . . . Following on from the success if The Ice Beneath Her, Camilla Grebe’s latest thriller is perfect for fans of Camillla Lackberg and Will Dean’s Dark Pines.

This story is set in a fictional town in an out of the way area of Sweden. An old case is reopened and two specialist investigators are brought in to help… they go missing…

This is a slower paced Scandi Noir that took me a few chapters to get into, and if I am being honest, this is something that I kind of expect to a certain extent with noirish reads.

It is told in quickish chapters that alternate between three main characters, Malin, Hanne and Jake. Each is very different and bring a unique story of their own with them.

Once I got a feel for the writing and also the story I started to enjoy it more than when I started, The author builds up a good sense of mistrust in the isolated community and neighbouring refugees.

The story has a certain bleakness to it, a struggling community living on the edge after the main employer has closed down leaving people out of work. There are hostilities towards the refugees who have moved into the area and are seen as being special treatment as they are given housing and support. It is a scene that has been dealt with in a way as to express the feelings of those who are struggling to exist without work against people who have just survived to escape their own countries. This is set against a harsh and unforgiving setting that I felt sort of mirrored the people.

The story had a good amount of setting up, getting to know the characters, the basics of the plot and building up the scenery as well as the scene. I think this added to the initial slower pace, though it did increase as things started to fall into place.

This is a book that I think is more suited to readers of Noir Fiction or those who prefer a slower paced crime and suspense story. There are human interest aspects that are revealed as the story progresses and heads towards its conclusion. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

It is one I would recommend.

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Image and Bio taken from Readers First Website.

Camilla Grebe was born near Stockholm. She has written four celebrated crime novels with her sister, Åsa Träff, about psychologist Siri Bergman, the first two of which were nominated for Swedish Crime Novel of the Year. Camilla has also written the popular Moscow Noir trilogy with Paul Leander-Engström. The Ice Beneath Her is Camilla’s debut novel as a solo author and announces hers as a fresh new voice in suspense writing.

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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.

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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

GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY:

Giveaway 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.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER – GOOD LUCK XX

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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.

Follow Lilja on Twitter or her Website

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You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks #BookReview #NetGalley

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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.

Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

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).

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#BookReview : Headland by Ged Gillmore @gedgillmore : deGrevilo Publishing @OliSands

Today I have my thoughts on  “Headland” by Ged Gilmore. This came to me via Oliver at deGrevilo Publishing a small Indie Publisher in Sydney Australia. My thanks to Oliver for my eBook and also for introducing me to another author. My thoughts are my own and unbiased. You can get a copy either in paperback or eBook format at Amazon UK or Amazon Au.

Synopsis:

Murdoch’s doing just fine, thanks for not asking. He’s dealing drugs for a professional crime syndicate in Sydney and saving for a house by the sea. But what does he think life is, a fairy tale?

As the syndicate puts pressure on him to fill the shoes of his murdered boss, Murdoch is cornered by an equally formidable foe: the Australian Tax Office demanding an explanation for his sizeable cash income.

Murdoch spins a beautiful lie, telling tax inspector, Hannah Simms, he’s a private detective. When Simms asks him to investigate the mystery of her niece’s disappearance, Murdoch grabs what he thinks is a golden opportunity to outrun the syndicate. But his arrival in the missing girl’s small coastal home town causes an unexpected stir and the reluctant PI soon realises his troubles are only just beginning.

HEADLAND is noir crime at its best, a thriller to keep you guessing until the very end. 

** THIS IS NOT THE AUSTRALIA YOU’VE SEEN ADVERTISED ** 

HEADLAND is the first book in the Bill Murdoch Mystery series. It is perfect for fans of Peter TempleJane HarperGarry Disher, and Alan Furst

Bad-boy-turned-local-hero, Bill Murdoch, returns for more noir mysteries in the sequels CLASS ACT, and BASE NATURE. (Both coming early 2018) 

My Thoughts:

Bill Murdoch is a drug dealer who is trying to evade his boss as well as the Australian Tax Office. All he wants to do is live a quiet life with his own house and car by the sea. After a lie to the tax office he finds himself looking into  a cold case of a missing girl in a small coastal town.

This is a definite off the beaten track of the stereotypical that I have of the Australian lifestyle. The reader is taken into the other side of life, into the more off the beaten track and into a community setting. The first section of the book deals with Bill in Sydney and is good but then the author takes us to a wonderfully descriptive setting with the next section as he Bill deals with the missing person. This I really loved, a definite feeling of noir as the atmospheric and descriptive passages give some really good and vivid imagery.

This is a slow burner and as the story unfolds it slowly took a grip on me, intriguing to start and then curiosity taking over to see where it was going and then to be totally addicted to discover the outcome. The characters didn’t take long to get used to and soon became familiar. I really liked the dynamics between Bill and his “sidekick” as their relationship changed over the course of the book, or actually as Bill’s attitude changed. He is not your usual lead in a story, he is a rude, wiry, closed off and almost cocky character who I didn’t immediately take a liking to, but found myself warming to as the story went on.

I found myself quite surprised by the different routes that the author took, in a good way I might add, and how the author drew me into the story. A story that deals with a community and the way it works, there are no secrets and everybody knows your business.

This is a book that would appeal to readers who like a slower paced crime, mystery and thriller style read. An Australian Noir that I would definitely recommend and a series that I will be reading more of.

About the Author:

61ZJpYz8ktL._UX250_ Ged Gillmore completed degrees in languages and literature at the University of London, but fancying a change to sunnier climes, made the leap to Sydney in early 2004. When he’s not falling off his surfboard at Bondi or dabbling with a day job which pays the bills he sits at his laptop and bashes out fiction. Headland, Class Act, and Base Nature are the first three books in Ged’s ‘Bill Murdoch Mystery’ series, set in Sydney and the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Follow or visit Ged at ~ Amazon Author Page ~ WebsiteTwitter

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#BlogTour : The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl : #TheIceSwimmer #NordicNoir @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours @annecater #BookReview

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for “The Ice Swimmer” by Kjell Ola Dahl. This book is available in various formats and published by Orenda Books.  My thanks to Orenda, Kjell and also Anne Cater for my copy of the book and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir… Introducing Detective Lena Stigersand Award-winning, critically acclaimed and international bestselling author

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.

My Thoughts:

Lena Stigersand is called to attend the scene of a drowned man in the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour.  Her colleague Gunnerstranda is working on another case of suicide.  Amongst these cases a letter threatening a Member of Parliament arrives.

This book is broken down into chapters that then have several sub chapters, I found this really helpful as it meant I could get used to the names of the various characters and familiarise myself with their names. As the investigations proceed the presence of the other characters make themselves known and not always in the best of ways. I soon found myself getting used to their names, and some I am sure I have not  pronounced  correctly.

There are several plots that run together and the author has done a wonderful job of not blurring or mixing them up, this is where I think the sub-chapters really help.  I found myself taken around the streets of Oslo as well as the back alleys and also underground into tunnels. As well as this I discovered a variety of food that certainly whet my appetite and also a few Christmas traditions. By adding these little steps away from the hustle and bustle of the investigations it gave me a chance to almost catch my breath for a moment before being taken off again into the story.

Obviously murder and crime feature in this book, but the author focuses also on finding the who’s and the why’s of the case.  But also there is a good amount about Lena, the main protagonist in her personal life and newly diagnosis condition. She comes across as a mix of a logical thinking but also one that rushes headlong into trouble sort of person as well as being a guarded character regarding her personal life.

So this is a book I would highly recommend to readers of Nordic Noir, Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres.  It is a brilliantly twisted in a complex and well laid out story, with various investigations unfolding and all being brought to a satisfying conclusion. My first time reading a book by this author and it will not be my last.

About the Author:

Dahl-Kjell-Ola_Foto-Rolf-M-Aagaard.jpgOne of the godfathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries and sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.

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#BookReview Three Days a Life by Pierre Lemaitre (author) Frank Wynne (translator) @maclehosepress @QuercusBooks

“Three Days a Life” by Pierre Lemaitre is available in various formats, though release dates for these are different.  Published by  Maclehose Press and Quercus Books

Synopsis:

In 1999, in the small provincial town of Beauval, France, twelve-year-old Antoine Courtin accidentally kills a young neighbor boy in the woods near his home. Panicked, he conceals the body and to his relief–and ongoing shame–he is never suspected of any connection to the child’s disappearance.
But the boy’s death continues to haunt him, shaping his life in unseen ways. More than a decade later, Antoine is living in Paris, now a young doctor with a fiancée and a promising future. On a rare trip home to the town he hates and fears, Antoine thoughtlessly sleeps with a beautiful young woman from his past. She shows up pregnant at his doorstep in Paris a few months later, insisting that they marry, but Antoine refuses.

Meanwhile, the newly discovered body of Antoine’s childhood victim means that the case has been reopened, and all of his old fears rush back. Then the young woman’s father threatens Antoine with a paternity test–which would almost certainly match the DNA found on the dead child’s body. Will Antoine finally be forced to confront his crime? And what is he prepared to do to keep his secrets buried in the past?

My Thoughts:

When I normally write-up a review, I like to start with my version of a synopsis, but only for the beginning of the story.  But after reading this book and then re-reading the summery prior to writing the review, I realised how much detail it already included, but it doesn’t take away from the story.  It is a story about the mental journey from 1999 to 2015.

This book is a noir fiction. it focuses on Antoine Coutin from the small French town of Beauval, and the way he deals with the accidental killing of a younger boy.  It is a very well laid out story from the outset.  The reader is introduced to the setting and the characters.  It discusses their relationships and dynamics within their various groups.  The first half of the book deals with 1999, the lead up to the death, the death itself and the thoughts of Antoine as he deals with what he has done.  His state of mind, what his first responses are, the way he thinks through the consequences and how thinks people look at him now. From then a leap forward to the year 2011, now older, Antoine’s state of mind as he has moved on, but how he still deals with occasional troubled thoughts and dreams.  Then another jump to 2015 to tell of where Antoine is and how he is still dealing with the event.  The setting has been very well described, the author has managed to build a very convincing visual image of the town, it’s surroundings and also the time of year. As each of these time jumps occur, the author has included a brief explanation of events as the story then continues.

I found this very different to a previous book by Lemaitre and was very surprised by the contrast in styles.  This is well laid out as it explains the way the main protagonist thinks.  It comes across as quite a subtle story, it is one that just gradually consumed me, the way that Lemaitre has very cleverly explored the way a 12-year-old may see the world, his thoughts, actions and consequences was very addictive reading.  I read this in one sitting, almost a novella sized book.  The story leads the reader and by the end was absorbed, but when the end arrives there is a sudden twist, that completely blindsided me.  Finishing this on a high.

I would recommend this to readers of noir fiction, of psychological fiction, as well as readers of general fiction, murder and mystery genres.

About the Author:

Pierre Lemaitre Pierre Lemaitre was born in Paris in 1951. He worked for many years as a teacher of literature before becoming a novelist.

He has won the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger three times, once alongside Fred Vargas, for “Alex”, and twice as sole winner for “Camille” and “The Great Swindle”. In 2013 “The Great Swindle” (published in French as “Au revoir là-haut”) won the Prix Goncourt, France’s leading literary award, and it will be released as a film in 2017.

In addition to his “Brigade Criminelle” novels starring Commandant Camille Verhoeven, Lemaitre writes standalone thrillers including “Blood Wedding” and the forthcoming “Three Days in a Life” and “Inhuman Resources”. “The Great Swindle” will be developed into a trilogy in the coming years.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (13 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085705662X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857056627
  • Amazon UK     Amazon US

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Better still go and buy the book.