Unhinged by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger Translated by Megan Turney @LierHorst @EngerThomas #NordicNoir @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Unhinged by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger Translated by Megan Turney. This is a fabulously tense Nordic Noir, crime thriller and I adored it.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this brilliant book from the publisher Orenda Books.

His colleague is dead. His daughter may be next. It’s time to do things his way…
Two of Nordic Noir’s most accomplished writers return with the explosive, staggeringly complex and
unbearably emotive third instalment in the international bestselling Blix & Ramm series
.

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between
several Oslo cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix,
before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to
return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution-style. And
in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the
killer’s next victim.


Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside
an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix
has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.


As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can
trust, and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

MY REVIEW

I have read a few books by Thomas Enger and I have seen some great reviews about the collaboration between him and Jørn Lier Horst so I was definitely intrigued when I saw this book.

This is the 3rd book in the Blix and Raam series and even though it works perfectly well as a stand-alone but I do wish I had read the two previous books as this 3rd one was so good.

The death of Kovic, an Oslo Investigator sends shock waves through the department. It is also personal for her boss, Blix, as his daughter lives in the same apartment as Kovic. As Blix is involved personally in the case he is not given the job of running the investigation. Good job Blix wants answers and calls in blogger Emma Raam for help. As a journalist, she has access to information and is a real asset to Blix.

This really is a fabulous read and one that I read over one evening. Once started I could not leave it until I discovered the answers. The case is twisted and takes some very bizarre turns leading to such an intriguing read. From hearing a colleague has been killed to ending up being questioned for his role, this is addictive.

There is some interesting information that crops up about Blix, I am not sure if this is something that has been part of previous stories or not, but it gave some valuable insights into Blix. AS it is his daughter that is part of the investigation, it makes sense that he will want to be involved and that he may cut a few corners. It all adds to the excitement of the book.

The working relationship he has with Raam is good, they can bounce ideas off each other. This relationship becomes very strained though. I do like the character of Raam, she is willing to take risks, but is also a little more reserved compared to Blix. I think this is a good balance, it felt as she kept the story grounded.

AS I mentioned earlier, I do wish I had read the previous books, not for previous cases, or details, but because this one was so good.

If you are looking for a new crime thriller series then I would recommend giving this one a go based on how good I think this 3rd book is. This is a book by two Nordic Crime writers and it is brilliant. It is gritty, brutal and such an exciting fast-paced read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Off Target by Eve Smith @Evecsmith @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #dystopian #thriller #fiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Off Target by Eve Smith. This was a fabulous read and one that I adored. It does have a dystopian edge to it, but also it is something that has a scarily possible amount of believability to it.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher Orenda Books.

What if your future was just one modification away?

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect – altering genes that may cause illness, and more…


Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable.

She believes her secret is safe. For now. But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their
own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…


Critically acclaimed bestseller Eve Smith returns with a terrifying, cautionary glimpse of what the future may hold, with a startlingly thought-provoking blockbuster of a thriller
.

MY REVIEW

Off Target is a near-future dystopian thriller that had me hooked. This is a story that is so thought-provoking and in some ways, there are basics of this book that do actually happen. If you could have therapy to remove a gene to prevent your child from developing a serious, fatal or debilitating disease would you go through with it? This is a very basic premise of this book, the route the author took is one that had me hooked as she weaves some serious effects, opinions, outcomes and points of view in this book.

After trying for years to fall pregnant, it turns out a one-night stand was all it would take for Susan to finally conceive. She knows her husband Steve is not going to be supportive of this, well who would be! But changing the DNA so that all the tests come back as the baby is Steve’s is something that is an option in the world that the author has created.

This is a book that absolutely hit me from the first few pages. Changing something is good but changing something that is fundamentally a part of who you are is an entirely different matter. This futuristic world has many advancements, some of these are legal, but with all things legal there are also illegal processes.

For me, the author sets up this story so well, introducing you to the characters, their problems and how things are for those desperate to have a child. The author gives differing opinions, perspectives and viewpoints. She also deals with moral dilemmas as well as ethical ones. All this was incorporated into an absolutely riveting read.

Once the author has her hooks into me, she then turned up the pressure taking a darker and more serious line. It felt like a butterfly effect, where if you change one thing it will affect something else along the way somewhere.

This is a story that is a, WOW!, story, it isn’t that far fetched as you think as some things are already occurring and a quick look on the internet will soon give examples. I must admit I didn’t stray too far on the net because there are many conspiracy theories out there. But, it is an eye-opener all the same.

WHat the author has achieved with this book is to give an insight into a moral and ethical dilemma between her characters. Right or wrong is going to be something the reader will decide on as they read. It certainly makes for some interesting thoughts as I finished the book.

Brilliant story, addictive, insightful, balanced and just so damned good to read and I would absolutely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction – mainly about the things that scare her – which she attributes to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. Previously COO of an environmental charity, she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. Twitter @evecsmith; Instagram: evesmithauthor; Facebook: EveSmithAuthor and http://www.evesmithauthor.com.

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The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone #TheSkelfs @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone. This is the 3rd book in the series and features the Skelf Family.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher Orenda Books.

The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet…

Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelf’s teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

My Review…

From reading the two previous books in this series I knew I was going to be in for a roller coaster ride. I did not, however, expect it to be such an amazing ride!

This is the third book in The Sklef’s series, set in Edinburgh. The Skelf’s are a family of different generations of women and boys are an amazing group. Headed by Dorothy, the family-run not only funeral directors but also have a Private Investigation business.

Dorothy is an amazing matriarch and her daughter, Jenny and granddaughter Hannah are doing a great job. With the family dog finding a foot, an abusive ex on the run and a very strange message the women have their work cut out. As if having all these dynamic women under one roof is not enough, Dorothy also takes in waifs, those who have troubles that just need a safe place and a roof over their heads. Oh, did I mention the big cat that is on the loose around the city?

This is a breakneck speed of a read, one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I do like the way the author alternates his chapters between the three Sklef women, it kept this reader up to speed with all that was going on, and boy was there a lot. Credit to the author for keeping all these sub-plots in check and not allowing me to get confused. As the women are very unique it is very easy to keep up with who is who and their individual roles don’t their own cases as well as when they all come together.

This story does have a tense atmosphere to it, there is the threat of the big cat lurking, the abusive ex who is making life more than hell for some and then of course there is the body part. The author has so skillfully woven all the dramatic and dynamic plots together brilliantly and it makes for a very intense and thrilling read.

This is a fabulous series and I do think it is just getting better and better. There is more tension and it does have a gloriously dark edge to it. This is a series that I would say you do need to read from the beginning as there are mentions of previous storylines.

This is definitely a tense, fast-paced, dark and gritty glimpse into the world of the Sklef women, they are a fabulous family and this latest book is an amazing read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His fourth novel, Hit & Run, is published by Faber and Faber on March 15th 2012. His previous novel, Smokeheads, was published in March 2011, also by Faber. before that he published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008), which received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre. Doug is currently writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde. He’s had short stories appear in various publications, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children. He loves drinking malt whisky and playing football, not necessarily at the same time.

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This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech @louisewriter @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #jubilantjune #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. This is an author who doesn’t stick to genres, she explores many emotions. She makes it impossible for me to write a review that comes anywhere close to doing her writing justice!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, Orenda Books.

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.


Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.


When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.


Both heart-breaking and heart-warming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.

“Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old
Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to
meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often
faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me
and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice
was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their
help and support.” Louise Beech

My Review…

So here is my attempt at a review…

Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for something special. even though I have not yet read all of her books, I have read enough to know that when I do read one it is going to leave me with tears, This Is How We Are Human is no exception.

The story explores the love a mother and what she will do to give her son as ‘normal’ a life as she can. The story gives a voice to Sebastian who has autism. This voice is the louder one, and opened up my eyes a lot. The story is about what a daughter will do to look after her father.

So, three main characters and each one unique, each one doing what they can, each one doing their best. Sebastian is 20, he has perfectly normal sexual desires, but as he doesn’t have a girlfriend his mother believes she is doing the right thing by hiring an escort for him.

The escort, is doing all she can to keep on top of her studies, look after her father and pay the bills. The only way she can do this is by taking on additional work in the evenings. It is not way she planned for her life to pan out, but needs must.

The three lives are very much intertwined as the author gradually weaves her story. She not only does a fantastic job of bringing them to life, but she also made me care about all three. The character and story of Sebastian is based on the experiences of people the author knew. As I read I was aware that Sebastian’s voice sounded genuine, it had some sort of real and authentic sound to it. This was because of Sean, the person behind the story.

Once again, the author has woven something special. While we try our best not to make assumptions, we try not to be prejudiced, we will and do fail at some point. As much as we try our best to right by other, or to help, there will be a time when we have to stand back. We have to allow life and the natural course of things happen.

This is a story that doesn’t really fit into a genre as such. It is a human interest story, it is a coming of age story, it is challenging the reader to see beyond the labels of society. It also gives some insight into autism, how not only those who are diagnosed with it live, but also how family and other people perceive autism.

This is a special story that has made me once again has me struggling to convey how unique this author and her writing is. I didn’t find this uncomfortable reading at all, I found it emotional and heartfelt. Warm and genuine. The author took a story and created something that was about the people rather than the sex or the autism.

Such an amazing book to read. It s a book that once I began I did not want to put down. I adored this and I would highly recommend it.

About the Author…


The author of Maria in the Moon, The Lion Tamer Who Lost and I Am Dust returns with a beautifully written, powerful and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.


Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.

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I Am Dust by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks #20booksofsummer #mystery #suspense #mustread #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for I Am Dust by Louise Beech. THis is a book I have chosen to be part of my #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge and what a wonderful book it was.

Let me show you what it is about…

Synopsis

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review

I have just finished reading this book and there are two words that I think sum this book up “hauntingly beautiful” I wish I could leave that as my review, but as a Book Blogger I know I need to add more to it. The synopsis gives a very good idea as to the story, but, Oh there is so much more it than that!

The story is told in a time slip style. The past goes back to when three teens, Chloe, Jess and Ryan use a Ouija board to contact a dead actress. She was murdered while the show Dust was being performed. The now is the DW theatre, not as popular as it used to be, and there is exciting news that the show Dust will be performed once again.

The author did such an amazing job with this story, I loved the haunting atmospherics that added some amazing tension. The story started with some excitement as the teens started to use the spirit board, this was then built on over the course of the story. Mixed into this was the mystery about the dead actress, Morgan Miller, who wanted to kill her and why.

There is another mystery that also comes into play, and that is what exactly happened to the teens when they walked away from the board? Did it change them? Did they follow the warnings? Well these questions are just the tip of the ice-berg as the author took this reader deeper and deeper into this mystery.

I call this a mystery, and in some ways yes it is, but it is also has a wonderful supernatural theme to it, also there is the murder which adds a crime element, then there is the relationships between the teens, oh and there is also a heartbreaking aspect. I think what I am getting at is that this book crosses genres and that makes it a book that will engage so many different readers.

The story gradually wrapped me up, drawing me deeper and deeper into its pages. I found myself addicted and at times when I was not reading it, I almost felt it calling out to me to pick it up again. It is a beautifully written story, that is heartbreaking and haunting. I loved it from start to finish and those last few pages completely broke me and left me a sobbing wreck.

This is a book that I am pretty sure will be on my Top Reads of the Year list. It is an exceptional read and one I would Highly Recommend.

About the Author

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out in 2020.

Links – WebsiteTwitterAmazon Author Page

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Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz @ohneklippo @annecater #RandomThingsTours @OrendaBooks #Crime #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Hamburg state prosecutor Chastity Riley investigates a series
of arson attacks on cars across the city, which leads her to a
startling and life-threatening discovery involving criminal gangs
and a very illicit love story…


Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city
of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no
suspect.


Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in
the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty.
The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan –
is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide.


Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation,
which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes
beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s
background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious
Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random
attacks, and there are more on the cards…

I have read the first book in the Chas Riley series and they do work well as standalone, but obviously better if read in order to get a proper understanding of Chas.

In Mexico Street the synopsis does a great job of setting the reader up for what is to come. The author has quite a unique style and so does her main protagonist Chas Riley.

Chas is a no holds barred type of character, she is a tough cookie who tends to say what she wants, do what she wants and is in some respects a bit of a closed book when it comes to revealing things about herself.

The case of a body found in a burned out car takes Chas and her team into an area where there is a community that is country-less, refugees who cannot remain in their own country and are not allowed to settle. They are not trusting of the law, of outsiders and of strangers. They have there own ways of doing things and this makes it very difficult to gain the answers Chas needs.

The author weaves a tale that flits back and forth in time giving a backstory to the characters. These are gradually brought up to date and gives the reader the chance to get to know not only the character but also the what matters to them. She also changes perspectives as the story progresses, you get a view from Chas, the investigation as well as from a character. These are well worked to give a good depth to the story.

The story is a mix of the investigation and also from the the dead characters life to the point of death and because of this there are certain things that are not completely finalised. It is that the investigation has been solved but not all the questions are answered, but they are alluded to. Leaves the reader with something to think about.

This is an investigative story that has a different style to it giving it a unique feel. It is detailed and has more than one story-line that are gradually drawn together until they reach a point where they meet. Mexico Street is a crime and investigation read that I would recommend.

I would also like to add that the translation is brilliant.

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied
Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and
trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in
Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award
as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night,
which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She
lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

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Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb @crimethrillgirl @annecater @OrendaBooks #randomthingstours #orendabooks #deepdarknight #thriller #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. I have brought the previous books in this series and my plan had been to read them prior to reading this latest one… I really shouldn’t plan because they never go…well…according to plan!!!

My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for also arranging an e-copy of this book so I can share my honest opinion about it.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

So as this is the first book I have read by this author what did I think? Well before I was even a quarter of the way through I thought “This is such a good book” and then followed by another thought… “Why haven’t I read anything by this author before!”

Deep Dark Night is part of a series and I can honestly say it worked really well as a stand-alone. It also left me wishing I had read these in order because even though there was enough details about past stories it also left me wanting to know more about the two main protagonists.

So the main characters are Lori and JT, they are caught up with FBI Agent Monroe and are involved in trying to catch a Chicago crime boss handling stolen goods. Now I know I am not the only reader who immediately gets suspicious when those three letters, FBI, appear in books and this also goes for Lori and JT.

Now the synopsis for this book gives a good amount of details as to what I was going to expect, but the book itself far surpassed what the synopsis hinted at. This book was full on high pace from start to finish, this was ideal for injecting a sense of urgency to the main plot. It also added drama and suspense aplenty.

I really liked how the author had laid out this story. Not only quick sharp and to the point chapters, but also alternating perspectives between Lori and JT. It was a good way of seeing different opinions and also for the odd personal moment as they thought about home and family. If you have read the books you will know what I am referring to.

This is without doubt a cracking read that I absolutely loved, once I started I was unable to put it down. Ideal for readers who like fast paced, action packed reads and crime based mysteries. This is a book I would definitely recommend.

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.


My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

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A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #OrendaBooks #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for my spot on the Blog Tour and my e-copy of this terrrific book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series


The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

The really like the simplicity of this cover and as I again look at it after reading the book it is also so appropriate. The synopsis does a great job of setting the basics up for this story. This is the first in a new series by Doug Johnstone and I have to say I cannot wait to see what these feisty Sklef women get up to in further books.

This is a story that is about coming to terms with the death of a loved one who left one or two skeletons lurking behind him. Jim’s death leaves not only a big hole in the lives of his family, it also leaves a hole in the two businesses. One is a funeral directors the other is a private Investigation business.

Taking over two businesses throws up a few surprises, in fact surprise is something that each of the three Skelf women, in this story, have got to deal with. Some hit closer to home than others. In some respects this book is like reading interconnected stories, that have an individual feel at times but also are linked.

The individual stories gradually make themselves known and after a slower start I suddenly found myself finding my feet. There were a few characters to get my head around, but gradually I did and I was able to see the story rather than trying to remember who was who.

Dealing with grief at the same time as discovering secrets and trying to keep business running is a tall order. This is something the Skelf ‘s seem to take in their stride. These are strong women, who do have moments of doubt but continue on.

This is a really good read that has more than a few surprises tucked in the pages, very cleverly worked and quite a lot of facts scattered throughout that added some wonderful reading extras.

If you are a reader who likes crime and mystery reads then this will be right up your street, I am really looking forward to what happens next and what the author can weave into his next book. A Dark Matter gets a definitely recommended from me.

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also playermanager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

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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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Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen Translated by Don Bartlett #RandomThingsTours #NordicNoir @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and the translation by Don Batlett. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my copy of the the book.

This is the second book by this author that I have read and I love his writing, atmospheric and addictive immediately spring to mind. Anyway, before I get too carried away let’s have a look and see what the book is about…

The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance… The next instalment in the international, bestselling Varg Veum series by one of the fathers of Nordic Noir…

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

First off I am going to say that I am so glad there are translators, they give me a chance to read books that I would not otherwise be able to enjoy. Don Barlett doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to reading his translation of Wolves at the Door into English.

This is the latest instalment of the Varg Veum series. Varg is a Private Investigator and is looking into two old cases. The cases are based around those found guilty of child abuse. Now I will say straight off that while the author does not go into excessive detail, it does make the reading a little uncomfortable at times.

As Varg starts to gather the information he needs, he meets various characters and the job of trying to work out the who’s and the why’s begins. The problem with these other characters is that they all seem to have something to hide, or they are holding something back. This increases the tension as I was never sure who I could rely on for being truthful. Given that there are a few characters to follow, I found them easy to remember and to recognise. Varg has the same problem as I did when it came to working out who to trust. I was eagerly waiting for him to work through their stories and remarks so I could better understand the reasons and also the culprit behind the killings and also the attempt on Varg’s life.

The author is fabulous with his descriptions and it added to the slower style of the story adding suspense and a tense atmosphere. While the style of the story is slower the pace of it is not, I hope that makes sense!

I did take longer to read this book than I normally would. Rather than devouring it in one or two sittings, I read over several days. This is because my concentration levels at the time were not brilliant too many other things whizzing around my head. The bonus in doing this was that I was able to think about the story in between reading. I was able to mull over who I thought was behind it all, I had 3 people on my “Suspect list” and yes the actual guilty party was one of them. So I did not actually work it all out completely and I was not able to single out a definite character.

This is yet ano0ther fabulous Nordic Noir from an author who definitely keeps me on my toes. The story is like the cover, dark and atmospheric it is also full of suspense, surprise and with some wonderful descriptions. A book that crime and thriller readers will love.

It gets a “Highly Recommended” from Me!

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

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