A Grave for Two by Anne Holt #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on A Grave for Two by Anne Holt. I received this book as part of a giveaway by Readers First. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I Admit that I will be reading more!

Let me show you what it is all about…

‘Anne Holt is the godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction.’ Jo Nesbø

Selma Falck has hit rock bottom. Having lost everything – her husband, her children and her high-flying job as a lawyer – in quick succession, she is holed up alone in a dingy apartment. That is until Jan Morell – the man who is to blame for her downfall – rings her doorbell, desperate to overturn a doping accusation against his daughter, Hege – Norway’s best female skier. He’ll drop his investigation into Selma, but only if she’ll help… With just weeks until the Olympic qualifying rounds, clearing Hege’s name, and getting Selma’s own life back on track, seems impossible.

But when an elite male skier is found dead in suspicious circumstances, the post-mortem showing a link to Hege’s case, it becomes clear to Selma that there is a sinister web of lies, corruption and scandals lurking in this highly competitive sport. As time starts to runs out, another person is found dead, and Selma realizes that her own life is at risk…

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and she has left me with a curiosity to read more. The main protagonist of this story is Selma Falck, a woman with a past history and intriguing life. I met her as she was in a dingy flat as she has no job prospects and things look grim and uncertain. She is given a second chance when the father of the number one women’s Norwegian skier comes to ask for her help. The skier is Hege Chin Morell, she has been accused of taking an illegal drug and it threatens her Olympic dreams.

Along with Hege, another athlete is also brought into the story. Though its his death that is in question. There are several threads of other story lines that the author has woven into A Grave For Two and she deals with corruption, cronyism, drug and doping accusations as well as a more personal look into Selma’s life.

This is a wonderful read and a slow burner that is intriguing and has well woven story-lines. The investigation that Selma embarks on takes her down some dubious and shady paths. I liked how the author flitted between all the different threads and gradually built up the story towards its climax. For the most of the story I was addicted and found it very interesting reading, but then as the end approached I found myself loosing that addiction. I felt that things were dragged out a little too much. At this point for me a lot of the questions had been answered and there was still the odd revelation to be revealed but it just felt like it slowed in pace a little. It may that my tiredness didn’t help as I was trying to finish the book before going to bed.

Even though I felt a little disappointed by the ending, I still enjoyed the vast majority of the story and it has left me wanting to know more about Selma and what has happened in her life up to this point. This is an author who I will be revisiting in the future.

This is a story that I would recommend to readers who like a slow burn to their mysteries, with suspicion and corruption and a personal side stories.

Many thanks for reading my post 🙂 xx

Hudson’s Kill by Paddy Hirsch #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Hudson’s Kill by paddy Hirsch. I recieved a hardback copy of this book via Readers First. This is a historical fiction set in New York in 1803, so let me show you what it is all about…

‘A wild horse-and-carriage ride through early 19th century New York… Meticulously researched, the novel brings the city to life in lurid sensory detail.’ Noel O’Reilly, author of Wrecker

New York, 1803. The expanding city is rife with tension, and violence simmers on every street as black and Irish gangs fight for control. When a young girl is found brutally murdered, Marshal Justy Flanagan must find the killer before a mob takes the law into their own hands.

Kerry O’Toole, Justy’s friend and ally, decides to pursue her own inquiries into the girl’s murder. When they each find their way into a shadowy community on the fringes of the city, Justy and Kerry encounter a treacherous web of political conspiracy and criminal enterprise. As events dangerously escalate, they must fight to save not only the city, but also themselves…

This is a murder mystery read that also has a lot of conspiracy and tension mixed in as well. It is New York in 1803 and Kerry O’Toole finds the body of a young girl a back alley. Justy Flanagan is called in to investigate the identity of the girl and also the killer. Together Justy and Kerry kind of work together, I say kind of because they both want to find the same answers!

This is a book that has a lot going on in it. What I thought was going to be a murder mystery read, which it was by the way, also had gangs, conspiracy, rivalry and, tension. All these components added to the mixing pot that made up New York at the time. People from different, countries with various backgrounds, religious beliefs and traditions all arrived in the area. They all bring their own language and ways of speaking, and this is where I began to notice the research aspect of the book. The speech was very evident from the off as I cam across words that I recognised as being Welsh, Scottish and Irish.

The speech adds to the diversity of the setting and the people who inhabit it. The descriptions of bars, brothels, alleyways and the like bring home the fact that this is not an affluent area. The author has used the tensions to their advantage and played on it, escalating feelings between rivals. In someways this overwhelmed the investigation, but it was also part of the investigation, if you know what I mean. I just felt that the murder had been sidelined a little bit, but, at the same time I know that

This is a good read and even though there were a couple of things I struggled with, I did enjoy it. I thought it was quite a complex story and maybe this is what caught me out as I wasn’t expecting that when I started.

Earlier I mentioned about speech and I was incredibly glad to see a glossary at the end of the book, while there are some terms that I could work out, there were some that had me scratching my head. I love the inclusion of the old languages and phrases.

This is the 2nd book in the series, and as is my usual form I have not read the first one yet! So, I can say that this owrks well as a stand alone but, I would suggest reading in order as there are things mentioned that I assume are from the first book. There is also a dynamic between Just and Kerry that I am curious to know more about. So I will be reading the first book at some point to squash my curiosity.

Hudson’s Kill is an addictive if complex read and I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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

Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly #ReadersFirst1 #Review

I am delighted to share my review for Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly. I won a copy of this book from Readers First so my huge thanks to them.

As a child I loved fairy tales, especially Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. They told of magical adventures and whisked me off to far away lands to meet all sorts of people and beasts. Step Sister is the story of what happened after Ella was found to be the owner of the glass slipper.

‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’

Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .

Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?

This is the story of Isabella, one-half of the “ugly sisters”, the other being Octavia. I was really interested to see how or where the author would go with this story. The author took a route that included Fate and Chance, it wasn’t the story I thought it would be. Instead, it was so much better than I could imagine.

I immediately got the fairy tale vibe as I started this story, and I was so glad of that. I think it is important to have this as it follows on from such a famous one. The main focus is Isabella and I learned of her childhood and growing up. More importantly, I discovered what the turning point was in her life for her to turn ugly.

The way the author portrayed the character and showed things from Isabella’s perspective was interesting and became very compelling. Instead of the flippant, high-maintenance and demanding girl instead, I found someone very different. A girl who so much wanted for her mother to be proud of her. A girl who was expected to become someone she didn’t want to be. A girl caught in an endless circle.

As this tale unfolded I was drawn deeper into the lives of the sisters. The story made me think about them in a different way as a new light had been shone on them. The author has given the sisters something different and for me, it worked really well. There was more of a feminism flare to the story, and as this strain started to make itself felt the fairy tale started to fade. There is still the magical feel but it just feels more grown up.

If like me, you still like fairy tales then Step Sister is one you should really take a look at. It has darkness that has been balanced with the various other threads of the story. For me, this version of what happened after is very good and makes for brilliant reading.

It has strong characters, a wonderful storyline and gives great escapism. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!

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

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.

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