Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir #bookreview blog tour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue in Iceland rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy…

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

MY THOUGHTS

Cage is the third and final book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Lilja Sigurdardottir and another superb translation by Quentin Bates. It is a satisfying end to a series of books which I have really grown to enjoy. It’s been fascinating getting to know Agla throughout the three books, and I feel sad that this will be the last book to feature her. I do think though that it is a good place to end the series.

This time around the tables have turned for Agla. Currently Agla is in prison. She has also lost touch with her lover, Sonja who appears to have abandoned her.

While Agla is in prison, she is approached by investigative journalist, Marie, who is from a local paper called, The Squirrel. Marie was once Agla’s nemesis, but she is now seeking her help to investigate a company called, Meteorite, who are exporting aluminium out of Iceland. Marie is convinced something dodgy is going on here. As she gets closer to what is going on behind the scenes, Marie closes in on some very dangerous people. These people would wish to see her harmed if she ever got to the truth, but she is determined to expose them.

What this series highlights so well, is what can go on inside powerful groups, people who are involved in business deals and exporting vast sums of money out of the country. This is something which isn’t outside the realms of possibility. There is a terrifying world out there which ordinary people can become so easily swept up in, and this is what initially happened to Agla. This is why she is in this position today.

Agla seems to be a lot more detached in this book than she was in the previous books in the series. You can feel that the doors have closed on her and that she is now firmly trapped. She seems to have accepted her fate and is keen to do her time and then try to build a new life.

I think one of the things I missed in this book was her relationship with her son, Tomas, which Lilja previously built on so well. I did also miss her relationship with Sonja, and I felt sorry for Agla that she no longer could share her company. We do still see Sonja in Cage, but it isn’t quite in the same way.

The novel races towards a heart-pounding climax as everything comes to a head for Lilja’s characters. Lilja’s writing will have you furiously turning those pages.

This has been a brilliant series to follow, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what Lilja Sigurdardottir writes next. Chilling and totally gripping right the way through, this is a series of books you need to read if you haven’t done so already.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th October 2019

Print length: 276 pages

If you would like to purchase Cage, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan blog tour #bookreview @WilliamRyan_ @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

MY THOUGHTS

A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan is the perfect read for this time of year. If you enjoy reading in the winter nights and as the weather begins to turn, then this book is for you.

W.C.  Ryan takes us to a remote island where one of our lead characters, Kate, is travelling home to after the death of her brother during the First World War. The war has ravaged the county, and everyone has a connection to someone who is affected by the war.

Now there is a supernatural element to W.C. Ryan’s work which gives it a really spooky atmosphere. Kate’s parents, Lord and Lady Highmount, are planning a séance for their guests at their home, Blackwater Abbey, and they have gathered together people who have some ability to connect with the spirit world. They are great believers in mediums and fortune-tellers. Lady Highmount is desperate to hear from her departed son, but as the séance takes place and when a storm renders them trapped, dark secrets about the guests begin to emerge, and this soon leads to violence.

Kate is the character who I engaged with most throughout this book. Kate is a natural but unwilling medium and uses a mirror to see spirits. She senses the presence of many ghosts throughout the house. This is what gave the book a very creepy atmosphere. But unlike many who would be absolutely terrified at the prospect of seeing a ghost, Kate takes it all in her stride, and it certainly doesn’t seem to bother her.

There’s a very Agatha Christie feel to this book. It did put me in mind of And Then There Were None which is also set on a remote island, but I thought this was a good thing. There is a real sense of isolation which always adds to the tension as well. As does the fact that all the characters are suspecting each other. This is what W.C. Ryan achieves very well.

Donovan is another character who we hear from. Although I didn’t find him as engaging as I did with Kate, I did, however, find him to be a very mysterious character. I wanted to find out more about him and who he was. I also liked how he teamed up with Kate, and I liked the relationship that developed between them.

If you enjoy a good ghost story steeped in mystery, then this is the novel for you. And how can you not be drawn to it by the brilliant cover? A House of Ghosts is a chilling read that will pull you in from the very first page. Hugely enjoyable.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 4th October 2018

Print length: 432 pages

If you would like to purchase A House of Ghosts, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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The Family by Louise Jensen #bookreview @Fab_fiction @HQstories

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of The Family by Louise Jensen on my blog today.

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ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

MY THOUGHTS

The Family is a very tense thriller from Louise Jensen. Louise’s writing made this book so utterly gripping. I was intrigued by the residents of Oak Leaf Farm, especially the dark and mysterious Alex, who is their leader and holds everything together.

The darkness creeps into the pages of Louise’s book. It kept me turning the pages as I wondered what was going to happen next.

Laura and her daughter, Tilly, have already suffered unimaginable trauma. Laura’s husband and Tilly’s father, Gavan, has fallen to his death after a visit to one of his construction sites. But in the wake of Gavan’s passing, disturbing details about his business come to light, and people begin to turn on Laura and Tilly, including their own family. Desperate for help, Laura seeks refuge at Oak Leaf Farm and very soon Tilly is pulled into Alex’s orbit. Infatuated by Alex, Tilly is desperate to stay, but Laura is starting to see what is going on here and wants to get out. But someone is very keen to make sure that they never leave.

I found Louise Jensen’s latest thriller to be completely unpredictable. As Laura and Tilly became a part of the community at Oak Leaf, I initially thought this would be a good thing for them. It soon starts to become clear, however, that Alex was keen for them to stay for an altogether different reason. I never felt though that the community was completely shut off from the wider world. Although they use all their own home grown produce and don’t use technology, I didn’t get the sense they were prisoners there. It felt like a very welcoming community, and this is what made the characters who were a part of it all the more fascinating. I wanted to know just why they wanted to be a part of it and what made them stay.

The tension soon begins to build as the story progresses, and I started to fear for both Laura and Tilly. I couldn’t work out what was going on behind the scenes. Tilly, I felt especially sorry for, particularly for what she was going through at school, reminding us that school can be an incredibly tough time for teenagers. I could see why she was desperate to feel accepted at Oak Leaf and why she wanted to form new friendships there. I could also see why she was so drawn to Alex.

I’ve read Louise Jensen’s previous work, and I have to say that I think The Family is my favourite. I thought that the darkness was done really well, and it kept me thinking about the characters and what was going to happen to them.

There is a very creepy vibe to the story as it develops. I’m sure that many readers will be pulled into Louise and Tilly’s new home. Dark, very addictive and with some very sinister revelations, I’m sure this book will be a big hit among readers.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 25th September 2019 (kindle) 3rd October 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 384 pages

If you would like to purchase The Family, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen #bookreview blog tour @tessgerritsen @annecater

Happy Publication day to Tess Gerritsen, her latest novel, The Shape of Night is released today. I’m sharing my thoughts as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of . . .

When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past. Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.

But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone. Either that or she is losing her mind.

The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely?

MY THOUGHTS

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen is one of the most unusual ghost stories I’ve read. Tess Gerritsen’s story is very gripping, but it did turn into something I totally wasn’t expecting. This actually makes the book quite difficult to talk about without giving away any spoilers. If you do pick this book up and if you are a fan of Tess Gerritsen’s work, be prepared for some quite unusual and shocking scenes.

Tess Gerritsen takes us to an old house on the edge of a cliff with fantastic views of the sea, known as Brodie’s Watch, where her lead character, Ava is staying as she researches for a book she is writing. The book she is working on is based on cookery in New England. But the house has a reputation among the local villagers for being haunted. There have been a few mysterious deaths which have taken place there over the years. All the victims have been young women. And soon Ava realises that there is a creeping sense of danger and her own existence might be threatened.

There is something very mysterious about Ava, and I felt drawn in by her character as she settles into her new life at Brodie’s Watch. From the blurb, we know that she is hiding something about her past. Tess Gerritsen doesn’t let on to what this is until a lot further into the book. The mystery of Ava’s history is what creates tension as the story progresses.

As I mentioned earlier on in my review, be prepared for some shocking scenes in this book which I think will definitely surprise you. Some of them are quite disturbing, and I think they may put some readers off. There were certain times when I had to put the book down. If you have read previous reviews of this book, you may understand where I’m coming from. They are what make this book very unusual, and I think they will definitely be a talking point among readers. But I’m not going to reveal anything about what happens here.

Although I was slightly put off by some of the scenes in this book, I did enjoy the story. Tess Gerritsen creates mystery, and there is a lot of tension. I raced through it because I was fascinated by Ava’s character and because I was utterly perplexed at the same time.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for a very spooky read for this time of year, particularly with Halloween just around the corner.

Publisher: Bantam Press

Publication date: 3rd October 2019

Print length: 288 pages

If you would like to purchase The Shape of Night, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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First Monday Crime Book Review – The Lying Room by @FrenchNicci @1stMondayCrime @simonschusterUK

After a summer break, First Monday Crime is back at City University, London on Monday, 7th October 2019 at 18.30 p.m.

We have another brilliant panel for you. Claire McGowan will be moderating and she will be interviewing, crime writing husband and wife duo, Nicci French, (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), Peter Robinson and Marnie Riches. I’ve just finished reading The Lying Room by Nicci French and I will be sharing my review below. And if you’re interested in coming to next month’s First Monday Crime, I’ll be telling you how and where you can reserve your FREE space at the end of the blog post.

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Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared  to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

MY THOUGHTS

I became completely caught up in Neve’s world after she discovers the body of her lover, Saul in his apartment in Nicci French’s new standalone novel, The Lying Room. There are long chapters in this book. This did put me off initially when I picked it up, but the writing is just so addictive, and it flowed very well, making it a very easy read to get into. In the end, I didn’t notice that the chapters were long at all.

Even more shocking, is Neve’s actions following the discovery. She thoroughly cleans the apartment, removing any visible trace of her presence. She is determined to make sure that her family don’t find out about her affair. But as she gets caught up in trying to remove the evidence, she puts herself in very grave danger and soon falls under the suspicion of the police. Why would she want to do this? Why doesn’t she call the police straight away?

Neve was a character who both intrigued and frustrated me. When we first meet her, I couldn’t understand what she was doing. I could have shouted at her for her actions. I could see that this was going to make her a suspect in the eyes of the police if they ever discovered what she did in the wake of Saul’s death.

There is a lot of family drama going on here as well. Neve’s daughter, Mabel, is supposed to be going off to university but she is having reservations about going, and Mabel is very grumpy with her mother. There is definitely friction between them, and this was another intriguing part of the plot which I wanted to know more about.

There are some really tense moments when Neve is interviewed by the police. I could see that the detective, Inspector Hitching strongly disliked her. It must be so frustrating for the police when they can see that someone is guilty, but they can’t find the evidence that clinches their suspicion. Neve is very clever, and this created high moments of tension when she is trying to cover up her actions. This certainly frustrates Hitching and other police officers who are working on the case when they are trying to make sense of Neve’s story. I kept thinking as I was reading that surely Neve was going to get found out.

But ultimately what drives the plot is who really killed Saul, and why did he have to die? Neve makes it her determination to find out who the person behind his death is if only to avoid the finger of suspicion being pointed her way. And I wanted to know what had really happened as well and this is what kept me turning the pages.

The Lying Room is fuelled with tension and drama.  This is a highly engrossing read from Nicci French, which I would definitely recommend adding to your reading list. If you’re new to Nicci French as I was, this is the perfect place to start.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 3rd October 2019

Print length: 432 pages

If you would like to purchase The Lying Room, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

If you would like to come to First Monday Crime at 18.30 p.m. on Monday, 7th October 2019, you can do so by clicking on the following link below. The nearest tube stations to City University are Farringdon and Angel. After the event we’ll be heading the Sekforde Arms for a drink.

RESERVE YOUR FREE SPACE