December Wrap-Up

Finally, here we are at the end of 2020. At the start of the New Year I had so many things I was looking forward to this year, which, of course, had to be cancelled or put on hold due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Hopefully things will start getting much more closer to normal at some point in 2021. There are so many people who I want to catch up with. Although Zoom and mobiles makes it easier to keep in contact with people, it certainly isn’t quite the same as meeting up and seeing someone in person.

I have made some more progress on the current novel I am writing and I have now written 58,031 words. It is still only a first draft and I suspect it may change over the coming months. But I’m happy with what I’ve written so far.

With just a day to go until the end of the year I’ve now read 159 books towards my goal of 160. I’ve nearly finished my current read so I should have that finished before the start of 2021.

I had a quieter month on the blog, blog tour wise. I took part in three blog tours this month and I’ve included the links below, in case you missed any.

Body Language by AK Turner

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson

I have a busy month coming up in January and I’m taking part in five blog tours. The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello by Chris McDonald on the 12th, Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell on the 16th, The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on the 17th, The Captive by Deborah O’Connor on the 21st and The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor on the 26th.

I also received some exciting book post this month. I received a copy of The Last Snow by Stina Jackson, Trust by Chris Hammer, The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, The Locksmith by Linda Calvey and The Appeal by Janice Hallett.

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That’s all from me this month. I hope you have a great year in 2021. At the moment I’m currently reading The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments. Are there any books which you can’t wait to read in 2021?

WWW Wednesday – 30/12/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

What have I finished reading?

Innocent: the gripping and emotional new thriller from the author of FOUND by [Erin Kinsley]

The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But when a lavish summer wedding ends with a shocking murder it seems life will never be the same again.

As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and relationships begin to unravel.
Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

What will I read next?

The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello: A modern cosy mystery with a classic crime feel (The Stonebridge Myseries Book 1) by [Chris McDonald]

Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But, on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte.
Armed with an encyclopedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton. I ended up finishing this book on Christmas day. The hardback and kindle edition was published on the 6th January 2020 and the paperback was published on the 20th October 2020 by Penguin.

BLURB

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege.

Pupils and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news.

In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

MY THOUGHTS

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is a brilliant, breath-taking and an utterly tense read. It is heart-breaking as well. You won’t be able to stop thinking about this book and the characters within its pages. It is so well done, and it is beautifully written.

A single bullet being fired sets off a chain of events that will keep you gripped. It’s a striking image. Rosamund Lupton sets her novel in a school in Somerset, during a snowstorm, which has become a target for terrorists. The students and teachers within the school have become hostages. The headmaster has been shot and needs urgent medical attention if he is to survive. The characters have no idea how the next couple of hours are going to pan out. The hostages have no idea if they are going to live or die. Their families have no idea if they will see them again.

I felt as though I had stepped into the character’s lives as I read this book. The fear and tension is on every page. When I started reading it, and when I read the blurb, I thought it sounded similar to Fierce Kingdom, which I read a few years ago. But Rosamund Lupton makes her story so unique in the voices and stories of her characters. They all feel very real, and I could imagine reading about this event, Rosamund Lupton portrays, in a newspaper or seeing it unfold on the news. It scarily feels very real.

Rosamund Lupton also peers into the psychology behind the terrorists reasons for targeting the school. The school, which has become a target, has embraced diversity. And that is the reason why the terrorists have made it one. It makes you angry to think that there are people actually like this, who exist in the world today. Everyone thinks that this sort of event won’t happen to them. By using a school, in a rural part of the country, Rosamund Lupton shows that this can happen anywhere. It’s what makes the idea even scarier.

The image of the teachers trying to make everything appear as normal as possible for the children is very powerful. They are rehearsing the play Macbeth for the Drama class’s latest production. During these scenes, I kept thinking how scared the teachers themselves must be at the thought of a gunman, potentially multiple gunmen, patrolling the school. It’s what makes them exceptionally brave as well as they try to keep the children safe, by drawing their attention away from the danger lurking around them.

Another powerful story told in the book comes from two brothers, Rafi and Basi, who have escaped war-torn Syria and have made a home in Britain. Their stories are heart-breaking, and the flashback scenes back to when they were fleeing Syria were very strong.

I can imagine that this will be a tough read for some people. You can feel the emotion from the characters within the pages, particularly from the parents who are desperate for news of their children. I don’t have children, so I can only imagine what that fear must be like. It is an emotional roller coaster of a read that will pull at the heartstrings. I imagine I’ll be thinking about it for a very long time to come, and I’m sure it will stick in your mind too, once you have read it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 6th January 2020

Print length: 306 pages

Three Hours is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

WWW Wednesday – 23/12/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege.

Pupils and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news.

In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

What have I finished reading?

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

What You Pay For: Shortlisted for McIlvanney and CWA Awards (DI Birch) by [Claire Askew]

DI Helen Birch faces a terrible choice – family or justice? – in the gripping second novel from the author of All the Hidden Truths

DI Birch joined the police to find her little brother, who walked out of his life one day and was never seen again. She stayed to help others, determined to seek justice where she could.

On the fourteenth anniversary of Charlie’s disappearance, Birch takes part in a raid on one of Scotland’s most feared criminal organisations. It’s a good day’s work – a chance to get a dangerous man off the streets.

Two days later, Charlie comes back. It’s not a coincidence. When Birch finds out exactly what he’s been doing all those years, she faces a terrible choice: save the case, or save her brother. But how can you do the right thing when all the consequences are bad?

As she interrogates Charlie, he tells his story: of how one wrong turn leads to a world in which the normal rules no longer apply, and you do what you must to survive.

From one of the most acclaimed new voices in crime fiction, What You Pay For is a brilliantly tense and moving novel about the terrible disruption caused by violence and the lines people will cross to protect those they love..

What will I read next?

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

Dishonoured: An addictive psychological thriller by [Jem  Tugwell]

WE’RE ALL ONE MISTAKE FROM RUIN…
Dan has worked hard for the perfect life. He has a loving wife, beautiful kids, a fabulous home and is a successful businessman.

One afternoon Dan steps onto his usual train and sees the waitress who served him an hour earlier. It all seemed so normal, but it was the most dreadful mistake. Four stops later, Dan is a criminal who has lost everything. He’d only just met her, so why did she destroy him—and why did she say ‘Sorry’?

Dan battles through a web of lies and deceit to clear his name and win his life back, but first, he needs to find out who plotted his downfall.

Dark Angel by Russell Panter #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Russell Panter, Dark Angel.

**In my review I have mentioned there were issues with proofreading. Russell has since confirmed with me that a version I read, which I bought from Amazon, was an early one and the wrong edition had been sold by Amazon. A more up to date version of the book has since been uploaded with the errors corrected.**

BLURB

Tom has the perfect life. Great marriage, successful job and a beautiful home. That is until things start happening that he can’t explain. Strange coincidences that start to make him question his sanity. Suddenly plunged into a situation out of his control and realising he is in danger, he spirals into a dark, brutal world of life and death. He finds he can trust no one and nowhere is safe. Alone, confused and desperately searching for answers; all whilst trying to escape unknown assailants.When suddenly contacted out of the blue by someone claiming he can help, Tom learns that his life has not been all that it seems, and a secret organisation is now hunting him. And with the help of his new ally and using his instinct and tenacity, he fights for his life and ultimately comes to terms with who, and what, he really is. Dark Angel is a dark, gritty, suspense story of loss, redemption and survival, set across some of America’s most iconic cities.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark Angel by Russell Panter is the first self-published novel I’ve read in a while. It was a good start to what I think could potentially be a new series, which I am definitely keen to follow. I thought the plot and the characters were engaging, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen to the lead character, Tom. Some things did, however, hold the book back, but I’m glad that I continued reading as I did enjoy the story.  

Tom has a successful career, and he is the company’s star employee. He also has a happy marriage. Things have been on the up for Tom for a while. But the good times are about to come to an abrupt end. What happens next will make Tom question everything about his life. When strange things start happening around him, the sudden deaths of people he knows, as well as the sudden breakdown of his marriage, he has no idea just how much things are about to change.

I was intrigued by the set-up. In a maternity ward, back in 1983, a father is anxiously awaiting the birth of his son, but a stranger is lurking in the background. But what is his purpose? Why is this man interested? As we fast forward to the present day, I wanted to know how this scene was going to be connected to Tom.

After the prologue, the story is a little slow to get going, but once the main action starts to take place, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Things begin to get really crazy for Tom, which leaves him utterly bewildered and unsure of what to believe or who he can trust anymore. I thought the ideas Russell Panter had were very original and it made the book a very entertaining read.

What did, unfortunately, let the book down was the proofreading, as I did spot a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes. If you can see past this, then it does make for an enjoyable read. Russell Panter is a talented writer, and I am certainly interested in seeing what he comes up with next. After finishing this book, I do believe there is the potential for a sequel. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the characters next.

Publisher: Independently Published

Publication date: 21st May 2020

Print length: 398 pages

Dark Angel is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Top Ten Reads of 2020

Well, here we are, at that time of the year again. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one hell of a mad year. It seems to have flown by and dragged at the same time, but I can’t wait to see the back end of it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that book events can start to happen again at some point in the New Year. But the one thing the pandemic hasn’t stopped, is some brilliant books from being published. Once again it’s been really hard to narrow the books I’ve read this year down to a top ten, but these are the books which stood out for me.

I have managed to read 153 books so far this year. I’m still hoping I’ll make my goal of 160 books by the end of the year, just a few more days to go.

So without any further ado, here are my top ten reads for 2020.

10.

Firewatching by Russ Thomas, is one of the most engaging debut crime novels I’ve read. I read this way back in January and I knew then that this would be featuring in my top ten reads of the year, that’s how good I thought it was. You can read my review of Firewatching by clicking here.

9.

Death Deserved is a brilliant start to a new series featuring, Detective Alexandra Blix. I flew through it and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series, Smoke Screen, which is published early in 2021. If you’d like to read my review of Death Deserved, you can do so by clicking here.

8.

When I read Blood Red City, it put me in mind of the BBC series The Capture, which I watched on BBC One back in 2019. This is a really fast paced, gritty thriller. I couldn’t put it down. If you’d like to read my review of Blood Red City, you can do so by clicking here.

7.

It was a long wait for me to finally read Amer Anwar’s second book in his Zaq and Jags series, Stone Cold Trouble. I raced through this book in just a couple of sittings. It’s very different to what I usually read in the crime fiction market. It’s action packed and highly entertaining. If you’d like to read my review of Stone Cold Trouble, you can do so by clicking here.

6.

Body Language: 'Spellbinding storytelling' Val McDermid by [A. K. Turner]

This was quite a late read in the year for me. Body Language is the first book in a new series by A. K. Turner. It felt very original when I was reading it and her main character, Cassie Raven felt like a breath of fresh air. If you’d like to read my review of Body Language, you can do so by clicking here.

5.

All in Her Head: 'Tense and moving' (Harriet Tyce) - the new must-read thriller of 2020 by [Nikki Smith]

All in her Head by Nikki Smith is a masterclass in plotting and suspense. This is a brilliant debut from a talented new writer and I can’t wait to read what she writes next. If you’d like to read my review of All in her Head, you can do so by clicking here.

4.

Mine is actually the first book by Clare Empson which I’ve read, although I’ve still got her first novel, Him, on my TBR pile to read. Again this is a novel which felt very different to what I usually read, which is why I enjoyed it so much. I actually read this right at the start of the year as well. If you’d like to read my review of Mine you can do so by clicking here.

3.

Curse the Day: The Conspiracy Thriller that Reads Like a Bond Movie (A Michael North Thriller) by [Judith O'Reilly]

Curse the Day is the second book in Judith O’Reilly’s Michael North series. This is a high-octane read and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings. If you’d like to read my review of Curse the Day, you can do so by clicking here.

2.

I Am Dust by [Louise Beech]

I Am Dust, is only the second book by Louise Beech which I’ve read and she has since become one of my favourite writers. If you’d like to read my review of I Am Dust, you can do so by clicking here.

1.

We Begin at the End: 'A beautifully written mystery, packed with unforgettable characters' Jane Harper by [Chris Whitaker]

I knew from the moment I read We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker that it would be my book of the year. This is one of the best crime novels I’ve read and Chris Whitaker is a hugely talented writer. If you’d like to read my review can do so by clicking here.

That’s it for 2020. I have seen some books already being published early in the new year which I am hugely excited about, I’ve already got my pre-orders in.

I hope you have a great year in 2021 and I hope it’s a much better one for all of us.

The Appeal by Janice Hallett #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Janice Hallett, The Appeal, on my blog today. With thanks to Viper Books for sending me a copy to review.

The Appeal: The thriller you'll become obsessed with by [Janice Hallett]

BLURB

In a town full of secrets…
Someone was murdered.
Someone went to prison.
And everyone’s a suspect.
Can you uncover the truth?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

MY THOUGHTS

The Appeal by Janice Hallett is one of the most original crime novels I’ve read in a long while. It’s told in a unique way, and it invites the reader to see if they can solve a mystery. If you’re looking for something that is different in the crime fiction genre, you definitely need to read this. Someone was murdered. Someone was erroneously imprisoned. Who is the guilty party?

When I did start reading, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how I would get on with the style in which the book was written. But after the first couple of pages had passed, I was utterly gripped, and I thought the story was told in a really clever and creative way.

A Drama group, run by a man named Martin Hayward, is setting up to stage a production of All My Sons. But this is soon thrown into chaos when he receives the devastating news that his granddaughter, Poppy, has a rare form of cancer. The Haywards, with the help of the members of the drama group, launch an appeal to raise money for treatment, which Poppy’s family believe is the best hope for her survival. The treatment is currently going through trials in America and is not available in the UK and won’t be for years, perhaps ever. But raising the much needed funds, the family need isn’t going to be easy. As the group starts exchanging their thoughts over email and text, the true colours of some group members are revealed.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot, as it is best to go into this book with very little information, but there are some devious and compelling characters. The dialogue between the members of the group was very believable. Even though we don’t get any descriptions of the characters, I managed to picture them in my mind as I was reading. Their voices were also very distinct. As I said, this book invites you to solve the mystery. I didn’t guess who would be murdered and who the culprit was, but I had some idea as to where the plot was heading. This is one of those novels which you’ll want to discuss once you have read it. It’ll make the perfect book club read.  

I also think that when you have finished reading this book, you’ll want to go back to the beginning again and see where Janice Hallett planted all her clues. I had suspicions about quite a few characters. This is one of those novels which will really get you thinking.

The Appeal grips you very early on and you’ll be desperate to find out who the person is who gets murdered and who the culprit is. The clues are all there. You definitely need to add this to your TBR pile; there’s going to be a lot of people talking about this book in the coming months. I loved it.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 14th January 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Appeal is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson #bookreview #blogtour @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Winterkill (Dark Iceland Book 6) by [Ragnar Jónasson, David Warriner]

BLURB

A blizzard is approaching Siglufjörður, and that can only mean one thing…

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill is a startling addition to the multi-million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting and acclaimed authors in crime fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

Ragnar Jonasson’s books are always the perfect read for this time of year, and it is something I have come to look forward to as the winter approaches. Atmospheric, addictive, and very easy to sink into. Winterkill is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a book to read over the festive period. I have heard this is the last in this series and I am sad to see it draw to a close. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous novels as it can be read as a standalone. You’ll definitely want to read the first five books once you read this one.

Detective Inspector Ari Thór Arason is called to a horrific scene where a teenage girl has plunged to her death from a high-rise building. On the basis, it looks as though the girl has committed suicide, but Ari Thór believes there is something else at play here. What was going on in her life to prompt her to throw herself from the top of a building? Was it really just an accident? As Ari Thór continues to investigate, he begins to sense that something prompted the young girl to take this course of action. But what was so terrible that made her decide that this was her only way out?

The novel is told over the course of the Easter weekend. Siglufjörður is facing a horrific snowstorm, causing blackouts and severe disruption. It isn’t the best weather to be conducting a murder investigation, but Ari Thór pushes on. The threatening blizzard creates a dark and foreboding atmosphere; it gives you the sense that it could cause many things to go wrong with the investigation. But this isn’t something that the residents of Siglufjörður aren’t used to. Apart from those who haven’t spent all their lives there. The weather can catch them off guard. Ari Thór is still fairly new to the area as well, having come from the capital, Reykjavík. The locals have come to slowly accept him after proving that he can stick around after surviving the harsh winters. This is something always seen as a test to newcomers who are not used to the climate.

Ragnar Jonasson builds on the atmosphere as the novel progresses. I love the way how the writing takes us into the Icelandic landscape. Once again it has been expertly translated by David Warriner. The writing flows beautifully, and it hooked me right away from the opening chapters. You get a clear sense of the dominating fjord. It made me want to google images of the town, and the scenery is stunning.

The crime which takes place in this book isn’t an overly complicated one. You get the sense that Ari Thór is on the cusp of discovering something big and even the revelations that come are a shock to him. Ragnar wraps everything up really well and delivers the perfect ending which sent shivers down my spine as I was reading it.

As I have come to expect from Ragnar Jonasson’s books, Winterkill is utterly chilling and unputdownable. It took me no time at all to finish this book. This is a series which I highly recommend. Once you read one book by Ragnar Jonasson, you’ll want to read everything he’s ever written. Top stuff!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 10th December 2020

Print length: 240 pages

Winterkill is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Winterkill BT 4

WWW Wednesday – 16/12/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

What You Pay For: Shortlisted for McIlvanney and CWA Awards (DI Birch) by [Claire Askew]

DI Helen Birch faces a terrible choice – family or justice? – in the gripping second novel from the author of All the Hidden Truths

DI Birch joined the police to find her little brother, who walked out of his life one day and was never seen again. She stayed to help others, determined to seek justice where she could.

On the fourteenth anniversary of Charlie’s disappearance, Birch takes part in a raid on one of Scotland’s most feared criminal organisations. It’s a good day’s work – a chance to get a dangerous man off the streets.

Two days later, Charlie comes back. It’s not a coincidence. When Birch finds out exactly what he’s been doing all those years, she faces a terrible choice: save the case, or save her brother. But how can you do the right thing when all the consequences are bad?

As she interrogates Charlie, he tells his story: of how one wrong turn leads to a world in which the normal rules no longer apply, and you do what you must to survive.

From one of the most acclaimed new voices in crime fiction, What You Pay For is a brilliantly tense and moving novel about the terrible disruption caused by violence and the lines people will cross to protect those they love..

Tom has the perfect life. Great marriage, successful job and a beautiful home. That is until things start happening that he can’t explain. Strange coincidences that start to make him question his sanity. Suddenly plunged into a situation out of his control and realising he is in danger, he spirals into a dark, brutal world of life and death. He finds he can trust no one and nowhere is safe. Alone, confused and desperately searching for answers; all whilst trying to escape unknown assailants.When suddenly contacted out of the blue by someone claiming he can help, Tom learns that his life has not been all that it seems, and a secret organisation is now hunting him. And with the help of his new ally and using his instinct and tenacity, he fights for his life and ultimately comes to terms with who, and what, he really is. Dark Angel is a dark, gritty, suspense story of loss, redemption and survival, set across some of America’s most iconic cities.

What have I finished reading?

Winterkill (Dark Iceland Book 6) by [Ragnar Jónasson, David Warriner]

A blizzard is approaching Siglufjörður, and that can only mean one thing…

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill is a startling addition to the multi-million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting and acclaimed authors in crime fiction.

The Appeal: the thriller you'll become obsessed with by [Janice Hallett]

In a town full of secrets…
Someone was murdered.
Someone went to prison.
And everyone’s a suspect.
Can you uncover the truth?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

What will I read next?

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the second book in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan, The Killer in Me.

BLURB

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan does not wish to linger on the grisly scene before her eyes. Two mutilated corpses. In a church. In Clontarf. Her profiling background screams one fact: this is just the beginning of a sickening message.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old case is playing out on a TV documentary, the convicted professing his innocence and historical police errors being exposed daily in the media. Frankie’s superior, commissioner Donna Hegarty, makes no bones about who she expects to clean things up – both in terms of past mishandlings and the present murders.

But not everyone working the cases wants the truth to come out. And the corridors of power have their own vested interest. Soon Frankie pinpoints just what is making her so nervous: the fact that anyone could be the next victim when justice is the killer.

The Killer In Me is a fast-paced thriller in which lies are safer than the truth, the past is never far from the present, and the ability to kill could well, it seems, live in everyone.

MY THOUGHTS

The Killer in Me is the second book in Olivia Kiernan’s DCS Frankie Sheehan series. In the opening pages, Frankie is asked to look again at a seventeen-year-old case by her sister-in-law, Tanya West. Sean Hennessy was convicted of the murder of his parents and the attempted murder of his younger sister. Now, with the help of a new documentary and a charity, Justice Meets Justice, he is trying to appeal his earlier conviction. But Frankie is still convinced of his guilt. However, this still doesn’t stop her from taking an interest in the case and looking at it again. Now, with Sean’s return to his hometown, a series of new murders take place. But is Sean responsible as the media and the police come to believe? What would make him commit these murders when he is trying to protest his innocence for the murder of his parents?

Olivia Kiernan’s engaging writing draws you into the story from the very first page. I really liked DCS Frankie Sheehan in the first book, Too Close To Breathe, and she’s fast becoming a favourite character of mine in crime fiction. She is also one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across recently. There are many different strands to these investigations that Frankie has to navigate her way through to get to the truth.

In the opening pages, a fresh investigation launches when the bodies of a man and woman, husband and wife, are found outside a church. The priest is one of the first to shoot to the top of the list of suspects. But it isn’t long before a link is drawn to Sean Hennessy. The crime scene has been designed to send the police a message. But what message?

I was really intrigued by both the fresh murders which have taken place and Sean Hennessy’s appeal to overturn his conviction. Like Frankie, I couldn’t really see how his new case could be presented, especially after the damming evidence against him the first time around. I could see there would have to be something pretty spectacular that would need to come to light, to be within a chance of having his guilty verdict overturned.

The plot really makes you think about the characters, especially those who are involved in the crime. I found that I was studying those who came under suspicion even more as I was reading. The police procedural aspect of the plot feels really authentic. I particularly liked the small-town setting on the coast of Ireland as well. Olivia Kiernan brings to landscape life, and she makes you feel as though you are there. It’s what makes this book really atmospheric.

Olivia Kiernan has created another brilliant, addictive read. I’m really excited to catch up on the third book. This is turning into a top crime series, and I would highly recommend it to crime fiction lovers.

Publisher: riverrun

Publication date: 4th April 2019

Print length: 352 pages

The Killer in Me is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones