Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst #bookreview #blogtour @EngerThomas @LierHorst @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Smoke Screen (Blix & Ramm) by [Thomas Enger, Jørn Lier Horst, Megan Turney]

BLURB

Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion, and the city is put on terrorist alert.

Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Smeplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of the first book in Thomas Enger’s and Jorn Lier Horst’s new series; Death Deserved when I read it last year. I was eager to read what they would come up with next and I wasn’t disappointed. Smoke Screen is a brilliant addition to this series. Enger and Horst hit the ground running with an intense opening chapter, and the pace doesn’t drop throughout the rest of the book.

The plot is cleverly constructed and is weaved together really well. In the opening chapter, on New Year’s Eve, a bomb is detonated in Oslo, prompting the police and emergency services to suspect a terror attack. One of the victims of the bombing, who is seriously injured, is the mother of a missing girl who vanished a decade earlier. The case was never solved, and two-year-old Patricia was never found. With the current events unfolded, interest in the case is sparked again, and Detective Alexander Blix hopes to solve the case once and for all.

If you love action-packed books, then this is a series you really need to be reading. What I really like about these books is the relationship between Alexander Blix and journalist Emma Ramn. In an unofficial capacity, they make a good team, and they both have mutual respect for each other. There is a lot of mystery in this book. I wanted to find out what had happened to Patricia ten years earlier, and the police are also kept on their toes as the terror threat level is raised. Who was responsible for the attack on New Year’s Eve?

As Detective Blix does, Emma throws herself into the investigation of Patricia’s disappearance. There is a twisty web of deceit the investigation team needs to unpick, and Emma gets too close to the truth, which puts her in danger. This is what keeps the tension in the book going as the investigation to uncover the truth proceeds. I got the sense that the police were so close to discovering what had happened, but I thought it could also be snatched away from them. The last chapters are so tense as the police and Emma get closer to understanding the truth about what had happened. I couldn’t stop reading until I had turned the final page.

I’m always fascinated when authors collaborate on one project. The writing here was seamless, and it felt as though it had just been written by one author. I’d love to know more about how they go about the writing process.

This is another thrilling read in this series which I couldn’t put down. I know I’ll be reading the next book as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. If you’re not yet reading this series, you’re really missing out. This is a top crime series which I can’t wait to read more from. I think it would also translate really well to screen and it is crying out to be made into a TV series. Smoke Screen gets an easy five stars from me.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 18th December 2020 (kindle) 18th February 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Smoke Screen is available to buy:

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Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood.

BLURB

New York, 1945. Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in the city, but her health is failing. She hires an assistant to help with the investigative legwork. Willowjean Parker is a circus runaway. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set. She can pick locks blindfolded, wrestle men twice her size, and throw knives with deadly precision – all of which come in handy working for Ms P.

When wealthy young widow Abigail Collins is murdered and the police are making no progress, Pentecost and Parker are hired by the family to track down the culprit. On Halloween night, there was a costume party at the Collins’ mansion, where a fortune teller performed a séance which greatly disturbed Abigail. Several hours later her body was discovered bludgeoned to death in her late husband’s office. Problem is, the door to the office was locked from the inside. There was no-one else in the room, and the murder weapon was beside the victim; the fortune teller’s crystal ball.

It looks like an impossible crime, but Pentecost and Parker know there is no such thing…

MY THOUGHTS

Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood is a classic murder mystery perfect for Sherlock Holmes fans. Told from the point of view of Willowjean Parker, there are echoes of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character, Watson, Holmes’s sidekick.

Will comes from a very unusual background, having once been in the circus. The detective, Lillian Pentecost, takes Will under her wing after she saved her life. Lillian is famous across the country. They soon become involved in a high profile case after a well-known, wealthy family employs her. They are employed to solve the murder of Abigail Collins. Abigail was killed during a Halloween Party at her family home, having been bludgeoned to death following a Séance. The police have so far failed to find any trace of the killer. The family put their trust in Lillian and Will.

I loved the spooky atmosphere of this piece. With the Séance, there is a hint of the supernatural, which is what I really liked about this book. It added to the mystery element really well. I really liked how Stephen Spotswood explored this aspect of the plot as the novel progressed.

The novel takes place in 1946 in New York, just towards the end of the Second World War. The setting and the historical element, for me, made it feel very fresh. I really liked how Stephen Spotswood brought mid-twentieth-century New York to life.

This was such an absorbing read. Both Lillian and Will’s characters are brought to life really well by Stephen Spotswood. I liked the relationship they had together, and you can see how much they trust one another. Will also really cares for Lillian, particularly as she has multiple sclerosis. Will is always keen to make sure that she doesn’t do too much. I was gripped by the mystery in the book. I wanted to find out what was really going on the night of Abigail Collins’s death. I also wanted to know if Lillian and Will would be able to solve it. The story moves along quickly and I the Stephen Spotswood kept the pace flying forward.

Fortune Favours the Dead is an entertaining mystery novel which will keep you invested in the characters. I’m really hoping that they’re going to return in future books. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 12th November 2020

Print length: 336 pages

Fortune Favours the Dead is available to buy:

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WWW Wednesday – 10/02/2021

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?

To the outside world Hannah married the perfect man. Behind the closed doors of their imposing home it’s a very different story. Nathan controls everything Hannah does. He chooses her clothes, checks her receipts, and keeps her passport locked away. But why does she let him?

Years before, in the midst of a relentless storm, the tragic events of one night changed everything. And Hannah has been living with the consequences ever since. Keeping Nathan happy. Doing as she’s told.

But the past is about to catch up with them.
 
Set against the unforgiving backdrop of a Cornish fishing port in the ‘90s, this is a devastating exploration of the power of coercive control in a marriage where nothing is quite as it seems…

She’s not who you think she is …

Delia O’Flaherty is as wild, remote and dangerous as her island home off the west coast of Ireland. Her adoring father tells her that one day she will be the Queen of Inishcrann.

However, tragedy leaves Delia alone in the world, to make her way relying on her wits and her rare beauty. But Delia’s beauty is deceptive – as anyone who cares about her eventually finds out.

What is the truth behind Delia’s tragic past? And what happens when a face from that past turns up on her doorstep?

What have I finished reading?

New York, 1945. Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in the city, but her health is failing. She hires an assistant to help with the investigative legwork. Willowjean Parker is a circus runaway. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set. She can pick locks blindfolded, wrestle men twice her size, and throw knives with deadly precision – all of which come in handy working for Ms P.

When wealthy young widow Abigail Collins is murdered and the police are making no progress, Pentecost and Parker are hired by the family to track down the culprit. On Halloween night, there was a costume party at the Collins’ mansion, where a fortune teller performed a séance which greatly disturbed Abigail. Several hours later her body was discovered bludgeoned to death in her late husband’s office. Problem is, the door to the office was locked from the inside. There was no-one else in the room, and the murder weapon was beside the victim; the fortune teller’s crystal ball.

It looks like an impossible crime, but Pentecost and Parker know there is no such thing…

Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him.TRAUMA RUNS DEEPWhen her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity… and her life.TRUTH WILL OUTWith her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.FORGIVE HIS SINSBut someone must pay for the sins of the father…
A chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.

What will I read next?

It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

Bound (Sam Shephard Book 4) by [Vanda Symon]

The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.

The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation. And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect… 

Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden #bookreview @sbairden @RedDogTweets

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Sharon Bairden, Sins of the Father.

BLURB

Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him.TRAUMA RUNS DEEPWhen her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity… and her life.TRUTH WILL OUTWith her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.FORGIVE HIS SINSBut someone must pay for the sins of the father…
A chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.

MY THOUGHTS

Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden is a very dark book. It was a read I was really looking forward to, and it did not disappoint.

The novel covers some tough themes, but it is very gripping, and Sharon’s writing is really immersive. I wanted to read on and find out more about the characters in the book. Sins of the Father is Rebecca’s story, a young woman who has suffered horrific abuse since childhood. Sharon Bairden explores how the abuse she suffered in her early years has impacted her as she grows into a young adult.

I thought it was interesting how my perspective of Rebecca changed as the novel progressed. During the scenes covering her childhood years, I really felt sorry for her. In her adult years, she is fixated on revenge. I can’t say that I blame her for choosing this path. I can imagine anyone in Rebecca’s position would want to let the people who hurt them, know how it made them feel. Her anger comes across very strongly in the book. I felt I warmed more to Rebecca when she was a child. I really wanted her to escape. I felt so angry for her that her mother couldn’t seem to see the danger she was putting her child in. It also makes you think about the people who are going through situations like this in real life, which is all the more disturbing.

Another thing which drives Rebecca is the voices she hears in her head. Sharon Bairden made these voices feel like they were people. It really was chilling seeing how they could easily control Rebecca, and it did make me fearful for her. It made me wonder if they were going to persuade her to do something terrible. You can see just how much they have an impact on her. It makes it quite upsetting to read about at times. These are some very powerful scenes. It shines a light on the topic of mental health, which has been covered a lot recently in the media. It’s a subject that needs to be spoken about more.

There some hard-hitting and shocking twists as Sharon Bairden wraps everything up in an explosive finale. My eyes were glued to my kindle as I was reading. I didn’t want to turn away until I had turned the final page.

Sharon Bairden’s first novel is a powerful, highly engaging debut; she is such a talented writer. I’m really excited to see what she comes up with next. Sins of the Father is the perfect title for this book. It comes highly recommended from me if you like dark crime fiction.

Publisher: Red Dog Press

Publication date: 27th November 2020

Print length: 308 pages

Sins of the Father is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Deity by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview #blogtour @ConcreteKraken @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the latest book in the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski, Deity, on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

MY THOUGHTS

Matt Wesolowski is back with the latest episode in his Six Stories series featuring Scott King. The latest book in the series is Deity which is another utterly compelling read. I always look forward to reading Matt’s book, and this one didn’t disappoint. Once I had started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down, and the unique way Matt tells his stories, kept me turning the pages. I was eager to see what each new episode would reveal and what secrets were waiting to be uncovered.

There isn’t another writer out there who writes quite like Matt Wesolowski. If you are new to this series, the novels are told in the form of a podcast. The presenter is Scott King, who has recently made a name for himself after cracking several infamous cases. Over six weeks, Scott King examines a new case and presents new details and interviews with new witnesses in each episode.

This time around, Scott is examining pop star Zach Crystal’s case whose charred remains were discovered at his burnt-out mansion in Scotland. Zach was adored by millions around the world, but particularly by younger people. So what happened the night Zach Crystal was killed? Was it a tragic accident, or was someone else to blame? Scott King intends to find out.

Zach Crystal was such an intriguing character. Throughout the book, we read extracts from his last exclusive interview, which he did as he was relaunching his career. By that time Zach was in his mid-forties, but Zach was still an idol to many young people growing up now. On the outside, he seems like a very humble and caring person. But there is a darker side to this that Scott King explores over his podcast series.

There is a very dark, foreboding feeling to this book. I wanted to get to the bottom of who Zach Crystal really was. He seemed to have an element of control over his fans, which is what I thought as I was reading the book, which gives it a very chilling atmosphere. Everyone who comes into contact with him is in awe, and Zach knows how to use this to his advantage. He displays a very confident image, but, I also felt that there was a sense of vulnerability about him as well. This made me even more interested in him.

With recent stories that have made headlines over the past few years, you can see where Matt Wesolowski drew his inspiration from this novel. It does get very dark in places and unnerving as well as Scott King gets closer to the truth. The tension really ramps up in the final pages as we begin to understand just what was going on in Zach Crystal’s life.

Matt Wesolowski has produced another absolutely gripping book in this series. It’s dark, chilling and so absorbing. I can’t wait to see what case Scott King investigates next. Long may this series continue!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 18th December 2020 (kindle) 18th February 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 253 pages

Deity is available to buy:

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Shiver by Allie Reynolds #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Allie Reynolds, Shiver, on my blog today.

BLURB

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

MY THOUGHTS

I absolutely loved Shiver by Allie Reynolds. It is utterly unique. You can see that Allie Reynolds draws on her own experience from when she competed in the British Snowboarding Championships. What I really liked about it was the characters. They felt so real, and they kept me turning the pages. I felt the chill of the mountain air as I was reading and Allie Reynolds brought the setting to life really well. She also highlights just how dangerous the picturesque setting can be.

The opening prologue is so chilling, and it immediately sparked questions inside my mind. What had happened in this character’s past? The opening line – “it’s that time of year again. The time the glacier gives up the bodies,” had me hooked. Who was killed? Who is the character referring to? I knew I had to continue reading to find out.

The characters we meet in this book are Saskia, Curtis, Milla, Dale, Heather and Brent. They haven’t seen each other for ten years, not since they last all competed in the British championships together. It is also ten years since Saskia disappeared. There is tension from the moment they arrive at the lodge. Neither of them has a clear idea who invited them. They also don’t know what the purpose of this reunion is for. Strange things start to happen, and the group begin to tear each other apart. At the heart of all this is the question: what happened to Saskia?

The scenes I think I found the most engaging were the flashback scenes to ten years previously. I loved how Allie Reynolds brought her characters to life as some of them meet each other for the first time. They are at the top of their game at this point in time, seemingly without a care in the world. Everything is going perfect. But there is also tension as they compete against each other. It’s in these scenes that you see the true colours of the characters emerge.

Right the way through I didn’t have a clue as to who was behind the decision to bring them back in the present day. It made for such gripping reading. I wanted to find out if any of them had anything to do with Saskia’s disappearance.

Shiver is a really exciting, gripping page-tuner. Allie Reynolds will keep you guessing right the way through; I loved it. I’m certain that it’s going to feature in my top ten books of 2021. Thriller lovers, you need to add this novel to your TBR pile.

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 21st January 2021

Print length: 432 pages

Shiver is available to buy:

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Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies #bookreview #blogtour @M_Davieswrites @orion_crime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Michelle Davies, Shadow of a Doubt on my blog today. With thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou from Orion Books for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

Twenty-five years ago my brother was murdered in my family home.

I was sent to a psychiatric unit for killing him.

The truth is, I didn’t do it.

The whole world believed nine-year-old Cara killed her younger brother on that fateful night. But she blamed it on a paranormal entity she swears was haunting her house.

No one believed her and after two years of treatment in a psychiatric unit for delusional disorder, Cara was shunned by her remaining family and put into foster care.

Now she’s being forced to return to the family home for the first time since her brother’s death, but what if she’s about to re-discover the evil that was lurking inside its walls?

MY THOUGHTS

Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies is a creepy psychological thriller opening with a chilling prologue. It gripped me right from the first page. I have previously read Michelle Davies’s DC Maggie Neville series, which I have really enjoyed, so I was intrigued to find out that she was bringing out a standalone. I’m pleased to say that my high expectations for Shadow of a Doubt were met and I loved it.

We meet Cara, who has had a dark cloud hanging over her since she was very small. Now in her thirties, Cara is perturbed when she receives a text from a family member, letting her know that her biological mother has died. Cara hasn’t seen her family since she was a small after they abandoned her. Her family, the police, and the country held her responsible her young brother’s death after he became trapped behind the curtains in their living room and suffocated. But Cara has always remained adamant that she had nothing to do with her brother’s death and it was a ghost, who she nicknamed, Limey Stan, who haunted their house. Even in her adult years, she still believes it. With her return to her hometown, is the truth about Limey Stan about to be revealed?

I really felt sorry for Cara. She has suffered from unimaginable trauma in her life, following the death of her brother. I was fascinated by the story of the ghost, which she still wholeheartedly believes. It made me want to know what really happened that night back in 1994 when her brother died. Was Cara really responsible for his death? Did her imagination create the story of Limey Stan in an attempt to block out the terrible truth?

I could never really be sure what was really going on here. Cara manages to convince a small minority of people that the ghost was responsible, but the majority still can’t believe she is still going on about this. She is determined to get to the bottom of things when she comes back to her hometown, and I was rooting for her to get to the truth. I also wanted to know why her mother had left her house to her in her will. This seemed an extraordinarily generous thing to do for someone who completely cut their daughter out of their life. Was her mother doing this to make Cara come to terms with the truth? I had so many questions which I wanted to know the answers to.

Michelle Davies creates a really creepy atmosphere. I love a good ghost story, and Shadow of a Doubt certainly fits the bill. Michelle Davies ratchets up the tension as the book races towards its conclusion and Michelle Davies expertly plants red herrings, turning your attention away from the real culprit. This is an excellent psychological thriller.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 12th November 2020

Print length: 368 pages

Shadow of a Doubt is available to buy:

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Black Widows by Cate Quinn #bookreview #blogtour @CathWritesStuff @RandomTTours @orion_crime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Black Widows by Cate Quinn on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Black Widows: Blake’s dead. His wife killed him. The question is . . . which one? by [Cate Quinn]

BLURB

The only thing the three women had in common was their husband.
And, as of this morning, that they’re each accused of his murder.

Blake Nelson moved into a hidden stretch of land – a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah – where he lived with his three wives:

Rachel, the chief wife, obedient and doting to a fault.
Tina, the other wife, who is everything Rachel isn’t.
And Emily, the youngest wife, who knows little else.

When their husband is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up.
But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like Blake.

Or, at least, that’s what they’ll tell the police…

MY THOUGHTS

Black Widows is a highly addictive read by Cate Quinn. I also thought it felt very fresh. I was drawn into the lives of the characters right from the start. The premise for this book sounded really chilling, and it made me want to read it right away.

We meet three women, Tina, Rachel and Emily. The three women are married to the same person, Blake Nelson. They all live together out in the desert and are all part of the Mormon Church. But Blake is found dead one morning, and each of the three women are immediately suspects in the eyes of the police. The question is, which one of them is the killer?

I was really intrigued by Tina, Rachel and Emily. I wanted to know if there were ever any tensions between them, particularly as they are married to the same person. For many, this would seem like a nightmare, but it is perfectly acceptable in the Mormon Church, encouraged, even. It’s part of what made this storyline feel fresh and exciting. They all come from different backgrounds, and it made me wonder how they coped soon after joining this new way of life.

The storyline grew darker as the novel progressed. I did feel for Tina, Rachel and Emily. They are now in totally unchartered territory. Their whole world revolved around Blake, and they don’t quite know what to do next. For Tina and Rachel, their next steps are to determine what happened to their husband and who killed him. As they begin to get closer to the truth, they uncover dark secrets which make them question everything they thought they knew about their husband. There are some disturbing reveals as Cate Quinn wraps the book the up.

I flew through this book, and I wanted to know why their husband had been killed. I also wanted to know if it was possible if either, Tina, Rachel, or Emily was responsible. What reason would they have to kill him? I thought that Cate Quinn delivered a very satisfactory ending and it took a direction which I did not see coming.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s intriguing, and it felt very different from what I have read recently in the psychological thriller genre. If you’re looking for something fast paced and instantly gripping, then you should definitely give Black Widows a go. It comes highly recommended from me.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 480 pages

Black Widows is available to buy:

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The Last Snow by Stina Jackson #bookreview #blogtour @RandomTTours @CorvusBooks

On my blog today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Last Snow by Stina Jackson. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

What secrets are hidden within the walls of a desolate farmhouse in a forgotten corner of Lapland?

Early spring has its icy grip on Ödesmark, a small village in northernmost Sweden, abandoned by many of its inhabitants. But Liv Björnlund never left. She lives in a derelict house together with her teenage son, Simon, and her ageing father, Vidar. They make for a peculiar family, and Liv knows that they are cause for gossip among their few remaining neighbours.

Just why has Liv stayed by her domineering father’s side all these years? And is it true that Vidar is sitting on a small fortune? His questionable business decisions have made him many enemies over the years, and in Ödesmark everyone knows everyone, and no one ever forgets.

Now someone wants back what is rightfully theirs. And they will stop at nothing to get it, no matter who stands in their way…

MY THOUGHTS

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson is a haunting, and a very written crime novel. It is about family, and what we are prepared to do to protect those who we love. It is also set in a very remote part of the world, a desolate, forgotten corner of Lapland, which provides a stunning landscape. The setting also makes this a very atmospheric read.

I would describe this book as more of a slow-burner, although the writing is very immersive. The characters kept me engaged as the book progressed, and they have a lot of depth. I found the flashback scenes, which go back to 1998 and the early 200s very chilling. I wanted to know what connection they had to the main events which were taking place in the present.

Two brothers, Liam and Gabriel, are asked to break into a house and rob another character called Vidar. Vidar and his family have been the subject of a lot of gossip among the locals. This has been going on for years. There’s talk about how rich Vidar is, and how he is extremely tight. There is one person who is keen to get his hands on something Vidar owes him. I wanted to know why this person wanted to target Vidar. Why couldn’t they go and speak to him themselves? Why did they have to employ two young men, to do their dirty work?

The characters on the page come to life, especially Liv and the two brothers Liam and Gabriel. Their ambitions and their hopes for the future come through very well in the writing. The character who I really cared about was Liv. You get the feeling that she is trapped in the house where she lives with her father. She wants to escape and make a better life for herself elsewhere, but something is holding her back. I wanted to know what possible reason she could have for wanting to stay with her father when he makes her feel miserable.

The story did take me some time to get into it, but I found the writing utterly addictive once I did. I would say that The Last Snow is definitely a character driven novel. Stina Jackson delves into their thoughts and feelings, making them feel very real.

This is the first novel I have read by Stina Jackson, and I am keen to read more of her work. If you’re a fan of the Nordic Noir genre, you definitely should check this book out.

Publisher: Corvus

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 384 pages

The Last Snow is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

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An Eye For An Eye by Carol Wyer #bookreview #blogtour @carolewyer @AmazonPub @DamppebblesBTS

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the first book in the DI Kate Young series by Carol Wyer, An Eye For An Eye, on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Emma Welton from Damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part.

An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young Book 1) by [Carol Wyer]

BLURB

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

MY THOUGHTS

Wow, what a brilliant start to a new series. Having been a fan of Carol Wyer’s previous crime novels, I was really looking forward to seeing what she would come up with in, An Eye For An Eye. This is the first novel to feature DI Kate Young, and I can’t wait to see what Carol has install for Kate and the series next.

When we first meet Kate, she is just returning to work having recently gone through a traumatic event. Thoughts about that day still plague her mind, but she is determined to get back to work. And she is thrown headfirst into a gruesome new case. The body of a man, a wealthy businessman, who has also been tortured, has been found by his secretary. The part I found the most gruesome about this case was that the victim’s eye had been removed. This shows that whoever is carrying out the murders is doing this for revenge. This also becomes quickly apparent to Kate and her team.

There were so many intriguing characters and potential suspects in this book. It’s certainly fair to say that the first man to end up dead could have attracted a lot of enemies. Soon Kate finds herself in a race against time as more people are killed. But what is the motive here? When Kate finds a connection between the men who have been targeted, she uncovers an unnerving, dark secret. I really wanted to get to the bottom of what was happening here, and I was invested in the plot.

I really felt for Kate as I was reading this book. I could feel her grief as she attempted to come to terms with what has happened in her recent history. She is trying to push on with things, but she is struggling, and there are some heartbreaking scenes, which I think will make readers really connect with Kate.

Carol Wyer tells a devastating story here. It makes you feel for all of those who are involved, especially the people who are left behind. There is a very powerful scene right towards the end of the book, which even makes Kate stop and think, and I thought it was very well done.

An Eye For An Eye is very well plotted, and the different avenues which Carol explored hid the real motives and the killer really well. Some of the twists which came towards the end of the book knocked me for six.

I was gripped right the way through, and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. DI Kate Young is a character who, I am sure, will become a firm favourite of mine in the crime fiction genre. If you’re a fan of Carol’s books, then you are in for a treat. I can’t wait to read more!  

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 1st February 2021

Print length: 426 pages

An Eye For An Eye is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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