The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl #bookreview #blogtour @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl 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.

BLURB

Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; there’s a civil war in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems, and when Jack is accused of murder, the trail leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret.

MY THOUGHTS

In Kjell Ola Dahl’s latest novel, The Assistant, he whisks us to Europe in 1938, when the continent is on the brink of war. There is tension simmering in the air with talks about what Hitler and his regime are doing. We are introduced to former a police detective, turned private investigator, Ludvig Paaske, who is now working with his one time, arch-nemesis, Jack Rivers. But what has drawn them to work together?

I thought the partnership of Jack Rivers and Ludvig Paaske was really intriguing. I wanted to find out more about it and what had prompted them to form this new alliance. Would this have any implications for Ludvig, particularly as he swore to put Jack behind bars during the prohibition era in Norway in the 1920s?

The case which they are investigating is an interesting one, very simple at first, when a woman asks them to spy on her husband, who she suspects is having an affair. But very soon, Ludvig begins to see that there is much more at play here than what first meets the eye.

Jack Rivers comes across as very likeable, even though he is a criminal. You can see that he is a passionate man when it comes to love and women, but you also get the sense that he is in control of the situation, especially when things get tense. I was really interested in the scenes set in the 1920s when Jack played on the wrong side of the law by smuggling alcohol. This was a part of history that, until I read this book, I didn’t know much about, particularly about the prohibition in Norway. It was fascinating to find out more about what was happening in the world at this time. After I finished reading the book, I wanted to find out more about this time period.

Kjell Ola Dahl builds on the atmosphere in this book, and there is a real sense of mystery. This is especially as Jack and Ludvig begin to understand more about the case and people they are investigating. I could feel the tensions simmering as the plot began to build, especially with the threat of war lingering in the background.

Ludvig’s character took longer to grow on me, and I think some readers may struggle to like him at first, but I would definitely like to read another novel where he and Jack feature again.

The Assistant is a compelling mystery novel; the writing pulls you into the story from the very first page. If you’re a fan of wartime thrillers, then you definitely need to give this book a go.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 276 pages

The Assistant is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Assistant BT Poster

All My Lies by Sophie Flynn #bookreview #blogtour @sophielflynn @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the debut novel by Sophie Flynn on my blog today, All My Lies. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

All My Lies by [Sophie Flynn]

BLURB

Anna wants to escape.
She doesn’t know when her marriage to James began to feel like a trap or when he became so controlling. All she knows is that she needs to leave before it’s too late.
 
And she has a plan.
When Anna reconnects with her childhood sweetheart, Sam, she sees it as the answer to her problems. Finally, they’ll have a life together, like they’d always planned – the life she was meant to have.
 
But the lies are catching up with her . . .

On the morning of their escape, Sam goes missing. Anna knows he wouldn’t leave her, that something must have happened to him.
Her search for answers will force her to confront her past, something that she has been running from for a very long time . . .

MY THOUGHTS

All My Lies is a twisty and gripping psychological thriller by Sophie Flynn. I read this novel really fast, and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.

My intrigue was piqued right from the beginning when we meet Anna, who is desperate to escape her controlling boyfriend, James. She has recently got back in touch with her childhood sweetheart, Sam, and as they discuss the potential for a life together, Anna starts making plans to make this a reality. But everything is about to come crashing down for Anna. The secrets hidden in her past are about to resurface.

What I loved about this book was that I felt that I couldn’t trust any of the characters, particularly Sam’s family, to who Anna was once very close to. I also felt really scared for her. I didn’t want her husband to find out what was going on in her life as I had no idea how he would react. The early scenes in which he and Anna are together were so tense and chilling. I was rooting for Anna to get out of the marriage. When you start reading this book, you may think that this is a story that has been told before, but Sophie Flynn took the story in a completely different direction from what I was expecting. It’s what made it all the more exciting to read.

There are many different elements to this book, which makes it such an action packed and fast-paced read. I wanted to know more about Anna’s past as she struggles to come to terms with what is happening in the present. I also wanted to know more about her former boyfriend, Sam. Why suddenly was he behaving in this way towards Anna when they had talked about building a future together? I could sense her frustration as everything she had been working towards began to tumble down. Sophie Flynn is a writer who knows how to keep the tension turning up a notch and how to keep her reader hooked.

All My Lies grips you from the first page and keeps you utterly invested in the plot and the characters. I really enjoyed it. Sophie Flynn is an exciting new writer to watch, and I can’t wait to read more from her.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 23rd April 2021

Print length: 271 pages

All My Lies is available to buy:

Amazon UK

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

All My Lies BT Poster

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone #bookreview #blogtour @C_L_Johnstone @BoroughPress @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut thriller by Carole Johnstone on my blog today, Mirrorland. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

No. 36 Westeryk Road: an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A place of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur. But it’s what lies under the house that is extraordinary – Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters Cat and El created as children. A place of escape, but from what?

Now in her thirties, Cat has turned her back on her past. But when she receives news that one sunny morning, El left harbour in her sailboat and never came back, she is forced to return to Westeryk Road; to re-enter a forgotten world of lies, betrayal and danger.
 
Because El had a plan. She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets. And to discover the truth, Cat must first confront the reality of her childhood – a childhood that wasn’t nearly as idyllic as she remembers…

MY THOUGHTS

When I read the blurb for Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone, I knew straight away that I had to read it. It sounded so intriguing and different from what I had read before in crime fiction. But I was slightly worried, would the book itself live up to the exciting premise? I needn’t have worried. Carole Johnstone has written a brilliant debut novel, and I really enjoyed reading it.

Cat hasn’t returned to her home in Edinburgh since she moved to America. The reason she has returned is because her twin sister, El, has disappeared. El’s husband is distraught and desperate for news, but Cat appears cold. She believes El is seeking attention and faking her disappearance. But things soon take a shocking turn for the worse. Is there a link between El’s disappearance and the game they used to play as children to help cover up a dark secret?

I was intrigued by the idea of Mirrorland,and I thought it was very creative. I wanted to learn more about the world El and Cat had created for themselves and what it really meant. What were they trying to cover up? When we are first introduced to Cat, I struggled to like her, initially. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t taking her sister’s disappearance more seriously. It made me wonder what she knew about El that El’s husband and the police didn’t.

The mystery in this book becomes quite a complex one as Carole Johnstone unravels the secrets behind the game El and Cat used to play when they were children. There are some dark secrets which come to light as the novel reaches its climax. This is what makes this book such a sinister and twisted read. Carole also explores what families will do to protect one another and what they are willing to do to make sure their loved ones survive. It makes for some very intense reading as more more information about El and Cat is revealed.

Mirrorland is an intriguing, original thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. If you’re looking for something that is a bit different in the crime fiction genre, definitely give this book a go! 

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 416 pages

Mirrorland is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

FINAL Mirrorland BT Poster

Nighthawking by Russ Thomas #bookreview #blogtour @thevoiceofruss @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Nighthawking by Russ Thomas on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

Sheffield’s beautiful Botanical Gardens – an oasis of peace in a world filled with sorrow, confusion and pain. And then, one morning, a body is found in the Gardens. A young woman, dead from a stab wound, buried in a quiet corner. Police quickly determine that the body’s been there for months. It would have gone undiscovered for years – but someone just sneaked into the Gardens and dug it up.
 
Who is the victim? Who killed her and hid her body? Who dug her up? And who left a macabre marker on the body?
 
In his quest to find her murderer, DS Adam Tyler will find himself drawn into the secretive world of nighthawkers: treasure-hunters who operate under cover of darkness, seeking the lost and valuable… and willing to kill to keep what they find.
 
That which was lost… will always be found again

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Russ Thomas’s debut, Firewatching, which made my top ten books of 2020, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. Nighthawking is a brilliant follow up, and Russ Thomas has created a complex mystery which kept me hooked, and it had a really intriguing premise.

I really liked DS Adam Tyler when Russ Thomas first introduced him in the first book. This time around, he is slipping away from the police investigation that is taking place. Tyler is also struggling with his relationship with Paul, as well. His actions did make me feel sorry for his colleague, DC Amina Rabbini. She is constantly trying to locate him and is always having to cover up for him as well. They both work for the cold case unit, which is under threat as it is, of being disbanded, due to budget cuts.

DS Tyler and DC Rabbini soon find themselves thrown into an investigation when a young woman’s body is found in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens. It appears that the body has been there for months. The case is soon matched up with the disappearance of a Chinese woman eight months earlier. But it appears that not much was done to trace her, and the case was quickly wrapped up.  

In this book, Russ Thomas delves into the world of nighthawkers, which gives the book a very sinister feeling. Nighthawkers are treasure hunters, and it’s the nickname given to people who don’t have a licence to hunt for treasure, particularly at sites with a historical value. This part of the plot gave the book a very sinister feeling. It made me wonder if it had a wider connection to the discovery of the young girl’s body.

The plot was cleverly constructed, and I liked the different elements that Russ Thomas brought to it. I thought this, particularly when we begin to learn more about what was going on in the life of the murdered girl.  

The tension gathers pace as the truth begins to unfold, and it was a jaw dropping moment when Russ Thomas revealed his secrets. And then Russ Thomas leaves us with a cliff hanger. The ending has left me wanting to get my hands on the next book as soon as possible. I know this is a series that I’ll be sticking with.

Nighthawking is another excellent book by Russ Thomas, and I can’t wait to see how things progress from here.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication date: 29th April 2021

Print length: 445 pages

Nighthawking is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Nighthawking BT Poster

The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana #bookreview #blogtour @jennyquintana95 @MantleBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

Some houses have their secrets. But so do some people . . .

From the bestselling author of The Missing Girl and Our Dark Secret, comes The Hiding Place: a story about identity, love, long-buried secrets and lies.

Abandoned as a baby in the hallway of a shared house in London, Marina has never known her parents, and the circumstances of her birth still remain a mystery.

Now an adult, Marina has returned to the house where it all started, determined to find out who she really is. But the walls of this house hold more than memories, and Marina’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the other tenants.
Someone is watching Marina. Someone who knows the truth . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Hiding Place is the first book by Jenny Quintana, which I have read, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read one of her books. I still have her first two novels on my TBR pile, and I’ll be reading them ASAP. Her latest book is a heart-breaking and a totally absorbing psychological thriller. I flew through it in just a couple of days.

We meet Marina, who, now an adult, returns to the home where she was abandoned as a baby to find out more about her heritage and who her parents were. But things are a lot more complicated here than Marina first realised. But she doesn’t want to give the details that she once was that baby away to the inhabitants of the house. Some of the people living there now remember that time and were there when it happened.

I really felt for Marina as she tried to understand more about her family. You can see just how desperate she is to find closure. She wants to know why her mother abandoned her all those years ago. It’s hard to imagine what that knowledge could do to a person over the years once they realise the truth about what happened. It must be heart-breaking for them to think that their birth family didn’t want them

Right from the first few chapters, I felt that there wasn’t something quite right about what happened when Marina was born. I felt that there were people in the house who wanted to make sure that what happened stays a secret. I wanted to know who this person was and what connection they had to Marina’s story.

Jenny Quintana creates an air of mystery and a sense of creepiness about the house as Marina settles in and tries to get to know the residents there. You can see that already some of them are uncomfortable about her presence. But she is determined to see this through.

We also go back in time to 1964 when we meet a woman called Connie, and we start to see the bigger picture of what happened at the time of Marina’s birth begin to unfold. I became totally wrapped up in the story. I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end. Jenny Quintana’s brilliant writing kept me gripped all the way through, especially at the end as Marina uncovers the truth.

The Hiding Place is so well written, and I can’t wait to catch up on Jenny Quintana’s previous books. I loved it!

Publisher: Mantle

Publication date: 18th March 2021

Print length: 320 pages

The Hiding Place is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Hiding Place BT Poster

Bound by Vanda Symon #bookreview #blogtour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the latest novel in the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon, Bound. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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

BLURB

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… 

MY THOUGHTS

Bound is the fourth book in the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon, and I think it’s the best book in the series yet. Vanda Symon knows how to create a really chilling opening, and she has created another gripping first few pages here. I wanted to know what had happened from the first page, and Vanda Symon kept me turning the pages. I raced through this book in just a couple of days.

A teenage boy returns home to a shocking scene that will be forever imprinted on his memory. His father, a local businessman, is dead, and his mother is seriously injured. What happened here, and who attacked his parents? What have they got themselves involved in?

This is such a gripping crime novel. The chapters are short and pacy, and they always left me thinking, I’ll just read one more. It’s what makes Vanda Symon’s books so addictive, and I love her writing. I had to know what was going on here and who was responsible for the crime. But this isn’t the only thing Sam is having to deal with. Her father is dying. Sam is struggling to come to terms with what is inevitably going to happen. She tries to distract herself by throwing herself into her work.

There are some shocking reveals as Sam Shephard comes closer to unravelling the truth, and there is a jaw-dropping twist that I did not see coming. Sam knows that there is more here to what meets the eye, but she seems to be the only person who can see this. It seems that the rest of the team are keen to brush the case under the carpet. I really liked how Sam fought for the victims.

Sam Shephard is such a great character, and she is one of my favourite detectives in crime fiction. She is a character you can root for right the way through, and I hope there will be many more books featuring her to come. I thought the scenes in which she was dealing with her father’s illness were really emotional, and you can see how she is struggling to accept it.

Bound is so cleverly well plotted. I loved how Vanda Symon kept the tension turning up a notch and how she kept me asking questions. Vanda’s writing is taut and so pacy. It made for such a compelling read, and I loved it.

If you’re not yet reading this series, then you really need to be. It’s a fast paced, highly engaging police procedural. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 4th January 2021 (kindle) 18th March 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

Bound is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Bound BT Poster

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:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Smoke Screen BT Poster

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:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Deity BT Poster

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:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Black Widows BT Poster

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

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Last Snow BT Poster