Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen – a review BLOG TOUR

I am a fan of an Icelandic setting in my crime fiction and therefore I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen.

Thirty Days of Darkness begins with novelist Hannah who wrote a critically acclaimed novel, albeit one that no one had read. She is incredibly scathing of crime fiction, especially her arch nemesis Jorn, a best selling crime fiction writer. During a rather public spat with him she states that she believes she could write a crime novel in a month, a challenge that her publisher decides to take her up on and quickly ships her off to a remote village to stay for 30 days to complete her first crime fiction novel. It’s not long before she realises it might not be as simple as she thought, but equally the village doesn’t turn out to be as quiet as she thought either. When a body turns up Hannah decides to turn amateur sleuth in the hope that it will ignite her inner crime writer!

This was a good read that I enjoyed on the whole. The actual novel writing part of Hannah’s story is almost secondary to the plot, and glossed over at the end but as a story prop it worked well. The focus is very much on the crime in the village, and the secrets and lies of all it’s inhabitants.

The setting of the book is key to the drama within. The long dark nights and cold short days give the story a sense of claustrophobia that only comes from places where the dark outweighs the light. Obviously this was a translated novel but clearly the translation was good as the writing seemed to flow well and I enjoyed how the story progressed.

The character of Hannah wasn’t particularly likeable for me, but it did make a change to read a novel where you are not instantly drawn to the main protagonist. However when her nemesis Jorn appears the pair together quickly lift the novel adding a humour to what was essentially a dark story.. There is a big cast of characters despite the small village setting and they are all drawn skilfully. Each one becomes a suspect in the crime, as one by one the clues to the true perpetrator are slowly revealed.

Overall I felt this was a good debut, and definitely worth a read if you like a bit of Scandinavian crime. Huge thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my copy.

Find out what others thought of the book by visiting other stops on the blog tour:

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I Will Find You by Harlan Coben – a review

There is nothing more exciting (if you ask me) than getting a brand new hardback book through the post, especially when it’s one of my favourite authors. So I was very pleased to receive a copy of the latest book by Harlan Coben.

I Will Find You starts with family man David. He was happily married with a three year old son. However when he wakes one morning to find he is covered in blood and his son is dead his nightmare is only just beginning as he is found guilty of murder. Five years into a life sentence his sister in law comes to visit him with some life changing news. She has a photo that in the background has a little boy that looks just like David’s son Matty. Despite the logical part of his brain saying that it can’t be him, there is also a bit of him that thinks that is his son. He has to prove it one way or another.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story that follows David’s attempt to clear his name. Of course there were lots of bits that were a little far fetched, but it’s fiction after all. He was certainly a lucky man managing to evade the police as well as others after him so many times. However this was such a fast paced novel that you don’t get time to think too much about the coincidences.

I did guess part of the twist before the end but still couldn’t wait to see if I was right or not. I like the way that Harlan’s books are written, they are dialogue heavy which feels like it gives a good insight into the characters and I liked the way the characters bounced off each other. The detectives were characters that I really warmed to and they had a good mix of banter and detective work,

The chapter’s are short and read easily which makes for an enjoyable read. I wouldn’t say that this is the best of his recent novels but it was still a great read that is definitely entertaining and I can imagine Netflix will have another great hit on their hand.

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The Hike by Lucy Clarke – a review

I spotted this whilst browsing on Netgalley and thought it sounded right up my street so downloaded it ready for a recent trip away.

The Hike starts with four friends who get together for an annual trip away and a catch up. In a change from their usual spa weekend this time they decide on something a bit more adventurous, a Norwegian Mountain Hike. They intend to spend two days hiking up a mountain from their base in a back packers lodge. However when they arrive they soon realise that the Mountain is not as idyllic as it seems and people on the trail will go to any lengths to protect their secrets.

The Hike was an interesting tale that I enjoyed despite some bits seeming a little bit far fetched. I enjoyed the characters of the four contrasting friends, each so different from each other as only those in novels can be.

The setting of this novel was really good. The descriptions of the area were vivid and gave a real sense of atmosphere and menace to the story. The contrast between the friendly cosy lodge and the harsh conditions in the Wilderness where conditions can change in minutes were stark.

This was a book that started slowly as the characters are introduced and we find out what brings them to the point we meet them. But the tension soon starts to ramp up as they head further along the trail into the Mountains. I enjoyed the cast of characters and like any good story there are plenty of twists and red herrings throughout.

The ending wasn’t as dramatic as some but it did tidy everything up nicely without leaving loads of loose ends so was satisfying. If you like a story of tested friendships set in bleak surroundings then this is the book for you.

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The Ugly Truth by LC North – a review BLOG TOUR

Last year in Harrogate I was given a copy of The Ugly Truth by L.C North but for some reason it fell to the bottom of my pile of books. Therefore when I was invited onto the blog tour I gladly dug out my copy.

The Ugly Truth begins with the disappearance of Melanie Lange. The famous modal turned business woman has led a very public life with everything she does scrutinised by the media, including her struggles with her mental health. Now she is missing and her Dad, Peter Lange, is saying that he has had her admitted to a mental heath care facility for her own good. However her best friend and her ex-husband both believe that she has been kidnapped. When video’s appear of Melanie alleging that she is being held against her will, the world of social media goes wild. Will you be team Peter or team Melanie?

The Ugly Truth was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The format is unusual in that everything is told through tweets, posts, interviews and newspaper articles, so it’s very easy to read once you get into the rhythm of the writing. It’s also quite dangerous though as it’s easy to just think ‘one more interview, or one more twitter thread’ and before you know it it’s 1 in the morning and you are still reading.

It was one of those stories where I had no idea which way it would go or who to believe. The interviews with Peter portray a man who has made mistakes in the past but is trying to change. His main priority is keeping his daughters safe. He is haunted by his past and is trying his best to provide for his daughters after the death of his wife. However friends of Melanie tell a different story of a man who wanted to control everything about his daughter and was jealous of her success.

I enjoyed this story and did not see the ending coming at all. It’s a great depiction of the dark side of social media and how it can turn on people minute by minute. The writing is superb as despite the unusual way of telling, and there being no overarching narrator or long descriptions of what is happening it all flows seamlessly. I would definitely recommend this clever and unique feeling story.

The Ugly Truth is out now (amazon)

Find out what others thought of The Ugly Truth by visiting the other stops on the blog tour.

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