One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner – a review BLOG TOUR

I always look forward to the new Lisa Gardner book being released, so it’s even more exciting when I get to read an advance copy.

One Step Too Far is the second in her new series starring missing person hunter Frankie Elkin. Years ago, a young man went missing whilst on a camping trip for his stag do. His father and friends have never stopped looking for him and each year they go out on a camping trip to search the area where he disappeared. This time Frankie has decided to join them after hearing about the search via an online forum, so she heads off into the Wilderness with the group. However, what starts off as a simple hike and search soon become a race for their lives.

One Step Too Far is not your standard mystery novel. Jack Reacher meets Famous Five springs to mind. This is a fun, if a little far-fetched, story that I read over a few days during the Christmas break.

As with all of Lisa Gardner’s novels they include a great range of characters. I like the main protagonist Frankie, she’s a smart loner who isn’t bothered by the trappings of a settled life. She goes from case to case picking and choosing the cases that she takes and always moving forward despite the majority of her cases not having a happy ending. The other searchers included a big foot hunter, and my favourite one Daisy the cadaver dog. All of them have their secrets to hide and their own reasons for returning to search for their friend. As things go rapidly downhill these secrets start to come tumbling out.

The mystery part of the story is interesting, and it wasn’t one where I guessed the ending. I do think you have to slightly suspend belief in parts but as I often say this is fiction and fiction is allowed to push the boundaries of reality. I really like the style of writing in this book. It was an easy read with descriptions that made the story leap off the page as you follow the misfit group up into the mountains and eventually down again.

I very much hope we get to hear more about Frankie Elkin again soon. Find out what others thought on the blog tour below:

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Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staaleson – a review

I enjoy a good ‘ScandiNoir’ and have read and enjoyed a number of Gunnar Staaleson previous novels from his impressive back catalogue therefore I was lucky to get a place on the Orenda blog tour for his latest novel Bitter Flowers.

Bitter Flowers sees main character PI Varg Veum returning to work after a stint in rehab. His first job is offered to him by his physio Lisbeth. It should be a simple case of house sitting but on his arrival at the house he is met with a dead body in the swimming pool, and Lisbeth goes missing. As Varg starts to investigate he finds a tangled web of lies involving shocking environmental crimes, big business and protestors. It’s not long before there are links to the disappearance of a little girl eight years ago who was never found and Varg is thrown headlong into his most challenging case yet.

Bitter Flowers was another great novel from prolific Norwegian author Gunnar Staaleson that I really enjoyed. The story is just as twisty as you would expect from Gunnar with some great characters that you’ll both love and hate.

Although this is part of a series the books most definitely work as stand alone novels and I have not read them in any order (I believe this is the first time that Bitter Flowers has been translated into English) One of the things I like about these is that the life of Varg is not the central element of the book. The focus of the story is the mystery of the dead and missing, with just enough of Varg’s life to make him an interesting character but not take over.

This story was set in the early 80’s which I’ll admit to not really realising at first but as soon as I worked that out things started to click into place. I enjoy stories set in different cultures and the fact this was set over twenty years ago in Norway gave it an added dimension.

I found Bitter Flowers a good read that was a slow burner but one that will draw you in and keep you guessing until the end!

To find out what others thought of Bitter Flowers visit the other stops on the blog tour.

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Demon by Matt Wesolowski – a review BLOG TOUR

I am a huge fan of the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski so was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel – Demon.

Demon sees podcaster Scott King investigating the murder of 12 year old Sidney Parsons, who in 1995 was killed by 2 school friends. The ‘Demonic Duo’ were released from prison under new identities but refused to ever give any reason or explanation for what had happened on that terrible night. Ever since then the quiet village has been plagued with stories of superstition and supernatural behaviour. As Scott begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crime he soon realises that this is an investigation that is leading him towards danger.

Demon was another fantastic read from Matt Wesolowski. As with all this series, the book follows the traditional podcast structure and so is split into six ‘episodes’. Each episode focusses on the interview of one central character and their take on the so called Demonic Duo. I really enjoy this style of writing. The six episode structure gives it a unique feel, and I find it really does move the story along easily.

One of the clever things about this series is the mix of horror and crime. It can be a tricky balance to pull off but it’s a balance that Matt Wesolowski manages expertly. Throughout the story the demons are at the forefront, but the crime element is still perfectly executed. The sense of foreboding created by the writing is palpable, with menace and fear pouring off the page. Yet at it’s heart this is not a supernatural story but an investigation into human behaviour and the consequences of actions and reactions.

There are a range of characters within this story and they all have their flaws yet the human elements also come across to the reader with all of them having secrets and guilt that influences the way they act. Another big part of this novel is the setting. Demon is set in a small fictional village called Ussalthwaite. This is a place filled with folklore and stories and based in North York Moors which give it a bleakness that adds to the menace bubbling under the surface.

I think this is one of the best series I have read for a long time and each novel feels like it’s just getting better. Whilst this would work as a stand alone, I would recommend starting at the beginning (Review of the second in the series Hydra is here) and enjoying them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend the whole series to anyone who hasn’t yet read them.

Don’t forget to find out what others on the tour thought of the book:

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Sleep Tight by Cass Green – a review BLOG TOUR

I have a bad habit of not thoroughly reading things before agreeing to go ahead and that happened here. I had read and really enjoyed some of the psychological thrillers written by the author so I jumped at the chance to receive a copy of her latest novel Sleep Tight. It wasn’t until I actually looked at my copy I realised that this was something different.

Sleep Tight introduces us to DC Rose Gifford. She is called to investigate the death of a young woman called Hannah who suffocated in her bed within a locked room. It looks like a straightforward crime scene – but the police can’t find the killer. Her roommate can’t think of anyone who might want to harm her although she does mention that Hannah had been suffering from crippling nightmares. Rose then meets DS Moony who runs UCIT, a secret department of the Met set up to solve supernatural crimes. Rose has to put aside her scepticism before anyway else dies.

Regular readers of the blog will know I’m not really a fan of supernatural in crime thrillers, however occasionally there is a cross over that works, and this is one of those. It was a fun read that I really enjoyed.

The character of Rose is interesting, she’s a bit of a strange one who shares her house with an unwelcome visitor, and doesn’t always make the best decisions work wise but she’s definitely a character I’d like to read more about. My favourite however was DS Mooney I liked her understated attitude despite working for such an unusual and eccentric department.

The story was good, I liked the slightly quirky nature of the story and the humour worked well against the back drop of the crime. I found parts of it quite creepy especially the descriptions of the dreams and the nightmares. I very much enjoyed this, although reading the book in bed certainly wouldn’t be recommended!

To find out what others thought of the book have a look at the other stop on the tour.

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