Lockdown

Well that’s now eight, or is it nine, weeks of lockdown, and frankly I have done absolutely nothing useful with my spare time. I am sure there are lots of people who have spent this time productively. Learning a language, taking up macramé, waking up bright and early every morning to do Joe Wicks (seriously does anyone really do that?) Well I get up, go to work, otherwise known as walk to the kitchen, work then go home, otherwise known as put my laptop back in a box. It really is not that different to my usual workday to be honest. I do find after a day sat at the kitchen table staring at a laptop though the last thing I want to do on an evening is stare at a computer again so I am way behind on reviewing all the books I’ve been reading recently.
One good thing about this whole situation is that the neighbours seem to have started talking to each other. Interaction between neighbours on this street is quite low, one side of the road is pretty much just old women, our side is a bunch of young couples with kids who for some reason avoid us like the plague. That of course could have something to do with the fact that the only sun we get is on the bench I put in the front garden, and it’s just wrong to sit in the sun without a glass of wine. We’ve always assumed that we are therefore seen as the pissheads on the street.
However that illusion was completely shattered the other day. One of the mad old women over the road invited us to join her for a drink in the garden. Of course neither of us wanted to go. If it were up to me I’d have happily hidden in our own garden and ignored her. However Mr F had made the stupid mistake of giving her our home phone number (that now makes the total number of people who have that number 2, the other being my 94 year old gran) so of course she kept ringing and the only way to make the noise stop was either unplug the phone or go over. As she could see us through the window option one wasn’t much use, so we had to go over.
There were 4 women in their 70s, all sat on deck chairs 2 metres apart, absolutely hammered. From what we could gather (as well as sitting 2 meters apart, and being drunk they were all rather deaf) they’d started on wine, moved onto gin and that had run out so they were on the rum. It was only 5pm but like they said what else were they going to do with their afternoon. I do suspect however that this is nothing to do with the current COVID-19 situation, I have a sneaky suspicion that this is how they spend most afternoons. Well I say afternoon, one of them admitted that the night before she hadn’t finished a glass of wine and had found it in the morning… yep you’ve guessed it she had it with her Weetabix.
Well clearly we are mere lightweights compared to the women over the road. Maybe that’s how I can use my time whilst we are stuck at home, I could practice my drinking. Or I could maybe learn how to write my book reviews in crochet so I don’t have to continue to stare at the computer on an evening. That would at least be something useful to have to show for my time in lockdown!

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Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl – a review BLOG TOUR

Sister Cover ImageI am a big fan of a Nordic noir, and have read and enjoyed previous novels by Kjell Ola Dahl so I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour for his latest release, Sister.

Sister is the latest instalment in the Oslo Detective series starring Detective Frølich. Frank is working as a Private investigator and is asked by his new girlfriend to look into the missing sister of a young asylum seeker. He is reluctant to take on the work but agrees. However when he is contacted by the author of a book about a suspicious ferry disaster he starts to realise things are not how they seem. When the missing woman is found and denies having a sister, Frølich is led to an old case. As the body count begins to rise, so do the questions he is asking.

I thoroughly enjoyed this twisty tale of intrigue and murder, that from a bit of a slow start soon picked up paced and zipped along at an almighty rate. This is a dark story, covering murder, political corruption, asylum seekers and people smuggling, however despite the darkness of the story there are elements of lightness and I like the humour that is peppered throughout the book.

The character of Frølich I find quite interesting, on the one hand he is the typical loner detective, we also see his interaction with his girlfriend which gives a softer side to him. As with previous novels by Kjell Ola Dahl the writing (and the translation) is seamless, leading you from one red herring to another without interruption, weaving through until the final dramatic scenes.

One of the things I really like about Nordic Noir is the sense of place that a lot of them have, and Sister is no exception. I have never been to Oslo, but after reading this series I would definitely put it on my list.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour:

Sister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order your copy of Sister here

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Strangers by C.L.Taylor – a review BLOG TOUR

I am a big fan of C.L.Taylor’s books so I was very pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel, Strangers.
Ursula, Gareth and Alice are the strangers in question. Ursula is a delivery driver who has lost the love of her life and blames herself, Gareth works as a security guard and spends his evenings looking after his mother, Alice  is recently divorced and believes that she is being stalked by an unknown person. They are all strangers to start with but their path’s eventually cross in a dramatic ending.

Strangers was a superb novel. Set in Bristol, the story is told from the viewpoints of the three main characters. Each of them have their own lives and worries and carry on oblivious of each other. Strangers, for the most part, is three separate stories. They only come together towards the very end. However, once they do collide you can look back and realise that there were clues all the way through, as characters appeared and disappeared throughout the chapters.  Often when reading books like this told from multiple points with differing stories I find myself skipping over one to get back to whichever I find more interesting. However that wasn’t the case here at all, all three of the characters kept me gripped by their lives.

The story is very much character driven. We all know that actions have consequences and that those consequences will change how a person acts. This is apparent as the stories unfold. The ways that people act become more understandable when you know the why. Ursula for example is a shoplifter, to start with you think she doesn’t deserve sympathy, yet the more you learn about her the more sympathy you start to feel. 

I felt this was a cleverly written book, that managed to take three pretty mundane lives and throw them into a situation where they become utterly compelling. They all had secrets that are gradually revealed and I found that every time a new piece of information appeared it changed my thoughts as to what was going to happen. 

Strangers by C.L. Taylor was a fantastic, superbly plotted read and absolutely the best way to spend a weekend during lockdown.

Strangers is available here

 

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The Silent House by Nell Pattison – a review BLOG TOUR

The Silent House coverWhen I was invited to join the blog tour for debut novel The Silent House by Nell Pattison, the premise sounded very interesting and I was not wrong.

Paige is a hearing person in a non-hearing world. She makes her living as an BSL interpreter and usually her work involves helping people understand doctors or going to fill in bank forms. Therefore when she is called on by the local police to help with a case, she isn’t ready for what she finds. A young girl has been murdered in her bed, a girl that Paige knew. She also knows the family, all of whom have become suspects. As Paige become more entwined with the case she begins to realise that her and her family could be in danger and that the killer could be closer than she thought.

The Silent House was a great read. I was fascinated by both the storyline and the setting. The deaf community portrayed in the book is a close knit group. Yet as with any group of people there are tensions and issues which all come to the fore as Paige finds out more about the crime and people’s involvement. I enjoyed finding out about a world that I didn’t know much about and how things we take for granted as hearing people such as someone ringing the doorbell can be difficult for a deaf person. (there is a flashing light used in case you are interested)

I thought the writing was very accomplished, it flitted easily between signing and non-signing conversations and it was clear at all times who was talking which for someone easily confused like me was great. I liked the character of Paige and her sister Anna, and I enjoyed the interaction between them. I did find Paige a bit emotional at times, however to be fair she isn’t someone who would be used to dealing with murder or dead bodies so it’s understandable that she might be a bit out of her depth.

This is obviously the start of a new series and I would definitely want to read the next instalment and find out more about what happens to Paige.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour to see what they thought of The Silent House:

TSH-blog-tour-banner---Part-3

Get your copy here The Silent House

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