I have been lucky enough to be able to follow the Kay Hunter series from the beginning, and whilst I must admit to being a couple behind I was still very excited to be asked to join the blog tour for the latest ‘Turn to Dust’
Turn to Dust starts with the discovery of a naked body in a field, it looks like he may have fallen out of a plane. Yet the injuries soon point to a much more brutal cause of death. When Detective Hunter finds out that someone has been offering money in exchange for information about the dead body she begins to realise that this case is not going to have a simple ending. When a key witness goes missing Kay and her team have a race on, to stop more people ending up dead.
Turn to Dust by Rachel Amphlett is the 9th in the series featuring Detective Kay Hunter, and I have to say I think they keep getting better. I really like the character of Kay, she has a relatively normal marriage and just wants to focus on doing a good job. I like the relationship between the two and I think that Adam’s job as a vet and his love of saving stray animals adds a great comedic element to what is a pretty sad tale.
I always like the style of writing by Rachel, the chapters are relatively short and this makes it a pretty fast paced read. Although it is part of a series I think it works as a standalone too, there is enough back story of the characters to help you get to know them, but not so much that you feel like you are reading the same book again and again (which can be a tricky balance) As with her previous novels as well, she manages to make the murder line the main story throughout with the characters pushing the investigation along.
This is one of those stories that is difficult to review without giving away the plot, but it will certainly make you think about the way that people on the edge of ‘normal’ society are treated, and how any of us could one day end up having to ask for help.
I would highly recommend this series, in fact now I’ve finished Turn to Dust I intend to go and fill in the gaps of my Kay Hunter knowledge and read the couple that I’ve missed!
I have read previous novels by Rod Reynolds and so was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest Blood Red City.
Blood Red City starts with Lydia being sent a video of an apparent assault on the tube. The sender of the video is a friend who left the paper under a cloud. Lydia has recently been relegated to the night shift entertainment slot but at heart she is still a serious investigative journalist and thinks this could be the story to restart her career. She sets out to track down the victim of the assault but with no victim and the only witness disappeared she begins to think she may be being led down the garden path. Michael however knows that something went on and he is determined to find out what Lydia has found out before he is exposed. When Michael and Lydia meet, she soon realises that she couldn’t have begun to predict just what a dangerous situation she has put herself in.
Set in London Blood Red City is a book that definitely deserves the accolade ‘gritty thriller’. The story shows us the dark side of London and the battles to keep control. The novel starts off with a great hook, a crime that might not be a crime, and doesn’t let up throughout as we discover corruption and violence lurking just beneath the surface of our capital city.
I really liked the character of Lydia. A lot of the time female protagonists are either written as weak and indecisive, or conversely whisky swigging, don’t care about anything types. Lydia however just seemed normal, she made some bad decisions but also some good ones and she was clearly good at her job. The character of Michael was harder to pin down, throughout the story you get the impression of there being two sides to him and it’s not clear if he wants to protect or to harm Lydia.
The story itself is full of twists and turns that I found impossible to predict. There are some very unpleasant characters in it and each time you think that you have a handle on what is going on another red herring is thrown in. It is a complement to the standard of the writing however that despite the twists it doesn’t get complicated. It is a fascinating story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I would definitely recommend Blood Red City if you like gritty drama where the setting is as important as the characters.
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour to find out what other bloggers thought of Rod Reynold’s latest.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is gutted that we’ll be missing this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (TOPCWF) However if there is any small upside to it, it does mean that I am finally getting the time to catch up on all the books that have been gathering dust on my ‘to read’ pile since last year. One of which was The Nowhere Child by Christian White.
Last year the TOPCWF had a session called Antipodean Noir. This was one session where I didn’t actually have any of the books, although I was keen to purchase the new one by Jane Harper. Whilst stood perusing the session book stall I got chatting to a very nice chap about the authors in the session – long story short I walked away with all 4 books and realised when the session started that I had actually been talking to Craig Sisterson the chair of the panel, he should be a sales person not a journalist. Well I am very glad I was persuaded to buy this, as this was a superb debut novel.
The Nowhere Child tells the story of Kim an Australian photographer. One day a man turns up with a photo of her as a child. He says that Kim is actually called Sammy and that she was abducted from her home town of Kentucky, America twenty years ago. Kim can’t believe that her kind and caring mother who passed away could be an international child abductor, so she heads to America to try and discover the truth.
I found this story absolutely compelling. The story is set between past and present as Kim tries to find out what happened to her, and we also flip back to the lead up to Sammy’s abduction. The flipping between times was done expertly, and it almost felt like two different books (in a positive way) until the worlds finally collided. I especially liked the inclusion of the cult element and the rattle snake wielding preachers that I found fascinating.
Whilst the idea of missing children is one that has been done a lot, this felt like a completely new take on it. Although at its heart this is a family drama, the writing is superb and the element of suspense cuts across every page. I wanted to find out what had happened to Kim when a child, and the twist at the end was a complete surprise.
I would definitely recommend this superb debut novel to all mystery lovers.
I 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: