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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:

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Order your copy of Sister 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:

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Get your copy here The Silent House

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When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins – a review

TenI absolutely love Fiona Cummins’ previous novels, her debut Rattle is still one of my favourite books of 2016 and I have devoured her follow ups, so when her latest appeared on Netgalley I was rather excited.

When I Was Ten follows the Carter family. Twenty years previously Dr Carter and his wife were killed by their daughter in a case that gripped the nation. Ten year old Sara Carter was nicknamed the Angel of Death, but having served her time she now has a family and a life of her own. However when her older sister does her first ever TV interview, Sara’s life comes crashing down around her. The sisters childhood friend Brinley is now a journalist tasked with covering the breaking story, forcing the three women to confront the reality of that terrible night.

This was another superb novel from Fiona Cummins that was utterly compelling. The story is told from two viewpoints, the sister and the journalist and cleverly entwines the two in a way that keeps you wanting to know just a little bit more. As with all Fiona Cummins books you get a great insight into not only how messed up family dynamics can be but also how far people will go when they want to protect their secrets. 

The writing is as always engaging and completely sucks you in. I thought the story itself was very clever. There were some very upsetting elements as you find out about the family itself and what happened in the lead up to the murder. It is a very emotional story based around family life. I did find the inclusion of the MP storyline a little unnecessary, as I didn’t really feel that his storyline added to the book much, however the reasons behind him being included became clearer as we hit the end. I liked the way the story was structured, it was very much an act in three parts as the story switches between the before and the after for the Carter sisters with little let up inbetween.

One of the things I really like about all of Fiona Cummins’ novels is the unexpected twists and turns that run throughout, whenever you think you have a handle on where it is going something else will happen that completely throws the theory out of the water. This was no exception.

When I Was Ten was yet another fantastic story from one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read what comes next from Fiona Cummins.

Order your copy here When I Was Ten

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Perfect Kill by Helen Fields – a review BLOG TOUR

Perfect Kill is actually the 6th in the Callanach series. Normally I try not to review books that are so far into a series if I haven’t read the majority of the previous ones. However this novel sounded like it would be too good to miss, so I broke my self imposed rule and signed up for the blog tour.

Perfect Kill is set across both Edinburgh and Calais. Bart Campbell has been kidnapped and finds himself miles away from his hometown of Edinburgh. DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases, however it soon becomes clear that there is a link between the two and they must work together before more lives are lost.

This novel was a great read that I found enjoyable yet utterly disturbing at the same time. This is a story with numerous strands it seems. It covers human trafficking, organ donation, kidnapping, cancer, broken relationships and all manner of the most hideous aspects of human life. Yet it isn’t all doom and gloom, without wanting to give anything away there are lighter moments amongst all the misery.

I liked the main characters. Yes it would have been better to know more of the back story of them and their relationships, however the book still worked as a standalone. Clearly the main two have been playing games with each other for a long time, and that doesn’t change within this story. It’s obvious they are meant to be together and fingers crossed they work out next time.

When you read as many crime novels as I do it is hard to find something truly terrifying but this managed to do just that. There were parts of this story that were really quite scary, all the more so because you can imagine it happening.

I would highly recommend this novel and would definitely like to start at the beginning of the series (if only there were more hours in the day!) Thanks to Harper Collins and Helen Fields for my copy of this. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour to find out what other bloggers thought of the book:

 

 

 

 

 

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Beast by Matt Wesolowski – a review BLOG TOUR

I am a huge fan of Matt Wesolowski, he is an author that is definitely in my top ten and therefore I was over the moon to be offered to the chance to read and review the latest in the series, Beast.

Beast is the latest installment of Six Stories, a podcast lead by elusive online journalist, Scott King. Six Stories looks at cold cases and in this series Scott is looking into the chilling case of the death of a popular shopping vlogger found frozen to death in the local ‘vampire tower’. Elizabeth had been barricaded into the tower during the storm in 2018 (The beast from the east) Three local men had been charged with her death, although they claim it was just a prank gone wrong.  Scott speaks to six people who knew Elizabeth. They all give very different stories of the victim and what is was like living in the village at the time. Were the three boys really guilty or is there a different story?

Beast was another absolutely fabulous read that I loved. It is written in a podcast style with six separate ‘episodes’ (or chapters to us old style readers). Each episode is told from the viewpoint of the different people being interviewed by Scott. As the listener learns more about the background of the victim Elizabeth, we are lead deep into a world of social media, where likes and ‘hits’ are felt to be the be all and end all of a person’s worth. 

The story is set against the miserable storm of 2018, the village is almost cut off by the weather. This gives the story a sense of bleakness and hopelessness which is a fitting background for a world where people can make a living out of emptying their shopping bag live on camera. I really enjoy the structure of these stories. The chapters whilst not short are easy to read as they flow as though you are listening to it. It is this that really makes this series stand out to me and I really enjoy the structure of the books

The story itself is chilling, unsettling and highly believable. You are drawn into a world that gets more complicated the more we learn and the tangled web of characters all vie for attention and recognition. Elizabeth we hear from via her vlog pages which intersperse the episodes. What I thought was especially interesting is that despite the horrific end she met, she isn’t actually a character that elicits sympathy, in fact it is the people around her who were more deserving.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough. It is a style of writing that appeals to people like me who enjoy stories that draw you in, but macabre enough to make you read through half closed eyes. The Beast is a fantastic novel, however if you haven’t yet read the others in this series you definitely should!

To find out what others’ thought of the Beast visit the other stops on the blog tour, and get your copy of Beast here.

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The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allen – a review BLOG TOUR

 

 I was really pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allen as I thought the whole premise sounded intriguing. Joe McKee, Pillar of the Irish Community, is dying. He is being cared for by his step-daughter Heidi and as they realise that he has little time left the rest of his family come to his side including his daughter Ciara and his sister Kathleen. However his death comes quicker than expected,  and so when the mourners start arriving, so do the police.

The Liar’s Daughter is a novel about family lies and terrible secrets that I found incredibly compelling. I read it on a recent trip to Manchester and really couldn’t put it down. I really don’t want to give anything away but the big issue was relatively easy to guess from the beginning, however the twists and turns kept the suspense high. The characters in this story are all very different and each have their own motive for wanting Joe dead. This gives the story an almost Agatha Christie feel to it, with a closed cast of characters in the middle of the ‘whodunnit’

The story is told mainly from the viewpoints of Ciara and Heidi, both in the present day and when growing up. We also hear from Joe at the beginning which gives an additional element to the story. This is quite a dark and emotional story and deals with some hard issues, the murder of Joe is almost a secondary story. Therefore using the term enjoyable in a review doesn’t feel quite right, but I would recommend it. The issues are dealt with sensitively and the quality of the writing means that the story flows easily.

The Liar’s Daughter is an excellent read that will stay with you long after you finish it.

Order your copy here.

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The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty – a review

This had been on my pile to read for a while, and after my latest read, which was a police procedural, I fancied something a bit lighter (Obviously still within the crime realm) so this jumped out at me.

exThe Ex-Girlfriend introduces us to Georgia. When she is stood up on a date by Brett, she meets Luke instead. He seems a charming bloke with loads in common with her and they soon fall in love.  It is just what Georgia needs after the hard time she has been through in her past so the relationship moves quickly. There is one slight problem, he has a maniac of an ex-girlfriend called Cadance who refuses to let him go. When he moves in with Georgia to try and put his ex behind him, things get worse as Cadance steps up her campaign of hatred. Yet are things all what they seem?

I really enjoyed this and found it completely compelling. You know that there is something off about Luke, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it and have to say I didn’t see the twists coming.

The story is told from the viewpoints of mainly Georgia but also the Ex Cadance. It is her viewpoint that really shifts things on their head and gets you doubting what you already know. The writing style is quick and flows well with short chapters which were easy to read and made it really zip along.

The clever bit about this story for me was how plausible it seemed. Yes from the outside  you go through thinking ‘how do you not realise that’s odd’. There were parts where I wanted to rip Georgia from the pages of the book and give her a real shake. However then when you think about it from her point of view, you can appreciate how it is easy to hide things in plain sight and how we really do only see what we want to see.

The Ex Girlfriend is quite difficult to review without giving away key plot points but suffice to say it is a good read that I would highly recommend.

Grab your copy here The Ex Girlfriend

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