I was lucky enough to visit Copenhagen a couple of years ago and love reading novels set in places I’ve been to so I was pleased when I was offered the chance to read the new book by Jesper Stein.
Die for Me is about a rapist who is preying on the women of Copenhagen. DI Axel Steen is leading the investigation. When there are links found between the latest crime and one of Steen’s unsolved cases, the murder of a young girl four years before it soon becomes personal for him. As well as having to face a case that he has never forgiven himself for not solving, the Detective is also dealing with the fact that his new boss is his ex-wife’s girlfriend and that he doesn’t see as much of his daughter as he would like.
This was an interesting story, although I must confess to finding DI Steen a bit annoying. He is a very self centred person who seemingly cares more about where his latest hit is coming from than the case he is on. However on the positive side he is clearly a great detective and that bloody mindedness is put into his work. I actually prefer his boss Jens Jessen as a character. He was much more of a ‘play by the rules’ type of person and he provides a good contrast from Steen’s more maverick approach. This is very heavy on the police procedure which I found interesting and it gave a good structure to the story.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the city, and found it fascinating to read about the contrast between the beautiful areas I saw as a tourist and the rather less salubrious areas where a lot of the action takes place. The writing takes a little bit to get used too I found, which could be down to the translation rather than the writing but once you got into the swing of it the story soon grips you.
I enjoyed this and would recommend this especially if you enjoy a maverick detective.
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At this year’s festival I was lucky enough to meet debut author Robin Morgan-Bentley who was promoting his novel The Wreckage which I have recently read.
The Wreckage begins with Ben, a teacher who is on his way to work as normal. However this day Adam, in a last despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car succeeding in killing himself. In the aftermath Ben struggles to come to terms with what has happened, and to try and assuage his guilt he starts to develop a friendship with Alice, Adam’s widow, and her young son Max. However is this what Alice wants, and how will either of them manage to move on?
This was a fabulous book that seemed very accomplished for a debut novelist. I wouldn’t personally class this as a thriller in the traditional sense of a ‘grab you by the seat of your pants and hang on’ type of story, however it was absolutely gripping. From the dramatic start to the story that absolutely hooks you in, things slow down a little as both Alice and Ben come to terms with what has happened. The tension then starts to build back up as the relationship begins to grow and we find out more about the characters.
The story is told from the veiwpoints of both Alice and Ben. This is a really clever trick that means you see the same moment but from a different interpretation which adds to the tension in the novel. I found both characters equally likeable and annoying at times. Whilst clearly you have sympathy for them both having been through a horrific experience. You also want them to take a look at their actions and think of the consequences.
It’s tricky to say too much about the plot without giving away the twists but the story takes a darker turn towards the end and there are things I did not see coming. When I met Robin Morgan-Bentley I got his autograph and he asked me who my favourite author. I definitely enjoyed this novel as much as a Patricia Cornwall one!
You can buy your own copy of The Wreckage at Amazon.
I find Christmas an odd break. I had two weeks off work, so therefore you’d think I’d have loads of time, yet it always disappears in a flash of seeing people, drinking and the constant round of ‘how was Christmas, what are you doing for new year’. Therefore although I’ve managed to fit in a bit of reading my reviewing has really gone done the pan. Despite being someone who refuses to make New Year’s resolutions, if I was going to make one it would be to review more in 2020. So I am kicking off 2020 with a great novel, The Mother’s by Sarah J Naughton.
I have had this on my TBR pile for ages, however to be honest the idea of four mothers in a novel put me off picking it up. I assumed it would be a lot of women moaning on about children and motherhood and how tired they are etc. However I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was a story of four women who had met because they were pregnant at the same time, and became friends. Skip to four years later and the friendship is still growing strong, until one of the husbands goes missing. The police are stumped as to where he has gone, and talking to the friends throws up more questions than answers. Are they really such good friends? Would they keep each others secrets?
I read this quickly in a couple of sittings as I found it really drew me in. The characters were an odd bunch of people. You knew that on paper they didn’t work as friends, but then you also know in real life often the most unlikely people form strong bonds for a ariety of reasons. I enjoyed the style of writing that seamlessly switched between then and now as the secrets were gradually unfolded.
I enjoyed all the characters, although I wasn’t too keen on the detective Iona. She didn’t seem very well rounded to me, and spent more time worrying about her love life than actually focusing on the crime. However that is only a minor criticism and actually the police investigation is a very small part of this story. They mystery unravels through the viewpoints of the women, and I found myself frequently changing my mind as to what was happening.
This was a very accomplished debut novel that I would very much recommend. The Mother’s is available on amazon
I am a huge fan of reading as you know, and I do read a lot (if not as much as I would like) Therefore whilst I read some fantastic books, and the last couple I’ve read have been superb, it’s not often that something really sticks out as unusual. This, however, was exactly the case with The Recovery of Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel.
The Recovery of Rose Gold was one that I was given at last years festival and had been on my shelf for a while. It’s a proof copy so the blurb was sparse:
‘Once upon a time, they said, a wicked Mother gave birth to a Daughter’
The Recovery of Rose Gold is the story of a relationship between a Mother and Daughter. It starts with the release of Patty, the Mother. On the first page we find out she has been convicted of poisoning her daughter for years whilst she was a child. Rose Gold is her daughter and it is her testimony that sent Patty to prison. Now Patty is out and she wants to move back in with Rose Gold to help her care for her new grandson and to put the past behind them.
Well it is no exaggeration to say that this was truly a book that I could not put down once I had started. Luckily it was a weekend so other plans went out of the window. This is a dark, and disturbing tale which completely drew me in. Yet despite the story matter, the writing gives it a light feel that almost has a humerous edge. The story is told from just two viewpoints – Patty and Rose Gold, Patty is the voice of the current day. Rose Gold’s story flits back to fill in the details of her life whilst Patty was in prison.
Throughout the book you have complete sympathy for Rose Gold as she suffered horrendously at the hands of her clearly disturbed mother. The after effects are obviously still being felt as Rose Gold struggles with normal relationships and life. Patty is also interesting as you end up with a degree of sympathy for her too as she also did not have a great upbringing.
This is a story of obsession and love and how the lines between the two are often blurred, in this case with terrible consequences. This is one of the best books I have read for a while and I’m sure will be huge hit next year. If you like unreliable narrators and stories that will keep you gripped from start to finish then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Unfortunately it isn’t available until March 2020 but it is definitely worth the wait!
You can pre-order your copy here
I am a big fan of Peter James and so when his latest popped up on netgalley I downloaded it onto my kindle ready for a trip to Birmingham.
The Secret of Cold Hill is the sequel to The House on Cold Hill. The house itself has been torn down and in its place a new estate has been created. When James and Emily move in they believe they have found their perfect home. James is an artist and there is a studio room with fabulous views. Kate is a chef running her own business and there is plenty of space for her to create her ideal professional kitchen. This is a house with all the mod cons you could ask for, and even the slightly odd neighbours or the unfriendly locals can’t dampen their enthusiasm. However when things start to go wrong they begin to question their move. Anyone who has ever read any fiction with a ‘state of the art’ house will know that things are always going to go wrong, and this is no exception.
I thoroughly enjoyed this creepy story. It was an interesting take on the haunted house theme using a brand new building, but with old style creepy house storytelling. The noises and odd occurrences are soon escalating as the story takes hold through to an ending that I most definitely did not see coming.
I wasn’t too keen on the main couple to be honest, I found them both a little annoying and did feel that they jumped straight to the idea of ‘haunting’ a bit quickly. Personally I would have thought it was more likely an electrical fault. However the way the couple acted actually added to the tension. You weren’t sure whether they were overreacting or if it really was something more sinister. I particularly liked their interaction with the odd couple over the road. The Penze-Weedells were funny caricatures’ of your neighbourhood snobs, which added a great humour to the story yet didn’t give any kind of let up to the creepiness.
I have read most of Peter James’ books and although the Roy Grace series is still my favourite I hope I haven’t seen the last of Cold Hill House.
The Secret of Cold Hill is available here
I am unfortunately not the type of person who wins things. I rarely enter competitions as I know I won’t win, I don’t buy lottery tickets and when it comes to any kind of race, well suffice to say I have absolutely no competitive spirit whatsoever.
Therefore I was completely surprised to find out that I had actually recently won a giveaway by the lovelyEmma at Damppebbles to get a book of my choice from Book Depository. Now normally like a kid in a sweetshop it would take me hours to decide what book to pick, I’m not good with a lot of choice. However for once this decision was easy. Whilst at the TOPCWF I went to a session with both Adrian McKinty and Ian Rankin and thought that Adrian’s book sounded fascinating so that was my first choice. Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
The Chain starts with Rachel picking up the phone to hear a stranger tell her that her daughter has been kidnapped. In order for her daughter to be freed Rachel will have to kidnap another child. Any child ill do but if she goes to the police her daughter will die, if she doesn’t kidnap a child her daughter will die, if she deviates from her instructions in any way her daughter will die. Rachel is now part of the chain.
This was a novel that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go. The story moves along with a terrific pace as Rachel suddenly turns from mild mannered mother to gun-toting kidnapper.
I liked the fact that despite the main focus of the book being The Chain and the kidnappings, the main characters were all well rounded and had back stories that meant the crimes they had to commit were even more out of context. Rachel is a divorcee who thinks that the cancer she thought she had beaten has returned. Her brother in law who becomes her partner in crime is Pete who is an ex-forces man suffering PTSD and a drug addict. The story shows us the fall out of the crimes and how the characters try to move on with their lives which is impossible when the chain still exists.
I did feel that the first half was a little better than the second. The second half gives us the insight into the perpetrators and what led to the creation of the chain which was interesting. Yet I felt it slowed a little in the middle, until the pace suddenly kicked up again towards the end. Saying that you almost needed the slight breather in order to continue on until the end. The premise of this story is something that I find really interesting, how far will ‘normal’ humans go if they are backed into a corner? This is a novel that explores exactly that.
I think this is the first novel I have read by Adrian McKinty and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would like to thank Damppebbles for my copy.
I have read a couple of previous Katerina Diamond’s books and so was pleased to be invited to join the blog tour for her latest novel Truth or Die.
Truth Or Die starts with the death of a teenager after falling from a building. This is followed quickly by the body of a professor being found in his private office having been brutally murdered. DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are sent to Exeter University to investigate as this body is only the first of many. Someone is playing a deadly game and Miles gets caught up in it in a very personal way. As the body count rises the past comes back to haunt the detectives.
I have to say that it wasn’t until I started reading this that I realised I had obviously read the novels out of order. This was actually the 5th in the series, yet it did work as a standalone. As with most series I think you get the most out of them if you read them in order but then this is definitely a series that you should want to read from the start.
The dynamic between Grey and Miles is interesting and this slow burn of a relationship is at the centre of the narrative. They are both characters who have had issues in the past and struggle to trust other people which is part of what draws them together. I enjoyed the interaction with the characters and felt that this was a couple I want to see work out.
The actual mystery part of the story was also good, and the reasons behind the murders was quite disturbing. However I did feel that it lacked a bit of motive at the end and seemed a bit of a rushed ending to what was a good story. I enjoy a bit of grisly murder and this didn’t disappoint with the crimes and descriptions. We also see the return of a previous character and for me that really ramped up the tension as they are one of those characters whose calm menace really jumps off the page. This is definitely as it says on the cover ‘not for the faint hearted’ and I think it shows the quality of the writing that you flit between reading about gruesome murder and caring about characters without blinking.
I would recommend Katerina Diamond’s novels if you like a good crime thriller with a twist, but I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series in order to enjoy them at their best.
Truth or Die is out now, get your copy here. To find out what others thought of Truth or Die don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.