I am a big fan of Will Carver and so was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel Suicide Thursday.
In Suicide Thursday Eli has a job he wants to resign from, has a girlfriend he wants to break up with and has a novel he wants to write but can’t get past the first chapter. He also has a big problem in separating fact from fiction in his life. When his best friend kills himself, it motivates Eli to try and finally finish something himself, with the help of his therapist.
Suicide Thursday was another terrific read from an author that never ceases to amaze me. It’s difficult to describe the book as there is so much in it. There often feels to be a lot of elements that just don’t fit but that is part of the writing style that I really enjoy wondering where all the threads will end up, trying and failing to guess where everything is heading.
I love Will Carver’s novels but will admit that they are not always easy reads. It’s not only the fact they deal with big issues, but also the way of writing. The stories are character led and everything is told from the point of view of the characters meaning that every word is important. There are no long descriptions of places and cities, just the thoughts and feelings of the characters which gives a really unique feel to it.
Most of the story is told from the point of view of Eli. He has an inability to finish anything, hence his first chapter library where he stores over 700 first chapters of novels he has written, none of which he’s even written the words Chapter 2 on. Eli was an interesting if unlikeable character. He seems to spend a lot of his life blaming everyone else for his failure to finish anything. Yet there was still part of him that I felt sympathy for, as his life seems to spiral.
There are also interludes from other characters in the story, including girlfriend Jackie who was also friends with Eli’s best friend Mike, we meet the two Ted’s and also Eli’s work colleagues. The change of viewpoint is done rapidly backwards and forwards between Eli and the others which adds to the unnerving and disorientating atmosphere of the book.
Whilst the story is dark, there is an element of comedy running throughout that will in turn make you laugh out loud, and gasp in shock. I absolutely cannot recommend Suicide Thursday highly enough!
Find out what others thought of the book by visiting the other stops on the blog tour.
I am a huge fan of John Marrs so was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest Keep It In The Family.
Keep It In The Family begins with Mia and Finn who have bought a derelict house to do up and turn into their dream family home. When Mia falls pregnant, they rush to get it finished. All is going well until Mia discovers a message written on a skirting board: I WILL SAVE THEM FROM THE ATTIC. When they head up to the attic they soon realise that the house is hiding a terrible secret. It’s a secret that Mia becomes obsessed with and as she searches for the truth, she realises that she and her family are in danger.
Keep It In The Family was a great read. With John Marr’s you know that you are going to get a twisty tale with a dark undertone and this certainly didn’t disappoint. The story kept me hooked from the beginning as Mia and Finn start to fall apart whilst the family secrets become exposed and nobody is who they first seemed.
Most of the characters were intentionally unlikeable and even those who I really wanted to feel sympathy for such as Finn made it very difficult with some of their actions. I found the character of Mia supremely frustrating at times. Whilst I do understand her compulsion to work out what had happened, her actions put her and her son in danger and you just wanted her to stop!
One of the things I like about John Marr’s books are the fact that the stories often don’t just focus on the crime but also the actual repercussions of it. Even once we found out the perpetrator the story doesn’t stop but continues to throw in twists and turns until the main finale.
The writing is slick, with short chapters that keep you gripped throughout and I read it over the course of a few nights. I absolutely love John Marrs books and would definitely recommend this.
Find out what others thought by visiting the other blog tour stops.
I am a big fan of Icelandic crime fiction, and very much enjoyed Lilja Sigurdardóttir’s previous novels so I was looking forward to reading her latest Red As Blood.
Red As Blood starts with the wife of millionaire Flossi going missing. He comes home to find the house in dissaray and a ransom demand of two million euros. As someone who specialises in finding missing assets Aurora is asked to help look into the finances of the couple in the hope that the money may throw up some leads. Realising she’s out of her depth she calls in police friend Daniel. They have to race to solve the case without the kidnappers finding out they are involved. Alongside this Aurora is still looking for her missing sister whilst struggling to navigate the path between grief and hope.
Red as blood was another great read from Lilja Sigurdardóttir. The story is told from multiple view points and written with nice short chapters so the story zips along.
There is a large array of characters and at the start it was a little tricky keeping track of them all but I soon found that the story almost had a rhythm that I fell into. I then really enjoyed this cast of characters from the feisty, hands on Aurora to the more measured calm Daniel, through his vibrant drag queen neighbour Lady Gugula. They are all intertwined and bounce of each other as the story progresses and each character is given enough back story to become fully alive.
The story itself was good, and although I did guess part of it there were also plenty of red herrings and twists to keep you on tenterhooks. I always enjoy reading about other places and this was no exception with the cold foggy weather creating a good background for the story.
Although this is the second in the series it can be read as a standalone but you will get more of a sense of Aurora and Daniel if you have read Cold as Hell first.
If you like your scandanvian crime, and sassy interesting characters then this is definitely a read for you.
Don’t forget to find out what others thought by visiting the other stops on the tour:
One of the best things about attending the Harrogate Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival is the amount of free books that you come away with and this year was not exception. The tricky part is working out what to read first but one of the books that found it’s way to the top of the pile was Alias Emma by Ava Glass.
I have to confess that spy thrillers are not my usual thing, I’ve never seen a James Bond and although I have read the odd spy thriller they wouldn’t be my first choice. However, this may just have changed my mind.
The Emma in Alias Emma is Emma Makepeace an undercover agent who has been infiltrating a group of activists until she is pulled off by her boss for a special assignment. That assignment is to bring in Michael who is being targeted by the Russians. The pair of them have to cross London at night avoiding cameras and assassins in any way they can. Not helped by the fact that Emma’s boss has gone underground and she no longer knows who she can trust at the agency.
I really enjoyed the slightly bonkers, slightly surreal atmosphere of this novel. The two main characters are obviously Emma and Michael, and the story follows them as they run through buildings, hijack boats and generally spend a lot of time very nearly getting caught.
Throughout the story we find out more details of Emma and her background, and gradually her reasons for being where she is come to light. Other than a slight ‘frisson’ between the two main characters there is very little in terms of other stories which was actually quite refreshing as the focus was completely on could they outrun the ‘baddies’. I really enjoyed the details of the city within this book, the underground rivers and the alleys and roads of the capital all play a big part. It felt well written, and clearly the author knows her stuff.
As I say this is not my usual type of thing but I thoroughly enjoyed suspending belief for a while and following Emma through a dark and scary London.