When I received the email about this, the premise of sounded so good that despite it being the second in a series I jumped at the chance to be able to join the blog tour for Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir.
Girls Who Lie focusses on the disappearance of single mother Marianna. It is assumed that she has committed suicide until her body is discovered and it’s clearly murder. Her daughter Hekla is in foster care but seems to be coping well at least to start with. Police Officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case of Marianna and soon get drawn into what becomes an increasingly complex case. Meanwhile 15 years previously another single mother is struggling to bond with her new born child and to make a new life for herself.
Girls Who Lie was an excellent read that captivated me from the start. The story flits between the two timelines with ease as we uncover the truth about what happened to Marianne and Hekla, as well as the strange lonely girl in the past. The historical element first person chapters were especially chilling and created a interesting dimension to the police procedural element of the main story.
I enjoyed finding out about the main character Elma, and about her relationship with her own family which becomes more fraught as she puts her desire to find out the truth ahead of everything else. Like all good detectives Elma has a complicated background but I didn’t find this over powered the mystery which was still the main focus of the story.
The writing in this novel can only be described as beautiful, obviously it is translated but perfectly so. The descriptions of Iceland and the town this is set in are really intriguing and I found myself googling lots of places such as lava fields as I read on.
The story itself was compelling and it was littered with misdirection and red herrings that made it a complete page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s an excellent addition to my Nordic Noir collection and I have already ordered her first The Creak on the Stairs so I can catch up with Elma from the beginning.
To find out what others thought of Girls Who Lie you can visit the other stops on the blog tour:
The Web They Wove by Catherine Yaffee begins when the mutilated body of a young female is found at a park in Leeds. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are called out to investigate. With little evidence found at the scene it seems like they are stuck at a dead end. When a second body turns up in the same place, Ziggy starts to feel the pressure as the inevitable comparisons with the Yorkshire Ripper start in the press. When he realises that the victims have been held captive for days before being murdered, he starts to realise that there is a seriously depraved person out there, and that the case is starting to turn personal.
Although this is the second novel by Catherine Yaffe it is the first I have read. However this can absolutely be read as a standalone. The back ground of Ziggy is revealed gradually through the story, including why he’s called Ziggy, and so I didn’t get the feeling I was missing anything. Although he was the typical divorced detective he also had a vulnerability about him that I liked and made him seem more rounded. His interaction with his team members was natural and he genuinely seemed to care about his team.
I am a big fan of novels that give the perspective from the serial killer and this is no exception. I thought the chapter’s from the killers voice gave an interesting extra dimension to the story, that I found fascinating. They were interspered thoughout and gave a change from the hectic pace of the police procedures.
The story was full of twists and turns that really drew me in from the beginning with some well written prose. Every time I thought I had a handle on where the case was going I would be thrown off direction once again. I very much enjoyed The Web they Wove and will definitely be looking to catch up with Ziggy on his next case.
To find out what others thought of Catherine Yaffe’s novel visit the other stops on the tour:
Back in March I attended the Hull Noir online event which not only had some great guests but also a link up with a bookshop to offer signed books, which of course I can never resist especially when it includes the latest by one of my favourite authors, Alex North.
The Shadow Friend is the second book by writer Alex North. The story starts when Paul returns to his home town for the first time 25 years after he left. Returning to visit his mother he is surrounded by memories he has tried hard to forget. However the day his friend Charlie committed a terrible crime isn’t easy to forget especially when it appears there is a copycat criminal now operating.
The Shadow Friend is a creepy read that had me hooked from the start. It is one of those books where when you look back actually the ‘action’ isn’t that much. It is the quality of the writing that gives it a really immersive quality where the tension crackles off the page.
There are two different timelines as we find out about Paul both past and present. In the present we follow Paul dealing with his ailing mother who has been moved into a hospice as well as the creaks and threats that seem to be all around him. A younger Paul is coping with moving to a new school and trying to fit in whilst not being certain he actually wants to. As things get more and more creepy he pulls away but is never really let go.
I felt for the character of Paul, he came across as lonely and lost. Clearly despite moving away he has never managed to put the past behind him and it has affect his whole life. His lonliness almost gives the story an extra dimension as it makes it feel quite a claustrophobic tale as we get further inside his head.
I really enjoyed the book and the short chapters ending on cliff hangers kept me up late every night as I just wanted to read more. Throughout the story there is an undercurrent of the supernatural which adds to the uneasy feeling you get as you head to the final reveal. I didn’t see the ending coming at all. However as soon as you look back you realise that the clues where there but easily missed.
I throughly enjoyed this story and without wanting to give anything anyway there were some twists that I was completely blindsided by. I would highly recommend this, and if you haven’t yet read his first The Whisper Man then that should also be added to your pile!
Back in the days of old when we had face to face events I was lucky enough to attend the Antipodean Noir session at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2019 and heard Vanda Symon speak. I’ve been a big fan ever since and therefore was really excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel Bound, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Bound begins when a businessman is murdered in his home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch her husband die. Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, and soon discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.
The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas and in need a distraction from her personal life she launches her own investigation. When another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect.
This is the 4th in the series starring Detective Sam Shephard and I would go so far as to say that Sam is one of my most favourite Detective’s of the moment. She’s funny, confident and sassy, yet believable. In this book we see a more vulnerable side of her as she deals with her father’s cancer diagnosis, as well as within her relationship with partner Paul.
The story itself is a great twisty read that starts down one path and then keeps throwing you down other routes as it picks up pace to the final reveal. I liked the short chapters and each one kept me wanting to just read one more. Although the story itself focusses on some rather somber subjects there are light hearted moments and an element of comedy that really helps lift it throughout.
Set in New Zealand you get a real sense of the place, and I enjoyed learning about the city of Dunedin through the descriptions flawlessly written in the story. Yes the real focus throughout is Sam and how she navigates her way through her personally and professional life. Although this is the fourth in the series it could be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the others first as you’ll get to know Sam so much better and appreciate how she seems to have matured in this novel.
I would definitely recommend Bound and do hope that this isn’t the last in the series.
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the Blog Tour to find out what they thought of Bound.
You can also revisit some of the highlights of the TOPCWF including Antipodean Noir here: