John Marr’s is one of my favourite authors so I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for the newly repacked The Vacation (previously titled Welcome to Wherever You Are)
The Vacation is set in a back packers hostel on a Los Angeles beach. Eight strangers are all there but none of them are there just for a holiday. Each of them has their own reasons for trying to turn their back on their normal life, and each of them have secrets they want to keep hidden. Whether they are running from themselves or other people they hope that the hostel will be the solution, yet as the saying goes you can run but you can’t hide!
The Vacation is a real twisty read that I found very compelling. The chapters are short and there are lots of cliff hanger endings, all of which makes this hard to put down.
The book started relatively slowly as we are introduced to all of the main players but it soon starts to pick up pace. There are a lot of characters in this book but it is so well written that they are all easy to keep track of. They each have their own back story and as with all good books as the stories start to unwind the characters lives begin to merge.
I liked the way that all the stories were tied up properly at the end, some with endings I didn’t see coming and some with endings that were just heartbreaking. Throughout the book my views of each of the characters had kept changing and this continued right to the end.
I would recommend this great read for all fans of a twisty well written tale.
Find out what other bloggers on the tour thought by visiting the stop below:
A while ago I read Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver and it was one of those books that stayed with me for a long time after I read it. Therefore I was really pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel Psychopaths Anonymous.
Maeve is an independent powerful woman with a great career and an interesting social life. She is also an alcoholic with a penchant for killing men. When she realises that attending AA meetings just makes her want to drink even more she decides to set up her own meeting that will be a better fit. So begins her support group, Friends of Maeve or Psychopaths Anonymous. Unfortunately being a psychopathic killer isn’t always conducive to being in a relationship so when Maeve starts to fall in love things begin getting tricky.
This was an absolutely fantastic read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The novel is equal parts dark humour, gory murders and interesting tale of relationships. Whilst the main character is a serial killer the depth of story makes it much more than that. She wants to make amends to people she has hurt but doesn’t necessarily go about it in the best way (Think Rhiannon of Sweetpea fame meets My Name is Earl.)
I think that Will Carver is a really excellent writer, his novels always feel fresh and unique. The characters and the stories within are those that make you think and question your own reactions to the characters. I love a good female serial killer and this was one of my favourites. It’s unusual to find a book where the main character is equally likeable and unlikeable in equal measure but that’s what I found with Maeve. She’s a blood thirsty killer on the one hand, but on the other she has a compelling humour about her that really drew me in.
I can honestly say that this was one of the best novels I have read this year and would absolutely recommend it. Of course don’t just take my word for it, check out what the other bloggers on the tour thought too.
I must confess to never having read any of the previous novels by Kjell Ola Dhal. However when he was introduced to me as the Godfather of Nordic Noir I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour for his latest novel, and I’m glad I did.
In the Ice Swimmer it is a few days before Christmas and a woman is being pursued onto a tube station in Oslo. When she is then run over by a train it is at first assumed to be a suicide. Elsewhere a body has been pulled from a frozen lake. This time it is thought that he just fell whilst drunk and the cold got him. However as Detective Lena Stigersand and her colleagues Gunnarstranda and Frølich start to investigate, they begin to realise that there are more sinister forces at work, which reach far wider than they thought.
This is a superb novel that I genuinely couldn’t put down. Set in the cold streets of a Winter Oslo the atmosphere was chilly to say the least. It’s the kind of book where when you are reading the descriptions of the place you feel the need to put an extra jumper on as the cold seeps off the page.
I really enjoyed the character of Lena. Personally I felt she was a really welcome change to a lot of the current female leads out there. Often females are portrayed as either being whisky drinking, one night stand, no feeling types, or weak and pathetic needing to be ‘rescued’ Yet she wasn’t either. She was a tough police officer who could look after herself. However she had a natural vulnerable side to her that helped in her policing. Her health scare, and her blossoming relationship with a local reporter also helped to give her a multidimensional character that worked really well. Although her taste in music was little dodgy (Does anyone really like listening to Christmas music??)
The story itself is fast paced with a huge amount of twists and turns, yet it was easy to follow. The novel is the sixth in the Oslo detective series however it works as a standalone and although I would like to know more about the detectives, that’s because I enjoyed the characters so much rather than I felt I was missing anything. One thing that I also really liked was that to me this didn’t actually feel like it was a translation. Sometimes when reading translated books I find myself having to re-read bits to make sense of them, yet this didn’t which is testament to the translator Don Bartlett.
If you like novels where the story is gripping and the writing is so good that you actually feel like you are in the place it is set then I would highly recommend The Ice Swimmer. I will definitely be reading the rest of Kjell Ola Dahl’s novels.
Find out more about the Ice Swimmer and Kjell Ola Dahl by visiting the other stops on the blog tour or buy the book here: