#Blogtour The Girl in the Photo by Heidi Amsinck

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Girl in the Photo by Heidi Amsinck. This is the second book in the Jensen series.

About the Author

Heidi Amsinck is a writer and a journalist born in Copenhagen now living in London. She was London Correspondent for the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. She has written many stories for BBC Radio 4, all read by Tim McInnerny. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. My Name is Jensen, her first thriller, was published to critical acclaim in 2021 and has been translated into Danish and German. Follow @HeidiAmsinck1 on Twitter, Visit heidiamsinck.co.uk

About the book

When ninety-year-old Irene Valborg is found brutally murdered in an affluent suburb of Copenhagen, her diamond necklace missing, it looks like a burglary gone wrong. When two more victims are attacked, the police lament a rise in violence against the elderly, but who is the young girl in the photo found by DI Henrik Jungersen on the scenes of crime? 

Impatient to claim her inheritance, Irene’s daughter hires former Dagbladet reporter Jensen and her teenage apprentice Gustav to find the necklace. Henrik finds himself once more pitched in a quest for the truth against Jensen – the one woman in Copenhagen he is desperate to avoid.


This is the second book in the Scandinavian Crime series Jensen, both books can be read as standalone novels, however I would recommend reading the first in the series – it’s a great read and you get a better gist of how Jensen and Henrik got to the point they are at in this book.

It begins with the brutal death of an elderly woman, the theft of expensive jewellery, and the photo of a young girl that seems to link further crimes. DI Henrik Jungersen is tasked with investigating, bit the daughter of the elderly woman believes the police are dragging their feet – enter Jensen from stage left to help solve the crime. 

The involvement of Jensen complicates matters for Henrik who is actively trying to remain out of her very enticing orbit, or is he? Indeed she keeps popping up as further crimes seem to suggest an insidious link between what appear to be unrelated events.

Henrik might need to accept the fact he has a wee bit of an obsession with Jensen. Making up scenarios and situations in his head – the attempt to restrict his fantasy and desires, whilst simultaneously pushing them forward. Being privy to his alleged wish to repair the damage to his existing relationship with his wife gives the reader a certain impression, but does he really want to repair it? Is he trying to convince us or himself? Is it just me or does it wander into the realms of something more than just being attracted to Jensen. If Henrik was anyone other than an upstanding police officer, would it be more than unrequited passion? Hmm, I wonder.

I kind of enjoy the whole imbalance and element of the who is the main driver or character of this story. It says Jensen on the box, and yet Henrik is right up there leading the way, whilst Jensen gets the space and time to expand upon the more elusive and intriguing air surrounding her persona. In fact it’s probably the instability of each of them in their own way that draws the reader in.

I like the fact the author doesn’t rely on the previous success and path forged by the characters in book one. Instead the is a very conscious effort to delver not only a riveting read, but also create pathways for further development. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Buy The Girl in the Photo at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Muswell Press pub date 28 July 2022. Buy at Amazon com.  

#BlogTour We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal.
About the Author

Tove Alsterdal is one of Sweden’s most renowned suspense writers. She has written five critically acclaimed stand-alone thrillers and has won literary prizes in Sweden and France. In the autumn of 2020, her latest book We Know You Remember was named Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year and won the Glass Key Award for Best Crime Novel from all the Scandinavian countries.

About the book

Where were you the night Lina Stavred went missing? – The case was closed. – Everyone in Ådalen remembers the summer Lina Stavred went missing. At first, the investigation seemed like a dead end: there was no body, no crime scene, no murder weapon.

The records were sealed. – Then a local boy confessed to Lina’s murder. The case opened a wound – one the whole community has spent over two decades trying to heal.

But we know you remember. – Now Lina’s murderer has reappeared, and detective Eira Sjödin must face the spectre of his brutal crime. This is her chance to untangle the years of well-kept secrets – but the truth is something Ådalen would rather forget.


Olaf doesn’t intend to enter his old family home. He knows he isn’t welcome, but instinct says something is wrong. He stumbles upon a dead body and of course all fingers point straight in his direction – again.

He is an known killer. The child who killed a child. Why would anyone believe anything he says? But the truth is much more complex and darker than anyone thinks. In a cleverly constructed mystery the masks of those above suspicion start to slide off, which also means certain people become more desperate to bury the truth, which shouldn’t be too hard – it’s happened before.

We need more English translations of Alsterdal’s work, and indeed kudos to the translator Alice Menzies. You have to be able to do more than just translate word for word, you have to be able to capture the idioms, the spirit and the atmosphere of the story. Not everyone can do the original work justice, although I am certain this is a perfect interpretation of the author’s work.

Whilst this is an award winning piece of fiction, this author doesn’t have the same recognition as other Scandinavian authors, but certainly deserve to be right up at the top. The characters, the surroundings, the perfect imperfections of humanity and the beautiful prose – woven together the result is a gripping crime story. Cleverly paced with false trails and clues thrown into the trees for the reader to follow like a dog running eagerly after a stick.

Buy We Know You Remember at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Faber Books; pub date 3 Feb 2022 – Hardback £12.99, eBook £8.99, audio digital download £22.99. Buy at Amazon com.

BlogTour Cold As Hell by by Lilja Sigurðardóttir,

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Cold As Hell by by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, translated by Quentin Bates.

‘With rights sold in 14 countries, Cold as Hell is the first in the riveting, atmospheric and beautifully plotted five-book series. An Áróra Investigation, from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.’

About the Author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, her English debut shortlisting for the CWA International Dagger and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap soon followed suit, with the third in the trilogy Cage winning the Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year, and was a Guardian Book of the Year. 

Lilja’s standalone Betrayal, was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja is also an award-winning screenwriter in her native Iceland. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow @lilja1972  on Twitter, Visit liljawriter.com

About the book

Estranged sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries, and are not on speaking terms. When their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to look for her. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without a trace.

As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight – Áróra is drawn into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation.

Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, to help her track her sister’s movements, and tail Björn. But she isn’t the only one watching…


Historically Áróra and Ísafold have had a bit of a bumpy ride as sisters. They have become disconnected from each other, and yet old loyalties and the need to protect is never far from the surface. When Ísafold disappears Áróra feels she owes it to her big sister to help, despite the fact she has ignored her attempts in the past, and has repeatedly returned to a bad personal situation.

This book is the first in a new series, and it looks like it’s going to be a humdinger of a popular one. Whether intentionally or not the author has given this book a different style – it’s still Scandi noir, but it’s darker. There is an almost staccato like approach to the chapters and characters, and the main characters swim silently between black and white in the greyish areas of conscience and guilt.

Adding the almost anonymous quality of the perpetrator gives readers the sense of this could be me or you, which is also exactly what happens with the ethical aspect of the crime in this story. If you weigh the scales of punishment and justice – what would you do?

I think this is Sigurðardóttir’s best work so far. She’s risen above the expectations of the genre and given it what I believe to be her individual style writing voice, and I think it’s just the beginning. I am looking forward to where this series is going to take us.

Buy Cold As Hell at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books, pub date 28 October 2021 |  Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Girls Who Lie by by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, translated by Victoria Cribb.

About the Author

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. 

It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. 

Follow @evaaegisdottir on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads

About the Translator

Victoria Cribb is one of Icelandic literature’s best-known translators into English, working with Arnaldur Indriðason, Sjón, and Gyrðir Elíasson, among others. She became interested in Iceland as a teenager and taught herself the language with a 1948 Linguaphone set.

About the book

When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, it is assumed that she’s taken her own life – until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the list of suspects grows ever longer and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…


This is the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series and whilst both books can be read as standalone novels I highly recommend reading the first –  The Creak on the Stairs. 

The story begins with a homicide, a less than perfect mother is found dead – is it suicide or something more nefarious? Elma starts to reconstruct the dysfunctional family structure and ties, which leads her in unusual directions. What kind of person treats her child like a hateful mistake? It’s a multi-layered story with plenty of areas that are neither black or white. Imperfect people with perfect little secrets, the kind of secrets that destroy people.

I was actually quite interested by the fact both books are very much individual experiences, despite some of Elma’s personal experiences and history flowing into this one. To the point where I had actually forgotten the connection. It’s the kind of book, and series, that makes a readers want to go back to the beginning, because you will almost certainly miss something the first time round.

It has the same noirish dark vibe that is tinged with an element of suppressed rage, frustration and despair. Ægisdóttir doesn’t shy away from speaking truths to the side of motherhood society likes to ignore to a certain extent. It isn’t all rainbows and daisies, sometimes it can trigger hormonal responses, and of course there are just some people who shouldn’t be mothers or parents at all. It’s a kaleidoscope of human emotions and mistakes, which bounce of each other to deliver a captivating read.

Buy Girls Who Lie at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books, pub date 22 July 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson. This fabulous Orenda blogtour is breaking for Xmas and will be continued on the 5th of January – don’t miss the rest of the stops on the tour.

About the Author

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teacher copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. 

Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the International crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller, Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015n with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout, Rupture and Whiteout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.

Follow @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadsragnarjonassonwriter on Facebook, Visit ragnarjonasson.comBuy Winterkill

About the book

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible  truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.


This is the sixth and final part of the Dark Iceland series featuring Ari Thór. It can be read as a standalone crime novel, as can all the others in the series, however I would recommend the other books purely for reading pleasure. 

In this book Ari Thór is called to the scene of a tragic accident. A young girl has fallen to her death, which seems to have been of her own volition until questions begin to float to the surface and the police inspector wonders whether someone helped her fall. At the same time he is trying to navigate the painful and uncomfortable reality of co-parenting his young son, and not knowing whether he should fight for his relationship with the woman he loves.

I wish this weren’t the end of this atmospheric and dark series. Jónasson has built his character and settings in a way that parallels progression in life and sometimes it’s the right thing to leave and let be. It isn’t necessarily the end of Ari Thór’s story, actually perhaps it is a beginning, but it is the end of the road for the readers who have followed his progression.

Jónasson has this strangely captivating ability to draw the reader in with an almost soothing approach to crime. The surroundings add to the feeling of being simultaneously fascinated and burdened by the landscape, by the inability of a man unable to connect emotionally on a level that makes him happy. We plod along with him as he stumbles through life and crime with an almost accidental accuracy at times. It’s charming and dark all at the same time.

One can only hope the author will return to Ari Thór one day, perhaps an older version made cynical by his experiences and yet still comfortable, because he feels at home and at peace. One can only hope.

Buy Winterkill at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstonesAt Orendabooks.co.uk.

#BlogTour Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen. It’s a quirky venture into witty noir with a cheeky nod in the direction of an 80s cult crime series. Only Tuomainen could pull this off.

About the Author

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards.

Follow @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks on Twitter, on Facebook: facebook.com/antti.tuomainen, Visit anttituomainen.com

Buy Palm Beach Finland

About the book

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.

With a nod to Fargo, and the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.


I shouldn’t really be surprised that Tuomainen has managed to write a crime novel, which takes place in Finland, that is an ode to the 80s and the very memorable cult police series Miami Vice. Think sun, palm trees, detectives dressed to the nines in bright suits and blazers, and streets lined with blinking neon signs. Now think cold breezy Finland, plastic palm trees, gaudy neon signs, uniforms a la Baywatch that barely cover body parts and a detective who dresses with a Woodstock vibe.

Olivia has returned to her hometown after the death of her father to find his house is smack-bang in the middle of a very ambitious beach resort. It puts her in a precarious situation and on top of that the house is falling apart around her. It’s an expensive money-pit and she has no money.

Jan Nyman is an undercover cop who is sent into the middle of a curious murder case, which also happens to take place in the middle of this peculiar ‘luxury’ beach resort. In fact everything and everyone is connected to the Palm Beach Finland.

‘Bookings are being taken for the summer season 2019 as we speak, don’t delay – rooms are going quicker than an Aldi cashier zapping items through on the cash desk conveyor belt.’ – Palm Beach Finland Resort.

In his own way the author shows how shallow, desperate and greedy the human race can be when it comes down to cold hard cash. Friends betray friends, honest people become criminals and the supposedly morally correct suddenly get selective memories.

It’s a quirky venture into witty noir with a cheeky nod in the direction of an 80s cult crime series. Only Tuomainen could pull this off.  He has a talent for creating bizarre storylines and making them not only enjoyable but also seem completely normal. Definitely an author to check out.

Buy Palm Beach Finland at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books, Publication Date: October 2018

Read my review of The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen.

#BlogTour Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Today it is an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir. It’s the sequel to Snare, and as in the first book, the action doesn’t let up for a second. It’s Nordic Noir with a hefty pinch of reality.About the Author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow @lilja1972  @OrendaBooks on Twitter, Visit liljawriter.com

Buy Trap

About the book

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.


Trap is the sequel to Snare, which is the story of a mother caught up in drug smuggling ring and desperately trying to save herself and her son. Trap begins with Sonja being brought back to her harsh reality, when she and Tomas are returned to Iceland against her will.

Sonja finds herself back in the same cycle of emotional blackmail and in the middle of a hive of criminals. Her focus however remains the same, to get her son away from his father. The only reason he wants Tomas is to keep Sonja in line and making a profit for him as a very good drug mule.

You can almost feel the change in Sonja in this book, as her feelings of helplessness turn into rage, which she channels to try and outsmart her ex and the hardcore criminals she is dealing with. Hopefully she hasn’t bitten off more than she can chew?

When I say good drug mule I have to mention how efficient Sonja is at transporting the drugs and evading detection at the airports and border control points. The author seems to have researched this smuggling malarkey intricately and has it down to a fine art. Just to clarify – I mean describing it in the story and not actually physically smuggling anything herself.

The stories by Sigurdardóttir are going from strength to strength, which is perhaps not discernible at a first glance, because the pace is fast and the noir is darker than a sooty cat. It’s easy to overlook the meticulous detail and research that has gone into the creation of the storyline, in regards to the drug smuggling and the fraudulent financial dealings by the bankers or banksters, as the author calls them.

It’s an action packed, fast-paced read filled with the brutal reality of the drug world, an abusive controlling ex and the dirty world of finance. It’s Nordic Noir with a hefty pinch of reality.

Buy Trap (Reykjavik Noir #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy Snare (Reykjavik Noir #1) at Amazon Uk

Read my review of Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler

rabbit hunterIt’s Scandinavian Noir with a smidgen of horror and side-helping of psychological thriller. It’s dark, and as it gets deeper, it gets a lot darker.

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym for husband and wife writing duo Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. Their stories can be gruesome, bloody and cross some boundaries. If you know Lars Kepler books then you know what you are letting yourself in for in terms of  bloody, graphic violence and sexual violence.

There is an automatic assumption about the why because of who the victim is, so in that sense the reader already knows what is coming and who is doing the killing, but the police are in the dark.

In this sixth book in the Joona Linna series it seems as if Joona played more of a laid back secondary role, despite being in the middle of all of the events. The killer definitely takes the main stage.

Kepler delivers a brutal read with the typical noirish quality of a Scandinavian thriller. It’s slightly creepy and seems to echo inspiration from certain other stories. I would have liked to have seen a lot more of the relationship between Linna and Bauer, but hey maybe in the next book.

Buy The Rabbit Hunter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Harper Collins Uk, HQStories, Follow @HQStories

#BlogTour Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Big Sister, which is book 20 in the Varg Veum series by Gunnar Staalesen (translation by Don Bartlett). It is Nordic Noir meets modern day crime, and it changes the perception of Scandinavian countries. Forget the image of the easygoing and law-abiding people, immerse yourself in the darker side of the Nordic people.

About the Author

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over five million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is being filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

Follow @OrendaBooks

Translation by Don Bartlett

Buy Big Sister

About the book

PI Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office from a woman who introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a nineteen-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers and to a shadowy group, whose dark actions are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.


Varg seemed a little less cantankerous in this book and a lot more amicable. I suppose discovering that the mother you thought you knew isn’t the woman everyone else remembers is a bit of a surprise, and finding out you have a half-sister to boot is a wee bit of a shock.

Norma turns up out of the blue to tell him they are related and to ask Varg whether he will look for her missing god-daughter Emma. He instinctively feels compelled to help, despite the fact his sister is vague and secretive about the facts concerning Emma and her disappearance.

Once again Varg finds himself embroiled in the dangerous world of criminal biker gangs. The only difference this time is the fact a crime committed many decades ago becomes the catalyst in this violent and brutal storyline, at the same time it is also a very emotional one.

Staalesen subtly highlights the often fragile relationships between family members and the instinctual call of blood. Can a stranger become more than that within a short period of time just because they share DNA or a blood relationship with you? The revelation of Norma and her secret existence makes Varg wonder about his own truth, which is further amplified when a cousin suggests his own past may not be as straightforward as he was led to believe.

All the revelations make him even more determined to find the young girl noone seems to be looking for. She has simply slid off the radar and now the only person trying to find her is Varg, and he wouldn’t be the ‘doesn’t give a hoot’ kind of guy readers have come to appreciate if he didn’t accidentally stumble upon more nefarious crimes during the execution of his job.

Staalesen presents us with a softer and more reflective Varg this time. Don’t get me wrong, he still portrays him as a person possessed when it comes to sniffing out the truth and getting justice for victims, but this time he is less grumpy and sarcastic about it all.

It is Nordic Noir meets modern day crime, and it changes the perception of Scandinavian countries a wee bit. Forget the image of the easygoing and law-abiding people, immerse yourself in the darker side of the Nordic people. It’s emotional without being soppy, whilst taking the reader on an action packed ride. The author doesn’t placate the reader with happy endings, instead he forces them to stare into the face of reality.

Buy Big Sister at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Paperback pub date 20 June 2018

Publisher Orenda books orendabooks.co.uk

#BlogTour The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today it is my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl. He is certainly a master of his craft, which is evident in this moving and yet equally captivating crime read.

About the Author

One of the godfathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In

2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries and sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.

Follow @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks #TheIceSwimmer

Visit  kjelloladahl.no

Buy The Ice Swimmer

About the book

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder.

With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir


The focus is on Detective Lena Stigersand in this book, and I have to say her reactions and inner dialogues are quite interesting. Watching Lena struggle with the separation of private and professional problems, whilst the intricate plot unfolds around her is a fascinating juxtaposition. Illness vs danger, worry vs brainstorming; Lena spends her entire time walking the lines between her inner fears and her professional instincts.

The author approaches the issue of cancer with sensitivity, although the same can’t be said for Lena. She fights against the idea, ignores the reality and keeps shoving it into the recesses of her mind. Her body becomes the hidden enemy. What is riveting and heartbreaking is the way she tries to tell the people around her, and yet doesn’t because she feels it may be perceived as weakness.

The Ice Swimmer combines various elements of crime. The political scenario with the secret intelligence service poking fingers in the murky pot, and the simple wrong place at the wrong time extra victim. To top it off Lena finds herself being drawn into a romantic relationship with someone she has started to have doubts about.

Overall it is a fast-paced, well-plotted story with Gunnarstranda and Frølich taking more of a supportive back seat role, as the strong impulsive Oslo detective, Lena Stigersand, takes more of a one-man team approach to solving the crimes.

Kjell Ola Dahl likes to create the crime with a focus on the intricacies of his characters and their personal lives. This atmosphere allows for the reader to feel empathy with the characters without losing sight of the unfolding crime scenario. It is a balancing act, but one that serves up a great read.

The author moves his characters across the chess board with a tactical efficiency. It gives the Ice Swimmer the feel of a modern crime with a flair of Nordic Noir, and the overall sense of ultimate command over everything. Each move is planned, no loose ends are left to ponder over, and the intimacy between the characters and the reader makes you want to come back for more.

Buy The Ice Swimmer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Kindle Pub date 28 Feb 2018, Paperback Pub date 30th April 2018

Published by orendabooks.co.uk