#BlogTour Murder in Lima by Mats Vederhus

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Murder in Lima by Mats Vederhus.

About the Author

Mats Vederhus is a journalist and author from Norway, born in 1988. He’s written several books, and has interviewed many of Norway’s greatest stars such as Nicholai Cleve Broch, Jonas Alaska, Vebjørn Sand, Unni Wilhelmsen and Mathias Eick.

Follow on @Afr0 Twitter, on Goodreadson Instagramon Facebook, Visit matsvederhus.com, Buy Murder in Lima

About the book

Kurt Hammer ends up in Lima, Peru to escape his demons and put an end to his alcoholism. The holiday soon takes a sinister turn though, when Kurt witnesses the brutal murder of an old friend.

Facing the most difficult case of his life, can Kurt find the killer – and avoid succumbing to his demons?Review

Whilst this is predominantly a murder mystery/thriller, it is very much also about recognising the way people can be swallowed up by their inability to deal with the stress, friction and problems life tends to deal them. Kurt is no stranger to slipping into the deep end of any bottle of alcohol that comes his way to avoid having to confront the tension and people he would rather avoid.

Avoiding any emotional depth or response is the reason he ends up travelling and finding himself in the midst of a dangerous game of murder and violence. When he becomes a witness to the murder of a friend the events take Kurt on a journey he wasn’t quite expecting to make. Not sure it’s very therapeutic to recommend a trip and banter about the alcohol being cheap there though. Just saying.

It also bandies around with the suggestion that sometimes it takes an epiphany resulting from tragedy, close calls and events that make one reconsider what is really important in life and worth living for, to be jolted into confronting addiction. It depends on the addiction and the addict of course.

It’s a murder mystery come thriller. Vederhus keeps the story and narrative short choppy and doesn’t dwell on moments, emotions or details. This particular style can make the story a wee bit discombobulated, however if it is indeed a style it also lends itself to a bullet point/news info fiction approach.

I wonder whether the translation does the story justice, because the English is basic. It sounds amateurish, which doesn’t really gel with the experience one would assume Vederhus has as a journalist and author. This isn’t uncommon in translations of foreign language origin books, which can be lacking when it comes to idioms, structure and level of the language they are translated from and/or into.

Buy Murder in Lima by Mats Vederhus at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and ebook formats by Terminal Velocity, an imprint of Next Chapter Publishing on 13th November 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Witch of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox.

About the Author

Hester Fox lives near Salem, the location of the historical Salem witch trials. She is a keen painter and has a masters degree in historical archaeology, as well as a background in Medieval studies and art history.

Follow @HesterBFox on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit hesterfox.comBuy The Widow of Pale Harbour

About the book

A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbour from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that hunt him after his wife’s death, so he takes a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbour.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a madman inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allen Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbour will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

Review

Gabriel Stone is a man with many secrets. The kind of secrets that can destroy the life he is intent on carving out for himself in the community of Pale Harbour. Perhaps that is why he connects instantly with Sophronia Carver – a woman with secrets.

She has become the target of malicious rumours and a concentrated effort to malign her character and to scare her. Is she a witch? Did she have something to do with her husband’s demise? Is someone in her inner circle guilty of the worst betrayal?

Gabriel is surprised when rumours and reputation don’t line up with his personal experience and encounters with Sophronia. What is it about this woman that evokes such negative reactions and has set someone on a murderous course of action?

Fox uses the works and myth of Poe to insert a macabre and gothic vibe to the story. Each moment of fear or horror is woven through the fabric of his work. Although this isn’t a new angle per se, I liked the idea of a perpetrator who is influenced by the words of an author, but in a historical context, ergo not the modern era. Nowadays criminals are allegedly influenced by what they watch, read and play, which is a common theme to us. Taking that perspective on criminality, and perhaps even accountability, and creating the same kind of stepping stone was interesting.

It’s mystery, murder and crime, a psychological thriller in a historical setting. Fox balances romances, fear and mystery meticulously to create a gripping read.

Buy The Widow of Pale Harbour at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 17 Oct. 2019.Paperback £7.99 – Available in eBook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

Review

It takes a talented scribe to write about mathematics and keep non-maths enthusiasts captivated. Luckily Chung does so quite successfully by weaving the facts with the fiction and the complex theories of mathematics. Chung manages to take the world of numbers and meld it perfectly with history, and with the turmoil of emotions we humans bring to the table.

In essence this a story about a woman achieving recognition in a man’s world and simultaneously about Katherine discovering her true past and heritage. Even in the face of pure talent the majority of her peers and tutors refuse to acknowledge said talent, which leads to betrayal, disappointment and defines her path in life.

Without giving too much of the plot away, there is a moment in this story, which is filled with gender inequality, misogyny and oppression of intelligent women and women in general, when the betrayal comes from someone who knows firsthand how hard it is to succeed as a woman in a patriarchal society. I think this moment is one of the most poignant, because Katherine bows down and accepts the oppression out of a false sense of loyalty towards a fellow woman.

In a way the fate of her parents becomes like one of the unsolved mathematical problems. Riemann’s hypothesis becomes a metaphor for the unsolved mystery of Katherine’s parents.

It’s historical fiction, women’s fiction and a mystery to boot. Chung wades through oppression and ventures into empowerment, whilst weaving in and out of the secrets of the past.

Buy The Tenth Muse at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group – ebook pub date June 2019 – Hardback pub date 7 November 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @chung_catherine on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit catherinechung.com

Tuesday Mooney Wore Black by Kate Racculia

In my mind’s eye Tuesday is a goth girl without the goth, an intelligent quick-witted Wednesday Adams with plenty of snark. She is also a young woman who is haunted by the past, especially by the unknown variable in the equation she calls her life. The disappearance of her best friend when they were both teenagers has left her vulnerable and damaged.

Fortunately the fact she has a constant open dialogue with said friend is what keeps her sane and on the straight and narrow. Talking to her ghost or what she interprets as the ghost is also what keeps Tuesday ticking while she is dealing with the grief.

Her life and relationships are redefined when she is drawn into a mystery devised by a recently deceased billionaire. The money she could win is an interesting enticement, but it turns out there is more to the hunt than she expected.

I enjoyed the way Racculia made it more than just a mystery. It’s about loyalty, friendship, mental health, loneliness, murder, dysfunctional families and above all a good old fashioned treasure hunt.

It’s a mystery thriller with sort of an Eleanor Oliphant meets a Dan Brown mystery with a literary vibe. The Poe-esque flair melds perfectly with Tuesday’s eccentric attitude and yet oddly charming personality.

I admit I am left with questions though, perhaps enough to warrant the author bringing Mooney back. What happened to her friend – I need to know.

Buy Tuesday Mooney Wore Black at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins pub date 1 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @kateracculia on Twitter, Visit kateracculia.com

#BlogTour Swann’s Down by Charles Salzberg

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg Banner

  Swann’s Down

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour May 1 – June 30, 2019

Synopsis:

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg

When Henry Swann is asked by his quirky partner, Goldblatt, to find a missing psychic who’s swindled his ex-wife out of a small fortune, he just can’t say no. Although he doesn’t actually expect to get paid, he figures it might give him a chance to finally learn more about his partner’s mysterious past. His search takes him into the controversial, arcane world of psychics, fortune tellers, and charlatans, while raising questions in his own mind about whether or not there is an after-life.


While working his partner’s case, he’s approached by a former employer, attorney Paul Rudder, to track down a missing witness who might be able to provide an alibi for his client, Nicky Diamond, a notorious mob hitman who’s scheduled to go on trial for murder he claims he didn’t commit in a week. Swann’s search for the missing witness, who happens to be the defendant’s girlfriend, takes him from Brooklyn to a small beach town across the Bay from Mobile, Ala. But what does she really know and will she even come back with him to testify for her boyfriend?

 

Book Details:

Genre: Detective/Noir/Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1-64396011-1
Series: Henry Swann
Purchase Links: Amazon | BN.com | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

1
The Age of Aquarius

“We’re partners, right?”
Nothing good can come from that question when it comes from the mouth of Goldblatt.
“I mean, all for one and one for all, am I right?” he quickly added in an attempt, I was sure, to seal the deal.
“I think you’re confusing us with the three musketeers. May I point out there are only two of us, and I’m afraid that’s not the only fallacy in your declaration. But you might as well finish what you’ve started.”
We were having our weekly Friday lunchtime sit-down to discuss what Goldblatt likes to refer to as “business.” I have another name for it: waste of time.
Our venue changes from week to week but the concept is always pretty much the same: a cheap diner-slash-coffee shop somewhere on the island of Manhattan. Today’s eatery of choice (Goldblatt’s choice, my destiny) is the Utopia Diner, on Amsterdam, near 72nd Street. And as for the business we’d just finished discussing, well, to be honest, there never is very much actual business to discuss and today was no exception.
At this particular moment in time, we were going through a bit of a dry spell, which always makes me a little nervous because no matter how much I banish it from my mind, the rent is due the first of every month and at least three times a day I seem to develop a hunger that must be quenched. Still, a good fifteen, twenty years away from Social Security, and with precious little dough in the bank–okay, let’s be honest, no dough in the bank–and no 401-K to fall back on, I need to keep working. And, as much as I don’t like to admit it, lately it’s been my “partner,” as he likes to refer to himself, as opposed to my preferred albatross, who’s brought in the bulk of our clients.
We’d already finished eating–though technically, Goldblatt never actually finishes eating which means a meal can easily turn into an all-day affair, if I don’t apply the brakes–and we were just waiting for the check to arrive. This is a crucial point of any meal with Goldblatt because it is the opening gambit in what has become our weekly routine of watching the check sit there in no-man’s land somewhere between us until I inevitably give in, pick it up, and pay. Otherwise, I risk one of two things: either we’d be there all afternoon or, worst case scenario, Goldblatt will decide he’s still hungry and threaten to order something else. Neither one of these options is the least bit appealing.
“I’ll get right to the point,” he said.
Just then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted the waiter, like a white knight, approaching with our check in hand. If I acted quick enough I might be able to get out of there before I can be sucked into something I don’t want to have anything to do with.
“That would be nice,” I said, reaching for my wallet. “What is your point?”
“I need to hire you.”
I was stopped in my tracks before I got my wallet halfway out of my back pocket.
“Really? To do what?”
“I want you to find someone for me. Well, to be more precise it’s not really for me. It’s for my ex-wife.”
Wait a minute! Goldblatt married? Goldblatt with a wife? Goldblatt a husband? This was a new one on me, something I’d never even considered.
“You…you’ve been married?” I stammered.
Truth is, I never pictured Goldblatt being in any relationship other than with, yes, as irritating as it might be, me. I mean the guy isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of Don Juan, although I suppose in theory there are women who might find him if not attractive in the conventional way at least interesting in a specimen-under-glass way. Or maybe as a project. Women love a project. They love a challenge. They love the idea that they have the opportunity to remake a man in their image. Maybe that was it. But whatever it was, my world was shaken to the core. And what would shake it even more would be to find that he was actually a father, too. But one shock per meal is more than enough, so there was no chance I was going to pursue that line of questioning.
“Unfortunately, the answer is yes. More than once, in fact.”
“Holy Cow,” I blurted out, channeling the Scooter. “You’re kidding me?”
At this point the same bald, squat waiter who seems to serve us in every diner we patronize, reached our table and dropped the check right in front of me.
“This is not something a man usually kids about.”
“How many times?”
He held up three fingers.
“Three times! You’ve been married three times?”
“Yeah.”
I gulped.
“Are you married now?”
He shook his head. “Nah. I’m kinda between wives. Giving it a rest, if you know what I mean.
But chances are I’ll be back in the saddle again soon enough.”
“Okay, so let me get this straight. You’ve been married three times and now you’re single but you would consider getting married again?”
“Man is not meant to be alone, Swannie. You might consider the possibility that your life would be enriched if you found your soulmate.”
You’re fortunate if you find one soul mate in life and I’d already had mine. She was yanked from my life as a result of a freak accident, a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t know if Goldblatt knew the circumstances of her bizarre accidental death, but I wouldn’t have been surprised because he seems to know a lot of things he has no business knowing.
“Some men are meant to be alone, Goldblatt. I’m one of them and after three failed marriages maybe you should consider the possibility you are, too.”
He smiled and puffed out his chest. “What can I say, Swann? I’m a friggin’ babe magnet.”
I would have laughed, should have laughed, but I was still processing the scary fact that he’d been married three times. That meant there were three women in the world who not only were willing to marry him but did marry him. I wanted to know more. Much more. Everything, in fact. But this was not the time and certainly not the place to delve into Goldblatt’s mysterious, sordid past. Nevertheless, I promised myself I would revisit this topic in the not too distant future.
Still in shock, I avoided our weekly “who’s paying for this meal” tango, grabbed the check and reached for my wallet…again.
“So, wanna know the story?” he asked.
“Which story would that be?”
“The story of why I want to hire you?”
“Desperately.”
***
Excerpt from Swann’s Down by Charles Salzberg. Copyright 2019 by Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Charles Salzberg. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Charles Salzberg
Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, GQ, Redbook, The New York Times Book Review and other periodicals. He has written over 20 non-fiction books, including From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, an oral history of the NBA, and Soupy Sez: My Zany Life and Times. He is author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair, nominated for two Silver Falchions, Swann’s Way Out, Devil in the Hole, named one of the best crime novels of the year by Suspense Magazine. He was a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and he teaches writing the New York Writers Workshop where he is a Founding Member. He is a member of the MWA-NY Board.

Catch Up With Charles Salzberg On:
Charlessalzberg.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


My Review
In this Henry Swann mystery, Henry is asked to look into two cases. He is asked to find a killer’s alibi and to find a charalatan with a penchant for scamming the vulnerable out of a lot of money.

It’s curious that Henry Swann doesn’t describe himself as a private investigator per se. He just finds people and things, that’s all. He doesn’t solve crimes and he isn’t responsible for anyone involved in anything considered a crime. He finds things – do you understand the difference? Yeh, I’m not sure he does either, although he makes a valiant attempt to convince himself and others of the distinction. It’s probably part of his charm.

His charm, albeit a ‘doesn’t give a toss’ and ‘take it or leave it’ kind of charm is what makes him such a compelling character. Swann really doesn’t give two monkeys, and don’t we know it.  The paradox is of course is that he is drawn into the crime, mystery or case, despite said attitude.

Another fascinating aspect is the relationship or rather reluctant partnership between Swann and the disbarred lawyer Goldblatt. Goldblatt is a little bit like the greasy oddball you have to hire because you can’t afford a decent legal representative. He often walks both sides of the line.

I was pleasantly surprised by this read. I can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by Salzberg. He has this way of combining a Sam Spadey feel with a noirish vibe to create an engaging read. What’s even more interesting is the way the author doesn’t deliver or rather doesn’t facilitate an ending the reader might expect. Not a happy one, a sad one nor a cliffhanger. Instead it’s an ending with a sense of realism. In life there is no perfect storyline, so why should there be one in fiction, right?

It’s mystery crime fiction that nods in the direction of the devil may care attitude of 1940s private eyes with a noirish vibe and to boot is dunked in realism.

Tour Participants:

Click this link to visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Charles Salzberg. There will be 6 giveaway winners. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. There will be five (5) 2nd Prize winners of one (1) Print Edition of Swann’s Down (U.S. Mailing Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2019 and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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#BlogTour The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery by Malia Zaidi

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery by Malia Zaidi. It’s a murder mystery interwoven with the complex societal rules and hierarchy of the upper echelon.

About the Author

Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

Follow @MaliaZaidi on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, Visit maliazaidi.com or princessandpen.com

Buy The Golden Hour

About the book

London 1927

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbour has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own.

With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.

Review

As Evelyn circumnavigates the emotional complexity of the relationships between herself and her family members, especially her aunts, she finds quite a few obstacles in her way. Then seemingly out of nowhere and without reason a young maid is murdered.

It all appears to be connected to Elderbrooke Park, a retreat that a family member is helping to set up. A retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This is the latest in a long line of distractions for Aunt Iris, a way to cope with the grief of losing her son. A son, missing since 1916, along with thousands of other poor souls in the Great War.

The loved ones who are left behind are left in a limbo when they receive an MIA notification. Somewhere in their hearts there is a tiny spark of hope, born out of desperation, that their son, husband or brother might still be alive. Simultaneously they know that their child, husband, loved one is buried in anonymity with his brothers in arms under layers of once sodden now dried earth in a foreign country across the sea.

Zaidi brings up a few poignant points up about the veterans of the Great War. It’s actually tragic to realise that the perception and generalisation of war veterans hasn’t changed much. They are considered untrustworthy, volatile and emotionally unstable. The communities, people and country they fought for treat them like a bad memory, an ill omen and perhaps most importantly like a reminder of what they have lost. It’s unfortunate that a century later this still remains a problem for veterans.

Don’t be fooled by the cover, which implies a flighty fun read. It doesn’t accurately represent the depth of the character and plot development. It’s a murder mystery interwoven with the complex societal rules and hierarchy of the upper echelon.

The Lady Evelyn Mysteries remind me of a combination of Christie’s world of the aristocracy and Anne Perry’s drawn out plots. The first gives a certain hierarchy to the setting and the relationships, and the latter takes the readers on a journey through the many levels and doors of said hierarchy.

Buy The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery (#4) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: BookBaby; pub date 26 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy A Poisonous Journey (Lady Evelyn Mystery #1) at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.

Buy A Darker Shore (Lady Evelyn Mystery #2) at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.

Buy The Study of Silence (Lady Evelyn Mystery #3) at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.

The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve

I really enjoyed this intriguing crime mystery, perhaps because the main character is trying to live their best life, despite the many obstacles in their way.

Charlotte takes the brave step into independence and severs the ties between herself and her family in an attempt to live how she wants and love whom she wants. That life is being Leo, because for all intent and purposes he is a man waiting to walk free from the physical constraints of his female body. Free to love. Free to partake in the pleasures of a physical and sexual relationship. And this is where the story becomes a tale of crime, murder, unrequited passion and jealousy.

What Reeve captures really well is the inequality of gender in that particular time period, although to be fair some things haven’t changed much. He describes the privilege Leo enjoys as a man and then the oppression Charlotte has to endure in equal measures as a woman.

Although in our day and age it is considered more politically correct to assign the correct personal pronoun to Leo, I believe to do the story justice one has to speak of both Charlotte as a woman and Leo as the man Charlotte lives as and is on the inside. It’s important to acknowledge the difficulty, struggle and opposition Charlotte experiences because of her brave choice to live as the man she knows herself to be on the inside. The other side of the coin is the constant fear Leo lives with, because he fears he will be discovered. It would mean prison.

I’m a little disappointed this has been put under the genre of erotic transgender fiction on at least one major retailer. First of all any eroticism is only hinted at and secondly it means a lot of potential readers may not even consider reading this really well-written historical crime fiction story. It’s a cracking read.

I sincerely hope this is the first of many Leo Stanhope books and I’m looking forward to the second in the series, The Anarchist’s Club, in May.

Buy The House on Half Moon Street (Leo Stanhope #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; pub date Dec. 2018

Preorder/Buy The Anarchist’s Club (Leo Stanhope #2) at Amazon Uk (pub date 2 May 2019)

Read my review of The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve.

Follow Alex Reeves @storyjoy or @BloomsburyRaven onTwitter