#BlogTour Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen, translated by Don Bartlett. ‘A vintage classic from the award-winning, multi-million bestselling Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen, available in English for the very first time.’

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. 

Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour); Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

About the book

Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.

Review

This book finds Varg just out of rehab and ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of the toxicity of the world of crime and criminals he appears to be surrounded by. The cold case of a missing child, the drowning of a young man and the disappearance of a young woman.

Varg’s freshly found stability is shaken, not stirred, by a complex combination of cases. On the surface they are seemingly unrelated until Varg starts drawing the threads together an making connections, where other people see none he starts unraveling a cleverly constructed cloak of silence.

I’m pretty sure I said this about the last Varg Veum book, but this is the best yet. It really hit the nail on the head for me. This psychological thriller is paced meticulously and superbly executed. A random set of circumstances equals an insidious deadly plot.

The author delivers a scathing commentary on the inequality of life, especially when it comes weighing up the worth of a human being and actual monetary profit. That parallel is drawn across multiple thread, whilst connecting a strong set of characters.

Simultaneously it has the Nordic Crime flair Staalesen is known for, and of course the acerbic personality of his character Varg is a delight as always. As always a riveting read.

Buy Bitter Flowers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comAt Orenda Books.

#BlogTour Smoke Screen by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst, translated by Megan Turney

About the Author/s

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense.

Follow @LierHorst on Twitter, Visit jlhorst.comon Goodreadson AmazonBuy Smoke Screen

Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger ’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. 

Follow @EngerThomas on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon,

Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger ’s first co-written thriller. They are currently working on the third book in the Blix & Ramm series.

About the book

Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion and the city is put on terrorist alert. Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Semplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…

The second in the hard-boiled and furiously compelling Blix & Ramm series, created by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst, two of the biggest names in Nordic Noir. 

Review

Emma Ramm just happens to be at the epi-centre of what turns out to be a tragedy and also the restart of a cold case. What she doesn’t realise is that these events become a trifecta of events that change her life forever. They also subconsciously drive her need to help solve the cold case, even it it means putting herself in danger.

Alex Blix is more than perturbed by the fact the mother of a missing girl has become the victim of said tragedy – not due to the nature of the event, but more because her death serves as a reminder that there was never a solution to the decade old child abduction.

I think I’ve said this before about the Horst/Enger writing team, what makes them so good is that you can’t tell that there are two distinctive voices, which they both have in their individual writing ventures. They meld their voices so effectively that as a reader you forget they are a duo, which is actually what you want in a collaboration.

In this second part of the Ramm and Blix series certain patterns in relationships are beginning to appear, so it will be interesting to see where that goes. It’s a constantly evolving crime series with a nod of Nordic. 

Buy Smoke Screen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publication Date: pub date 18 Feb 2021 | Orenda Books | Paperback Original | £8.99.  Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#BlogTour The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir

Apparently trying to be more organised has resulted in more disorganisation on my part, so here is the post that was supposed to go out yesterday. Either way it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, translated by Victoria Cribb.About the Author

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.

Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

Follow @evaaegisdottir on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, on Facebook, Buy The Creak on the Stairs

creak on the stairs3

About the book

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.

When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area. Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it ’s too late.

Review

Elma has returned home to Akranes, because of a failed long-term relationship. Back to her parents, her friends and the quiet rural town of her childhood. When the body of a woman is discovered near a local lighthouse the investigation into her death begins to uncover some uncomfortable truths about the men and women she has known her entire life.

The investigation is impeded by her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, one of whom has other things on his mind and the other is determined to undermine the case by protecting certain bigwigs in town. Do they have something to hide?

Meanwhile Elma follows the path and story of the victim all the way back to her childhood. A childhood that appears to be filled with darkness, fear and pain. One that all the adults around her chose to ignore instead of helping her.

It’s a riveting crime read – a story of damaged souls and secrets buried so deep not everyone wants them uncovered.

Although it’s certainly an ending that is controversial in its own way it’s also one that is based in reality and very much one of our time. The futility and frustration is balanced out by complacency and an intrinsic need for certain truths to remain hidden. What matters the truth when the victims can no longer speak for themselves or reputations may be sullied? What matters justice when the deed has been buried in decades of lies, misdirection and denial?

It’s a driven and captivating read, not only due to the excellent plotting, but also because the author doesn’t present readers with a character or victim to root for per se. Instead it’s a case of perfect imperfections, which of course is the reality of life. We are all flawed in some way – some more than others. The question in this piece is whether those flaws excuse the deed or does the deed cause the flaw, and in doing so set a series of tragic events in motion?

This is the first in the Forbidden Iceland series and can’t wait to read the next in the series. Elma is more of a ‘I can feel it in my gut – and fly by the seat of her pants gal’ which makes for an interesting sleuth, especially when combined with the atmospheric feel of this Icelandic Noir.

Buy The Creak on the Stairs at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 14 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orendabooks.co.uk

#BlogTour Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett.

About the Author

One of the fathers 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 he lives in Oslo.

Follow @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon,Visit  kjelloladahl.noBuy Sister

About the Translator

Don Bartlett completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbo and Karl Ove Knausgard. For Orenda he has translated several titles in Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series: We Shall Inherit the Wind, Wolves in the Dark and the Petrona award-winning Where Roses Never Die. He has also translated two books in Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detectives Series for Orenda – Faithless and The Ice Swimmer.

About the book

Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

Review

I enjoyed the fact this wasn’t just a crime read. In this journey of a story the author brings in politics, cultural dynamics and the eternal conflict of loss and grief. It’s meticulously plotted, even if it often seems as if the reader is just along on the ride with Frølich as he tries to navigate a new relationship.

His new love interest asks him to do a friend of hers a favour, whether he can look for the sister of an asylum seeker, a sister who has changed her name and disappeared into the folds of Norway. At the time Frølich thinks there is something off about the way the young woman is unable to answer the majority of his questions, but when his search rattles some cages and has people knocking on his door he is certain there is more to the story.

It’s Nordic noir, a subtle mystery and a scathing critique at times. It points a huge finger right at the inadequacies of asylum systems and the fraudulent practices supported by the complacency and indifference in our societies.

Can I just add, as a side-note, that the chapter with the gynaecologist or indeed that character in particular has left an impression. I wouldn’t necessarily say a good one – more like a creepy uncomfortable experience with a deviant, who has no clue he is on the cusp of deviancy and yet firmly believes he is the overlord of female genitalia.

The author creates this plot within a plot, which doesn’t necessarily bring the reader close to the solution per se, because Dahl is far too wily for that, but it is one heck of a read.

Buy Sister (Oslo Detectives #8) at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 29 Feb. 2020. Buy at Orendabooks.co.uk.

Read my review of The CourierThe Ice Swimmer and Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl.

#BlogTour Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst translated by Anne Bruce – published by Orenda Books.

About the Authors

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense.

Follow @LierHorst on Twitter, Visit jlhorst.comon Goodreadson AmazonBuy Death Deserved

Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger ’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger ’s first co-written thriller.

Follow @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit thomasenger.netBuy Death Deserved

About the book

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missingpersons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flair for the dramatic, and thirst for attention. Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Review

You can’t just end a book like that. That’s not a cliffhanger – that’s hanging readers over the Grand Canyon and pulling them back in after you’ve given them a brief taste of excitement. Just saying.

Blix and Ramm are an unusual coupling, perhaps more so because the past has melded them together forever. Ramm is unaware of the connection at first, but where Blix is concerned it defines the way he relates to and interacts with Emma. The decisions he made many years ago are used as an example of right or wrong, and it has stunted his career path, despite being convinced that he did the right thing.

He is pulled into an extremely violent game of fame based cat and mouse when a celebrity goes missing and he starts to feed one journalist in particular the kind of details that could cost him his career.

It’s Nordic noir, a police procedural crime read. A fast-paced brutal serial killer is determined to leave his mark on society and that storyline is balanced excellently with the personal lives of the main characters. Blix who struggles to connect with his grown daughter and Emma who hides her own imperfections, because only the perfect are lovable, right?

The authors give readers the trepidation of crime, whilst simultaneously showing us the fragility of the human psyche. The result is a compelling read.

You could say that aside from the usual problems, which could arise, a novel written by multiple authors and translated from a foreign language often has to rise to the occasion more so than a one author native language novel. This novel does that successfully. Not only is it written so smoothly that you don’t notice a difference in style or voice – the translation and the edit are spot-on.

When you have read the book do yourself a favour and read the acknowledgement. It’s absolutely hilarious and hands down the funniest acknowledgement I have ever read. Those few pages give insight into the relationship which makes Enger and Horst an extremely successful writing team. I hope this is the first of many. It better be – did I mention how they ended the book?

Buy Death Deserved at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Pub date 6 FEBRUARY 2020 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda.co.uk

#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.

Review

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

Review

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

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund

crow girl

Fair warning, this is fair bit of a slog at over 780 pages, however it helps to know that originally this was published as a trilogy. So The Crow Girl (2010), Hunger Fire (2011) and Pythia’s Instructions (2012) have now been republished as one volume called The Crow Girl.

Interesting tidbit of info, Erik Axl Sund is a nom de plume used by writer duo Hakan Sundquist and Jerker Eriksson.

I think banging it together as one volume, as opposed to the trilogy it was before, was perhaps detrimental to the plot and original intention of the writers. It is quite simply so long that it often appears disjointed and without focus. I can however see how it worked as a trilogy. There is so much going on, during which the reader is pulled in a multitude of directions. So many in fact that there are just too many cooks in the kitchen trying to create the perfect dish. The end result is a lack of structure and a lack of a definitive voice.

It is dark. Actually don’t expect any lightness whatsoever. Erik Axl Sund pulls the reader into a bottomless pit of depravity, which includes some of the truly inhumane moments of the 20th century and quite a few equally deplorable 21st century crimes.

We are talking child and sex trafficking, paedophilia, child abuse, bestiality, child pornography, corruption and torture. There is no fluffy unicorn to balance this out, instead the rest of the time the authors venture into the world of mental health problems and psychological disorders. I admit there are a few tender moments, however they are overpowered by the fact the reader knows what is really going on with the characters.

The real question throughout is who Sofia really is, and what is she guilty of.or rather what does she think she is guilty of? In a story full of death and pain how much of the narrative, in regards to Sofia, is a reaction to the trauma and just her imagination, and how much of it is based in reality?

The Crow Girl is, despite its bleakness and the harsh reality of the crimes within, an attempt to show the devastation and implications of deep-set trauma, especially when experienced in childhood. It is also an attempt to shine a light on the exploitation of children, the corruption and general apathy towards crimes against children, which in turn has led to neglect and a burying of heads in sand on a major scale.

Buy The Crow Girl at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Visit erikaxlsund.comerikaxlsund.com or @erikaxlsund on Facebook

Follow @vintagebooks

#BlogTour Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson

whiteout12

You’ve come to the right place if you fancy a sneaky taste of Nordic Noir and the Blog-Tour for Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson. He is back with another captivating Dark Iceland story featuring his smart as a whip police inspector Ari Thór Arason.

About the Author

Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Follow @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks on Twitter or ragnarjonassonwriter on Facebook

Visit ragnarjonasson.com

Buy Whiteout

About the book

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twentyfive years earlier. As the dark history and the secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

Review

Ragnar Jónasson  brings us another part of the Dark Iceland series with Ari Thór Arason. It is a subtle combination of old school mystery and detective work, with the fresh breeze of Nordic Noir weaving itself through the story.

This time Ari finds himself on the brink of fatherhood, a road which brings up many nostalgic and painful moments for him, whilst trying to discover why two women and one child have suffered similar fates at the same spot in an isolated part of the country.

Is it some kind of mental illness passed on from one family member to the next or is there something more sinister going on. What kind of secrets are being hidden by the people of this small community? Why did Asta return to a place with so many unpleasant memories? Did she really return just to make a grand gesture to accentuate her actions?

The strong and eccentric characters are part and parcel of the charm of this book. The elderly man who has very friendly relationships with young children, the neighbour who always seems to be in the middle of every situation, and the housekeeper with a dangerously sharp tongue.

Then there is the odd couple relationship between Ari and Tómas. As a reader you get the feeling neither of them quite knows which one of them is in charge. Tómas, the mentor, always appears to pull Ari into these complex cases, then throws his weight around a wee bit, but ultimately Ari always takes over and leads the team towards a solution.

Whiteout has a distinctive Christie flair to it, the whole questioning technique a la Poirot with red herrings, abrupt about turns and a solution buried in years of deception and mystery. The author combines his very unique Nordic flair with a vintage recipe for crime.

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

Read Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

Today it is my turn on the Blog-Tour for Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson. Believe you me, you won’t want to miss this one.

About the Author

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

Visit johanagustawsson.com/en/  Follow @JoGustawsson or @Orendabooks on Twitter or on facebook.com/johana.gustawsson/

Buy Block 46

About the book

In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Review

It is a well thought out psychological thriller. One that will drag the readers to places they probably don’t want to go to. From one of the darkest periods in 20th century history to the cries of scared little boys.

The reader is taken from the past to the present and back again as the story progresses. This in itself isn’t unusual, but the where and the why is. Regardless of whether the story is taking place in the past, in the middle of the human quagmire of despair of the Buchenwald concentration camp or in the present searching for a vicious killer, both story-lines are equally captivating. In fact it was so intriguing that I was telling myself to read faster to get to each new chapter.

Gustawsson knows how to make your skin crawl, make you want to cry and make you livid with anger, sometimes all at the same time. She does exactly what one would expect a good storyteller to do, reel her audience in and keep them wanting for more.

Block 46 is abhorrent and it is also quite callous at times. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a psychological thriller weaving threads from a notorious concentration camp all the way to the tortured and abused body of a little innocent child.

The author spins a wicked tale of terror, pain and deception. It is an absorbing combination of history and crime, with a flair of Nordic noir and a nefarious mind behind it all.

Buy Block 46 at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.