The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

One blustery October morning in a quiet Copenhagen suburb, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts. 

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead; the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. But the man who confessed to her murder is already behind bars and the case long since closed. 

Soon afterwards, a second woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the killer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The author of this book created the very successful TV drama The Killing. It is a programme that I have never watched. After reading this book I think it’s one I will be watching soon. If I hadn’t been aware of this I would still feel that this book has been written with TV in mind. I could see nearly every scene like it was on the TV. 

It starts in 1989, but only for a chapter. After that you are in modern day and I soon forgot to think about what the connection could be. It was only in the last third of the book that the events are mentioned again. And you start to realise why the murders are happening.  It is not the only part to think about. There is also Hess, I was aching to know why he had been removed from his position with Europol and when it was revealed it wasn’t what I expected.

The murders are gruesome and they are very imaginative. When you got to know more about the victims and their families you became aware of how bad life is for some families. And how you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. A few cops were unpleasant and should have had a different career but I did like Thulin and Hess, even if I didn’t get to know them that well. I had two suspects and I was correct on my second choice. But not for the right reasons. 

This is an author I would read again, and I will definitely watch this if it is televised. Along with The Killing.


Changeling by Matt Wesolowski – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.
Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…
Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Changeling could be read as standalone novel but I would recommend reading Six Stories and Hydra first. Not just because they are great books but it will also make you familiar with the format and Scott King. Changeling is my favourite one out of the three.

I struggle to describe how this novel made me feel. And how it was responsible for lost sleep. In my wisdom, I decided to start this book late one night. With its level of eeriness, unexplained events, sounds and threats from, bizarrely, a forest added to a child that vanished into thin air gave me plenty to think about. When I should have been asleep. Not gazing at the ceiling listening for taps and knocks.

As always, little was as it seemed and each interview revealed more about the family. I am probably one of many who was quick to jump to conclusions. Just like the media and locals did. When more was revealed I felt a little remorse. A strange feeling, when it is after all a novel.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened. I have never felt so stunned by the ending of a book before. I have never still been gazing into space two days later trying to find the words for a review. I’m sure it will be one I am thinking about for quite a while.


The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories. 

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds. 

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. When Audrey travels to Skye to help capture the folktales from the islanders she isn’t prepared for what faces her. She is running away from her life in London, the details why are revealed as you read. But she is heading into danger. A danger that it is unclear whether it comes from the legends or reality.

This book had everything I enjoy. I do know that the fairy tales I read as a child were made less intimidating by the Brothers Grimm. The ones that are mentioned in the book have really ignited my interest in the original stories. It was interesting to see the frustration felt by this practice as well as the determination of others that the legends should be forgotten.

I was aware of how women were regarded at this time, some of the changes that were starting to emerge at time were part of the storyline. They helped create a true picture of how life was for Audrey with her father. The history of the cleansing of Shetland I had never heard of. I was shocked by the level of callousness and disregard for the islanders. Sadly it was also believable. The author has provided links to more information about this which I plan to look at in the future.

The mystery of the missing girls and the storyline concerning the disappearance of Audrey’s mother is just one small part of this novel. It interested me and I was aching to know what happened but for me the fascination was the legends, gaining trust from the community and the superstitions.

Red Snow by Will Dean – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. My plan to read Dark Pines before reading this sequel didn’t work out but I had no problems reading this as a standalone. There are references to a previous case but no spoilers and I had no problem with not knowing any characters. I also avoided reading the synopsis. All I knew about the series was what I had seen on social media and what I learned from attending an event that featured the author last year.

I have to mention the climate. Temperatures as low as -22 are not something I can imagine. The impact that the weather conditions and the short days had on people’s lives. That people and animals can freeze to death. It gave me plenty to think about when I was outside shivering at zero degrees.

The characters, especially Tuva, all stand out as being original. Tuva is one who has made her way on to my favourite heroine list. She is funny, warm, rum loving and full of guilt over what she never said to her mother when she had the chance. I enjoyed reading about her deafness, the downside to her hearing aids, her frustration at other peoples obsession with them and her ability to lip read was a technique she used to her advantage. She isn’t the only character I liked. There was also the Grimberg family, especially Cici, and the wood cutting sisters.

Unusually for me, I didn’t try and solve the murder as I read. I just concentrated on the characters, the weather and the humour. I have never seen characters so visually described before. Pissy Knickers, Cheekbones and Facelift are just a handful of them.

I will be reading Dark Pines soon but I really hope that there will be book three.

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

She must find Annabelle. Before it’s too late.

THE MISSING
Nora’s daughter Annabelle has disappeared, last seen on her way home from a party.

THE LOST
Gullspång’s inexperienced police are wilting under the national media spotlight – and its residents desperate for answers.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING . . .
Stockholm DI Charlie Lager must return home to find Annabelle, and then get out of town as soon as she can. Before everyone discovers the truth about her . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. When I first started reading this book I had a feeling that it would be like many others. A police officer who has alcohol problems, is a loner and has a troubled past. But I didn’t have this feeling for long. The novel is much more than that.

Charlie is everything mentioned, but unlike many she does admit to having a problem and she does try to make the best of her life. Having to return to her home town isn’t what she wants but she is relieved that nobody recognises her. It had me wondering what she was hiding from and whether what happened to her still affected her now.

The narrative concerns the disappearance of Annabelle. She has a very strict mother, a more sympathetic father and for somebody so young indulges in a lot of substances. But you can see why, in a way. She is clever, beautiful and misunderstood. Most of all she wants to escape, just like Charlie did.

It is a town that has many inhabitants who are heavy drinkers. It has no prospects, limited employment with bullying employers and appears unfriendly. You read about many places and think it would be nice to visit. This isn’t one of them.

Alongside the main narrative there are flashbacks to what happened to Annabelle on the day she disappeared. This part is all about her. You see what she is thinking, how she sees her future and how she copes with her family life. This was one of the more unusual and fascinating parts to the novel, getting to see how she interacted with people who were suspects.

There are also sections that tell the story of Nora and Alice. These were chilling and I spent much of the novel working out how it connected to modern day.

For The Missing is book one in the series and I’m looking forward to the follow up later in the year.