The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl – Translated by Don Bartlett – Blog Tour Review.

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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.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
As soon as I started reading The Ice Swimmer I felt like was in the company of old friends.I had only met the characters once previously, in Faithless, but Lena, Gunnarstranda and Frølich are so easy to know and like. Probably because they are shown as normal people who have everyday issues.
Lena is the lead character again on the two cases that are being investigated. She is a brilliant and dedicated officer but her personal life is a disaster and she now also has had devastating news about her health.  Even though the team are close they don’t discuss personal issues and she is dealing with the situation on her own. Frølich has a smaller role in this novel but he is a character who nobody can control, no longer a member of the police but Lena and Gunnarstranda still include him when they feel he can help. It would be foolish to underestimate his worth.
They are up against the worst type of people. Influential politicians who have enough power and wealth to halt any investigation into their lives and also the media. Who are capable of inventing a story and causing trouble if they want to. There is also unwelcome interference from other security forces which is upsetting for Lena.
Norwegian crime series seem so different to other crime fiction. I’ve never read any other that has me googling food and I find it astonishing that a country can have extremely cold temperatures and still function.
This series is now one of my favourite from Orenda and I’m looking forward to more.

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Perfect Match by D. B Thorne – Blog Tour Review.

Perfect Match Cover

About the Book

When Solomon’s sister is found drugged and in a coma after an online date, Solomon can’t believe this was just a terrible accident. Determined to find out what happened to his sister, and with the police unwilling to help, Solomon begins to investigate on his own. He soon uncovers a rash of similar cases of women who have been found brutally murdered or assaulted after an online date. There is a predator out there working the streets of London, preying on young women. Solomon sets out to bring him to justice, putting him on a collision course with a deadly killer who is fiendishly clever and more twisted than anyone could possibly imagine…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
When Solomon’s sister ends up in hospital after a night out he is understandably annoyed and upset that the police are not interested in investigating it. He rightly, thinks that it’s because his sister doesn’t matter because of her family. He, along with a group of friends decide to investigate themselves and they pick up links that others may miss. His friends are all ‘geeks’ who compile questions for quiz shows. Solomon is a recluse, he has never met any of them and all contact is via the web with no cameras switched on.
I have never met anybody like Solomon before. He struggles to cope with the way he looks, doesn’t always come across as the nicest person but he is devoted to his family who have never had it easy. Out of all of them he has made the best of his life. He definitely manages to get on the wrong side of the officer he has contact with, Fox. But she has under estimated him and he soon manages to outwit and manipulate her.
Fox is an officer who would be easy to get on the wrong side of. I disliked her intensely at first but when I read more and met her superior officer I did have some empathy. Just. What the author has demonstrated very well is how stretched the police are, and how some cases are disregarded because of another that is classed more important. He has also shown a side that I hope doesn’t exist, that those of a higher rank disregard the lower ranked officers.
I thought that this novel would be similar to many others that are on the market but found it to be original. Full of surprises, I was wrong footed most of the time.It’s clever, with the storyline and the intellect. It made me look online for clarification often. It’s slightly Fargoesque at times with its random violence and offbeat humour. I will be interested in seeing what the author does next. Recommended.

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Visions – Same Face Different Place Book Two by Helen J Christmas – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Visions is a psychological thriller set in rural England. The year is 1985. It’s been 12 years since Eleanor escaped London, discarding the fragments of her tragic past to discover a new life. She is hiding in a remote country village, a place where she truly believes she is safe.
Her neighbour, James Barton-Wells is desperate to save his historic country house from ruin but this has attracted the attention of a wealthy property developer from London whose seemingly altruistic offer to ‘bankroll the restoration’ masks a sinister game plan. Suspicious of his motives, Eleanor consults her friend, Charles Bailey. But Charlie has his own story, fearful that Perry Hampton is the man who undoubtedly destroyed his own life.
The characters are drawn together in a battle to save Westbourne House, oblivious to the menace that surrounds them. Threats, stalking and deception lie at the root of the Hamptons evil. Yet it is not until Eleanor comes face to face with them, she recognises a deadly enemy from the past.
Can Eleanor unravel the clues that conceal an evil crime committed in the 70s? This book will draw you into a world of suspense with shocking psychological twists you will never see coming

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received.
This is book two in the Visions series. Eleanor has moved on the best that she can with her young son Elijah. She has built a strong friendship with James and his two children, Avalon and William. She finally feels safe. But James has severe financial issues combined with various structural problems with his home and his attempts at solving these places Eleanor, Elijah and his own family in danger.
I found this novel to be a lot more intimidating than the previous one. But there are also more people who are willing to help, some of whom have already had dealings with the Hamptons. This family and some of the other powerful and wealthy people who appear are very unpleasant and will stop at nothing to get what they want. The control that they have over business, local decisions and people’s lives is frightening.
I enjoyed reading about the 1980s. I was the same age as Avalon and I listened to the same music, although I had completely forgotten about the singer Divine, and shopped in the same high street stores. I could also remember with prompting various political issues at the time
Many of the characters who appear were also in book one, their storylines are ongoing but much of the storyline is addressed so you could read this and follow it even if you hadn’t read the earlier book.
There are further books in the series, it isn’t a cliff hanger ending as such but there is still plenty for Eleanor and the ones she loves to deal with. And I hope that at least one member of the Hampton family get what they deserve.

About the Author

Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place’ in 2011 and published her debut novel, ‘Beginnings’ in 2012. Visions was the second book of the series and published in 2013; a suspense novel which explores British culture and social history in the 80s as well as the most evil traits people are capable of. The 16th Century cottage in which Helen lives with her husband (restored in 1991) provided endless inspiration for Visions, along with some very special places in Sussex that she loves. Writing is something she fits around her family and social life. Helen is a self-employed web designer and works from home with her husband, Peter. They enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a beautiful white cat, though Helen confesses to have dreamed up many of her storylines, whilst walking Barney around the nearby beach and park.
Social Media Links –
Website: http://www.samefacedifferentplace.com
Blog: https://samefacedifferentplace.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.helenchristmas/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFDPBeginnings
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5838032.Helen_J_Christmas
Pinterest Book 2: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/helenxmas/same-face-different-place-visions-book-2-by-helen-/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helenchristmas7/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dCVK0TcL3w

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The Fear by C. L. Taylor – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Fear, but it certainly wasn’t to feel as repulsed, sickened and in fear of the man who could manipulate all three of the women/ girls who appear in the novel.
At first, before Lou’s diary entries revealed more details, the reader is just aware that she was in love, excited that her boyfriend was taking her on a weekend break. It is only when you see his mood swings and violence that you see exactly what he was doing. There were plenty of mind games, and it is probably these along with the violence towards her and others that made me feel so on edge. And the ‘fear’ when she realised that his plan is more than a holiday.
Lou, aged 32, shows all the damage that was caused by what she went through. Not being able to maintain a relationship and the guilt at not testifying all come to a head when she finds that he is doing exactly the same again with Chloe and she takes drastic action to ensure that Chloe does not go through what she did.I was desperate for Lou and Chloe to be safe and for Wendy whose true identity isn’t revealed at first, to get some answers and be happy. Wendy’s role in the novel was light-hearted relief. She did make me smile quite often, I never knew what she was going to do next.
Yes, the novel is far-fetched, I struggled at first with the way that both fathers were portrayed as louts who had no respect for wives and daughters but this is a compelling read. There was a certain point in the novel when I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.
Recommended.

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Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham – Guest Post – Blog Tour.

 

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Today it is my pleasure to welcome Vicky Newham to my blog to talk about her lead character Maya Rahman. Her debut novel Turn A Blind Eye was published on Thursday 5th April. I loved this novel and my review is here

Guest Post

Introducing DI Maya Rahman

In crime fiction, it’s often difficult to come up with a ‘fresh’ cop protagonist. The cliché is that many are socially awkward, cannot hold down a relationship and drink too much. In addition, many are white males. I’ve been fortunate with my main character, as she evolved in my mind naturally and subverts many of these stereotypes.
Back in 2002, when I was teaching in East London, many of my students, colleagues and neighbours were from Bangladeshi backgrounds. I went out of my way to make friends with many of them and learnt about the aspects of their lives that were different from mine. As a result, I always wanted the main character in Turn a Blind Eye to be a Bangladeshi female. Maya Rahman was born in Sylhet and came to the UK with her family in 1982. She was four, with an older sister (Jasmina) and brother (Sabbir). The family lived in two rooms in a top-floor flat in Brick Lane, where many of their compatriots settled.
When the book begins, Maya is a detective inspector in the Met and she’s faced racism and sexism to reach her rank. When she arrived in London, she was an outsider. For many, she was too ‘different’. Having lived in Tower Hamlets ever since, she’s inevitably absorbed some ‘Britishness’. For some in her community, Maya’s forgotten her roots. They have mixed feelings about her education, relationship status and cultural identity. In the novel, Maya is single-minded, caring and empathic. Her mother struggled to adapt to life in the UK whereas her father thrived. There are family secrets and sadnesses which affect Maya still, but she’s in a happy, long-term relationship and we see her drawing on these aspects of her life to solve the crimes she’s investigating.

About the Book

A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.

A headmistress is found strangled in an East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.

You can purchase the book from usual places including amazon or if you fancy a signed hardback you can also buy a copy from Goldsboro

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