The Art Of Death by David Fennell – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

Death is an art, and he is the master . . .

Three glass cabinets appear in London’s Trafalgar Square containing a gruesome art installation: the floating corpses of three homeless men. Shock turns to horror when it becomes clear that the bodies are real.

The cabinets are traced to @nonymous – an underground artist shrouded in mystery who makes a chilling promise: MORE WILL FOLLOW.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Grace Archer escaped a notorious serial killer. Now, she and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must hunt down another.

As more bodies appear at London landmarks and murders are livestreamed on social media, their search for @nonymous becomes a desperate race against time. But what Archer doesn’t know is that the killer is watching their every move – and he has his sights firmly set on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Art Of Death is an extremely sinister crime thriller where the victims are displayed as works of art around London. Grace Archer is heading the police team who are trying to find the perpetrator but she has more to deal with than just the crime. She is in a new position, in a station where she doesn’t expect to be made welcome after she had to arrest her predecessor. She also has to care for her ailing grandfather, her only family.

She does have her friends in the team though, Quinn who wasn’t one of her predecessor’s biggest fans and Klara, who is more than capable of ignoring snide comments and smirks. 

It was a novel where you got to meet some of the victims rather than their killer. You could see how they were coerced to their deaths and with some of them the horror they experienced when they realised they had been duped.  And with the others, I  felt sadness at knowing that they wouldn’t have their happy evening.

There were a few times early in the book that I felt I had missed an earlier novel, but it was just a different style of writing. Both Grace’s and Quinn’s past are revealed much later in the novel. Most of the novel does focus on Grace but there poignant scenes that featured another victim. I felt quite tense reading these, hoping for a happy ending.

Not as believable as many crime thrillers but very entertaining and I read it very quickly. I hope that this book will become a series, I see huge potential for Grace, Quinn and a hopefully united team.

What Will Burn by James Oswald – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The eleventh book in the Sunday Times-bestselling Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers.

The charred remains of an elderly woman are discovered in a burned-out game-keepers cottage, hidden away in woodland to the west of Edinburgh. Clearly no accidental fire, Detective Inspector Tony McLean suspects that neither is this simply a grim arson attack. There is far more to the victim than her humble surroundings might suggest, and something ritualistic to her horrific murder.

Nor will it be the only case of death by fire that Tony and his team will be faced with. This is only the beginning, and with such evil clouding the air, Tony begins to wonder what else will burn . . . 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. What Will Burn is the latest book in the Inspector McLean series set in Edinburgh and one I was looking forward to reading. It is a series where I have an interest in all of the characters, not just the lead and the crimes are always a little sinister. In this book the crime appears to be connected to witchcraft.

I have been fascinated by witchcraft and the trials for years, since hearing about the local Pendle Hill legends when I was at school. The interludes that form part of the backstory in this book made me think of those straightaway. The cruelty and superstition in those interludes were just enough for the reader to see and understand the manipulation of some of the characters in the modern day murders.

Most of the novel concerns McLean but Janie Harrison also has a prominent role. Recently promoted by the new Chief Superintendent, Gail Elmwood, she is a great sidekick to the newly demoted McLean. While he is lucky to keep his job and has Gail to thank for it she is very demanding of his time and attention. To the extent that she is just as intimidating as Tommy Fleming, the obnoxious lawyer who features heavily in this book. I struggled to decide who I disliked most. 

There are some graphic and unusual deaths and unsurprisingly the team are baffled even though they do have outside help. But this also added to the intrigue with hints of what could come in the future. And not just from people but also one of the animals which had quite a prominent presence.

This series is very different to others that I read. Not only are the police team recurring characters but there are a few others too, Madame Rose, Dalgleish and also a character that featured in the author’s other series. This was Izzy, a character I loved and would like to see developed more. With the ending of this novel I can definitely see that happening.

Fatal Isles by Maria Adolfsson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A remote island. A brutal murder. A secret hidden in the past . . .

In the middle of the North Sea, between the UK and Denmark, lies the beautiful and rugged island nation of Doggerland.

Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby has returned to the main island, Heimö, after many years in London and has worked hard to become one of the few female police officers in Doggerland.

So, when she wakes up in a hotel room next to her boss, Jounas Smeed, she knows she’s made a big mistake. But things are about to get worse: later that day, Jounas’s ex-wife is found brutally murdered. And Karen is the only one who can give him an alibi.

The news sends shockwaves through the tight-knit island community, and with no leads and no obvious motive for the murder, Karen struggles to find the killer in a race against time.

Soon she starts to suspect that the truth might lie in Doggerland’s history. And the deeper she digs, the clearer it becomes that even small islands can hide deadly secrets . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read quite a lot of translated fiction and Fatal Isles was the best that I have read for a long time. I thought the island was fictional but after research I discovered that Doggerland was a submerged area of land in the North Sea. But the setting, the inhabitants, customs and often inclement weather all came from the author’s imagination.

The storyline was absolutely fascinating. The murder of an extremely unpopular woman who was also the ex wife of a leading detective. You would think there would be any number of suspects, with the number of people who didn’t like her but the small team are only concerned with one and that is to prove innocence rather than guilt. The suspect does have an alibi in Karen but understandably when you get to know more about him you can see why she is reluctant to come forward. Because of his personality as well as his position in the force.

Karen was a different character to what I expected, older for one thing and far from perfect. Like many she has a troubled past, details of this are revealed towards the end of the novel. But she is loyal, caring and willing to help many that others would judge or ignore.

The police team in this book are all hardworking but not close. There are grudges and some resentment, a few of them are not that likeable but they were there for each other when needed. I am definitely interested in seeing how the relationship dynamic progresses further into the series.

Last One At The Party by Bethany Clift – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book


It’s December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM (‘Six Days Maximum’ – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself). 

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she’s completely alone?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A year ago I would never have expected to read a book about a pandemic during a pandemic. I am glad that I put  any concerns aside and read this novel, even though at times it did feel a little strange. 

It takes place during 2023 and 2024, when the world’s population is wiped out by a pandemic called 6DM. Named so because the maximum days you can expect to survive is six. As you would expect Covid-19 is mentioned but only with regards to social distancing and face masks etc. The unnamed narrator is the only survivor as far as she knows and she is aware that she needs to adapt as quickly as possible to try and find a way to survive.

I don’t really read dystopian fiction, nor do I read chick-lit. There were times I felt this book covered both genres. Especially when she was helping herself to all the designer gear, expensive body lotions and fine foods in Harrods. But this part of the novel didn’t last long, when she had to accept that everybody she cared about was no longer there. It briefly helped her cope with her heartbreaking scenes at having to  accept that she has lost everyone she cared about, but she soon realised it wasn’t practical. From then on she became a different person, more likeable and after she found Lucky the dog more focused on her own and his survival.

With flashbacks to her early life, the things that worried her then combined with the many things she had to cope with at the present time, you could really see her character development. I think she coped a lot better than I would do, I would have taken the pill! Everything she had to see, her parents ,her husband, neighbours and friends, the starving animals that were survivors by the only means possible, the thousands of bodies. There were a lot things that I am still thinking about a few days after finishing reading.

This is such a hard hitting but good book to read, and strangely it also made me smile. Especially at the beginning with the constant u- turns and antics concerning government. 

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

What secrets are hidden within the walls of a desolate farmhouse in a forgotten corner of Lapland?

Early spring has its icy grip on Ödesmark, a small village in northernmost Sweden, abandoned by many of its inhabitants. But Liv Björnlund never left. She lives in a derelict house together with her teenage son, Simon, and her ageing father, Vidar. They make for a peculiar family, and Liv knows that they are cause for gossip among their few remaining neighbours.

Just why has Liv stayed by her domineering father’s side all these years? And is it true that Vidar is sitting on a small fortune? His questionable business decisions have made him many enemies over the years, and in Ödesmark everyone knows everyone, and no one ever forgets.

Now someone wants back what is rightfully theirs. And they will stop at nothing to get it, no matter who stands in their way…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always find that there is a feeling of claustrophobia with books that are set in locations such as The Last Snow. In this book that area is a remote area of Lapland called Ödesmark. It is where Liv has lived all her life with her father Vidar and her son Simon. They do seem to have a strange relationship, not that friendly to each other,  but you do see a caring side at times. When Simon massages his grandfathers hands and even though it could also be called controlling, the way Vidar always took Liv to work. And it becomes evident that this meant a lot to him later in the book.

Liam is determined to stay clean and out of trouble, he wants to provide a safe and stable environment for his daughter. But his brother Gabriel has other ideas and is prepared and capable of doing anything to get his own way.

The novel is captivating, the flashbacks to Liv’s childhood and her teenage years provide a lot of insight into why her family life is the way it was. The attitude of the locals to all of the family, the suspicion and the bitterness and gossip all provide a lot of tension. The only character  who showed Liv and Liam any warmth was their boss who seemed to go with his instinct rather than listen to rumour. Most of the antagonism was connected to money that Vidar was rumoured to have.

It’s one of those novels where you do struggle to like the characters. Often unfriendly and angry but Liv did seem to be more approachable in the second half of the novel. And I did have a lot of sympathy for Liam and wanted him to achieve his dream. 

I’m looking forward to reading more by this  author.