First Born by Will Dean – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Despite reading books from Will Dean’s Tuva series this is the first standalone that I have read. It concerns twin sisters, once close but now living in different countries, a distance made greater by a disagreement they struggled to overcome. When the older, more outgoing twin Katie is found dead in her New York apartment Molly has face her fears and travel over to support their parents and accept the loss of her sister.

I have to admit that I found Molly and her obsessions infuriating at times but as she started to adapt to a different way of life in New York she seemed more at ease. But for some reason I still didn’t take to her,or most of the other characters. The only one I really cared for was the smoothie seller Jimmy who seemed more approachable and caring than many of the others. 

I read many crime novels but this was the first that I’ve read where a victim was a twin, I liked the way the author showed how the grieving process seemed different, how the loss affected Molly and also the way it made Katie’s friends feel. Knowing that she was dead but still being able to ‘see’ her. It felt a little strange and unnerving.

I loved the description of New York, somewhere I had the pleasure of visiting once and  I could clearly see the areas around Central Park and Times Square. I remembered seeing it as Molly and her parents did, overawed by its size and grandeur. 

I did see the twists in this novel but knowing didn’t impact on my feelings, I know that this book will just be as successful as the author’s previous novels.

Black River by Will Dean – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Black River is an electrifying return for relentless reporter Tuva Moodyson, from the author of DarkPinesand RedSnow.

FEAR 

Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim is missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Black River is book three in the series, if you are a reader who appreciates getting to know recurring characters I do recommend you read these books in order. Many are a little bizarre! 

Tuva has returned to Gavrik to try and help find her closest friend Tammy. She doesn’t want to be there, has settled into her new life in Malmo and anybody who has read these novels would admit that Gavrik is a little strange. But Tammy is all she has and she is determined to help. However,  she doesn’t have the support of everybody  and is upset that there is more interest in the disappearance of another local woman, one who is Swedish.

Gavrik with it’s inhabitants isn’t somewhere I would like to visit, Tuva does mention a few times that the best thing to do is avoid it. Especially during Midsommer where alcohol and the customs associated with the festival takeover the community. I had to look on YouTube at this festival because the description intrigued me so much. Think May Day with a slightly spooky feel to it. And combined with some extremely creepy locals it isn’t something I would like to attend.

This isn’t a novel where I could work out what had happened to Tammy or who was responsible. It is a novel where I was I intrigued by the intensity, the suspicion and the unfriendliness of the town, and forest. And of course, the mosquitoes and the snakes.

A great addition to the series,I’m interested to see what will happen next. 

My Top Ten Books of 2019

The time has come again to face an impossible task of narrowing the 117 books I have read into a top ten list. As always it was difficult to do but I have managed and I will list them in no particular order. Apart from my favourite book of the year which I will reveal at the end. You can see my review for each book by clicking on the title.

Expectation by Anna Hope.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman.

The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Red Snow by Will Dean

From The City, From The Plough by Alexander Baron

On My Life by Angela Clarke

The Taking Of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman

My Book of 2019

Turbulent Wake by Paul. E Hardisty

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.