Snow Blind by Ragnar Jónasson

imageAri Thór Arason is a new police recruit who has just got his first position within the police in a village called Siglufjördur in Northern Iceland. He moves there, leaving behind his girlfriend Kristín. He feels lonely, both parents are dead and he misses his girlfriend. He isn’t sure if their relationship will survive him being away from Reykjavik.
He accepts the nickname of the Reverend in good faith when he realises it is public knowledge that he studied theology before going into the police force. But despite the affectionate term he feels very much an outsider especially when the two cases that they have to investigate have taken place in a village where everybody knows each other and everybody insists that there are no secrets. But Ari refuses to accept what he is told and continues to dig into the past.
It’s very claustrophobic. I can’t really imagine how I would feel to be trapped in a town by bad weather. Where the only way in and out is through a tunnel and an avalanche has made inaccessible. A feeling that must be so much worse when you don’t know anybody and don’t know who to trust.
I loved the way Ari would think of something or ask a question and you didn’t find out straight away what he discovered. Just a little enticement to read a little bit more. And I loved to read about the Icelandic tradition regarding books at Christmas. It sounds wonderful. It is beautifully written (and translated by Quentin Bates) and I’m looking forward to reading the second book Night Blind very soon.

My copy is a limited edition signed hardback (no 134). It will be treasured.

Follow Me

imageFollow Me is a crime novel that focuses on social media and how influential it has become but also a reminder of how dangerous it can be if you interact with the wrong person.
At times I found it bizarre, I do use social media but not to the extent that Freddie did. I wasn’t that sure what some of it was, there is a lot more about than just Facebook and Twitter. But I did know a lot more about it than the police that had to find the murderer. I found it a bit unbelievable that the police were so inept, the only one who showed any capabilities was Nas and she was guided a lot by Freddie.
I have seen a few reviews where the reader had failed to connect with Freddie but I quite liked her. She had a tough childhood and something happened with her and Nas when they were teenagers that she still felt bad about years later. You do find out what this was towards the end of the book. She was trying to get a paid job in journalism with little success and was working in a coffee shop doing a job that she hated.
If you like your crime fiction to be the usual police procedural then this novel probably wouldn’t be for you. But if you fancy something a little different, amusing but still gritty then give it a try.

Half a World Away

imageHalf a World Away was a great reintroduction to Cath Staincliffe’s novels. The book is about new graduate Lorelei who goes on holiday to China. She sets up a blog and posts regular diary posts with photographs and emails her family regularly. And then it all stops. The blog isn’t updated, phone calls go to voicemail and emails remain unanswered. When her parents feel they are not getting enough answers they fly over to try and find her.
The biggest thing for me with this novel was how different life was in China to how it is here. No freedom of speech, people afraid to get involved in case the police or people with power became aware of it. Jo and Tom are being controlled by the Chinese police, they are held back repeatedly as they try and search for their daughter. Jo also has problems at home to deal with as well. Her husband has been made redundant, and her youngest child has mood swings.
I found this a quick fascinating read, I wanted to know what had happened to her and also because I was learning about a country that I knew nothing about. Despite the police, the food and the climate its appeal was still there. I didn’t really think of it as a crime novel. It is a crime investigation but mostly it is about the desperation felt by a parent in finding their daughter.
Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

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The Blurb

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

My thoughts

My first reaction to this brilliant novel was that I was so glad that I was no longer a teenager, even though when I was, I thankfully didn’t know anybody like any of Sarah Pinborough’s characters. Becca was the most likeable of them, she had her faults but she wanted to put things right with the people who mattered to her. I detested Natasha. Even though she had been dead for 13 minutes it was hard to feel any sympathy and liking for somebody who was so self obsessed. There were a lot of twists, I was only really convinced of one persons innocence. The level of cunning displayed by the culprit was chilling.
It’s very clever YA fiction/ psychological crime that anybody who likes either genre should try.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via netgalley.

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

imageLost Girls is the third book in the series that features detective Kim Stone. I have read them all and this is the one that has made me feel more anxious than any of the others.
Two young girls are kidnapped. It has happened before and was handled by another team. Tragically in that case only one girl came home. Kim is determined that this wouldn’t happen again. She feels under more pressure because one of the mothers has asked for her to lead the investigation, they knew each other when they were in foster care.
You are aware who the kidnappers are and they are very unpleasant. But you are not made aware of everything, an unidentified third person is hinted at but nothing more. The journalist is a thorn in Kim’s side. The team have been ordered to keep the current kidnapping case away from the press but she is determined to get a story regardless of the consequences. But she did show that she was capable of humanity regarding another situation.
I loved the relationship between Kim and Matt, the negotiator who has been been brought in to try and get the girls home. I really hope that he is a character who appears in future novels. One of the strongest points of this series is the relationship between the team. Even though she isn’t the easiest person to work for they are devoted to her.
I have always enjoyed a detective series, seeing the characters and relationships develop. Sometimes I’ve not been keen on the odd book and sometimes I have a break from a series and return to it after a few years. This is a series that I am now hooked on and I’m really looking forward to the next book.