Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.I had never read a book by Doug Johnstone before and I can honestly say that I have never read a book quite like Fault Lines before either. I had been a little bit dubious, worrying whether it would be too scientific for me, but they were needless worries. I had no problems at all and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Many people will be familiar with Edinburgh, but the version of Edinburgh in the novel is make-believe, with its addition of a volcanic island in the Firth of Forth. It is here that the body of Tom is discovered by Surtsey.
Surtsey is the main character in the book. She is more flawed than many other characters who feature in other novels with her sometimes heavy drinking, recreational drug taking and her affair with her married boss. But she also was a character who I liked a lot and she was no different to many of the others who featured. As well as her flaws, she also had a conscience. She was devoted to her terminally ill mother and dealt with her situation a lot better than her sister. This side to her softened her a lot and helped me appreciate the depth to her personality.
All of the different characters are believable, not necessarily likeable or innocent but they suited the storyline. I didn’t feel that there was any over exaggeration of any of them. One of the most powerful parts of the novel was the description of the volcano. Combined with real life news events at the time I could picture it all vividly. First class fiction from another Orenda author.

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Absolution by Paul Hardisty – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.

So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible.

Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible. Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.Absolution is the fourth and final book in this series and the third that I have read. After reading this book I would strongly advise that you read them in order.
It takes place in 1997 and the first thing that comes to mind is that in some parts of the world nothing has changed since then. These are areas where people live in horrendous conditions, in fear of disease, terrorism and people in power. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading a novel that was set twenty years ago.
There are two narrators, Rania’s story is told via a diary. Clay is taking you through events as they happen. Some of their tales overlap and you realise how desperate they are to find and help each other.
At times, I found it a bit confusing, I don’t have much knowledge of either African or Egyptian politics and groups but the writing is so gripping I found it didn’t matter. The author made it all very believable, shocking and at times upsetting.
There are many bad people in the novel but there are also some who stand out for their bravery and kindness. These are the people who I will think about occasionally for a while.
A fascinating conclusion to a great series.

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The Old You by Louise Voss – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Old You is the first book that I have read by Louise Voss that she has written on her own.
It was a book that left me in awe and lost for words. At the end of chapter one I had decided that I disliked one of the characters. But I was far too quick to judge, things were not as they seemed. As I read more I found that this was a book that completely messed with the reader’s head and I had either underestimated most of the characters in it or been duped. My thoughts and feelings changed constantly.
I hadn’t really read the book synopsis, I sometimes like to go into a book with no knowledge of the storyline and I am glad that I did so with this book. There are no spoilers there but I found it added to the suspense. It is difficult to say anything about the plot without revealing any of the twists so I won’t. All I will say is that it’s intimidating, isolating and very clever.

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Keeper by Johana Gustawsson- Translated by Maxim Jakubowski – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

My Review

I couldn’t wait to see what Johana Gustawsson would write after the marvellous Block 46, so as soon as it landed on my kindle I started to read. I purposely didn’t read the blurb, I didn’t want to know too much about what I would be reading.

It takes place in London and Sweden in 2015 and also in 1888. This account is one that follows the same family into modern-day. The first few years of this was quite sad, reading how the events that occurred changed circumstances so much for Freda.

Anybody who is familiar with Jack the Ripper, the killer who terrified women, particularly prostitutes, in the late 1900s will enjoy this. Reading about the murders from the point of view of a woman who knew the victims was chilling. Johana has done a great job of humanising the victims, and the people who lived in the vicinity. Most of what I have read is from a policeman’s point of view or those from the upper classes, and they have never moved away from the view that the woman deserved to die because of their profession. That it didn’t matter, because it would never touch somebody like them. This is proved in the way that Freda is almost gleefully questioned by her employer.

I was pleased to see Emily and Alexis both reappear, they are very strong characters who have both suffered trauma in the past. More is revealed about what happened to Alexis, how it still affected her and how she tried to move on. Emily’s past is still hinted at but there are no real details. Other characters from the previous books also reappear. Some I was glad to see, some not, but I liked a newcomer Alienor very much.

I don’t think I have ever read a book that shows evil people in the way that Johana does. They are people who make you cold and at times nauseous. I couldn’t even begin to think what else that might be capable of. Each time I thought I had solved it I was proven wrong and the ending was one of the bigger surprises I have had when reading a crime novel.

A great follow-up, I was wondering how she would follow Block 46, because that book had a brilliant storyline but I wasn’t disappointed. Unique, compelling and it took over my life until I had finished it. First class crime fiction.

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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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