Blue Night by Simone Buchholz – Translated by Rachel Ward – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Chastity Riley has to rebuild her career after convicting her superior officer of corruption. She is frustrated and bored, working in the equivalent of an office cupboard and feeling invisible. But then she is given the task of trying to get a man to talk about why he was attacked. And he doesn’t want to make it easy for her. It is only when she starts to break down the barriers she realises how bad the situation could be. And just what is available on the streets.
The case that she does end up investigating is grim. It doesn’t glamorise anything. It is hard-hitting and terrifying and I hope I never have to see what she witnesses during parts of this novel. Both Chastity and people she works with see the worst sights of humanity and cope. I don’t know she does it.
The novel also focuses on her friendships. She is loyal to her friends, some she has known for years, and some are colleagues. Despite the difficulties caused by her job she recognises that some of them need help. There are a few of these friends I would love to know more about. With some of the personal aspects of the novel I felt that there was missing back story but I could still follow it easily enough.
I really liked Chastity,she has plenty of compassion, and is loyal, funny and down to earth. And she has some of the best observations on life that I have read in fiction.
A very successful series that is well established in Germany, I have no doubt that it will do just as well in other countries.

You can purchase the novel here

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Hydra by Matt Wesolowski – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I was thrilled when I heard that there would be a follow-up novel to the brilliant Six Stories which I enjoyed immensely.
The author has followed the same format, that of a series of six interviews. One with Arla and the others with friends she knew from school and some that she had met on holiday. A few of them requested anonymity.
It takes place in NW England. Instantly I noticed the ‘accent’ was extremely accurate. It’s not something I see often. It was evident throughout the whole book and is one of the reasons that I would like to listen to the audio book.
Arla admits her guilt but her reasoning is chilling. Especially when all of the people interviewed as well as Scott are receiving threats if they don’t distance themselves from Arla. Scott is also being ‘trolled’ on his social media accounts and he makes his settings private but refuses to stop the series. The severity of the threats increase as the novel progresses.
This book had me seeing and hearing things that could not have been there. I read the majority of it on a long distance flight, where it should be impossible to see ‘black-eyed children’ through the window, and by kindle light in a pitch black hotel room. This book, however has the power to terrify where ever you read it. It is deeply unsettling.
It was just before starting the book that I looked up ‘ black-eyed children’ on the internet. I had never heard of them before, and the one photograph that I saw stopped me looking closer.
A brilliant and scary follow-up that I would love to see dramatised.

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Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free. Teaming up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor threatens to put the whole job in danger. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Deep Blue Trouble is the second full length novel to feature Lori Anderson. I recommend reading them in order, the books are closely connected and the events here occur immediately after those in Deep Down Dead.
All of the characters I loved there have reappeared but there is a difference. Lori is on her own more, JT is in prison and she has left Dakota out of harms way in a holiday camp. She hates leaving her there but she needs to know that she is safe whilst trying to clear JT’s name. She gets off to a bad start with Dez McGregor who until more is revealed about him isn’t likeable or one that I would trust. But it is also easy to see why he does react the way he does. In her panic she doesn’t show her better side.
I liked her dedication, her friendship and trust that she had with Red felt special. Some of my favourite scenes featured him. He is a character who could get stronger throughout the series, I would love a book to be based around him needing Lori’s assistance.
In this novel we get to know more about Lori and how much she is prepared to do to save the ones she cares about. She has a sympathetic streak, and is aware that there is a fine line between doing the right thing and doing the wrong. That some who kill do so out of desperation whereas some are just bad people.
I had a feeling of anxiety throughout. I was dreading something happening that would cause Lori heartache but fortunately I was wrong. There needs to be another book soon, my chin hit the floor at the last page and I need to know what happens next.
If you fancy a series that is like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich you will love this. Fast paced whilst heart warming. Brilliant.

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The CWA Anthology of Short Stories Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour.

Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

My Review

I rarely read short stories, and when I do they are usually all by the same author. Reading this proved to me that I am missing out on some fabulous stories and some great authors. Out of the twenty-eight that featured I had heard of about a dozen and read about eight.
They all had a common theme, that of travelling but all approached the subject in different ways. There were some fascinating places but also some which you would hope never to see.
I know that some of the reviewers chose to read these stories at random, picking known or favourite authors first but I chose to read them in the order they were in the book. I read a couple a day, that way each of the stories were getting the same amount of attention. I liked them all, I won’t say which was my most or least favourite, there are some clever, some humorous and some bizarre stories on offer. I didn’t dislike any of them.
I do find short stories harder to read than a full length novel, I find myself more aware of how many pages long they are. I wonder if it is similar for the author. Are they easier or harder to write?
I received my copy from the publisher for the review but I am eagerly looking forward to my limited edition copy arriving that will have been signed by some of the authors.
If you would like a signed copy you can find it here
If you would like the usual copy you can find it here.

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Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…

My Review

Whiteout is book four in the series that features Ari Thór. When the books were translated into English, book one was published first followed by book five. So this book neatly finishes the series and fills in all the gaps regarding Ari Thór, Kristen and Tómas’s personal lives. I can also reread the five books in order at my leisure.

It takes place at Christmas time after an eerie prologue that sent the hairs up on the back of my neck. Ari Thór is asked to accompany Tómas on a trip to a remote area to investigate a suspicious death. Because Kristen is heavily pregnant he convinces her to go with them. She agrees because she want to do some investigating herself, concerning her family’s history.

The personal stories in the series have always been strong and I  enjoyed seeing Tómas again. It was also the first time that I warmed to Kristen. The differences between her and Ari Thór are still evident but for once I had sympathy for her. His refusal ( or reluctance) to discuss his past was upsetting for her, whilst she was determined to find out about her own family history.

It was fascinating reading about Iceland and its customs. The celebration of Christmas was magical, despite some of the slightly strange delicacies that were eaten. Some of the traditions were humbling when you live in a society that is often dubious.

The book put me in mind of an Agatha Christie novel. There were only a few characters. All had different personalities and had known each other for years. They all had their secrets, desires, fears and disappointments. One of these characters I liked a lot and I was cringing at times, hoping it wasn’t them who was a murderer. The area in which it takes place sounded beautiful but intimidating. I couldn’t imagine it feeling welcoming even if there wasn’t the bad weather.

I truly hope that there are more books to come in this series, it is one that I will miss if it has finished. There is still plenty of room on my shelf for limited edition signed copies.