Inborn By Thomas Enger – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock … for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.

As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?

It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust. But can we trust him? A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we know ourselves?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having enjoyed Thomas Enger’s series of books featuring Henning Juul I was looking forward to reading this standalone YA/ adult fiction  novel. My feeling was that it was more adult fiction than YA. 

Even, the lead character is only one of the voices. There is also his mother Suzanne, who is to put it mildly, not much support to him or anybody else, and a police officer Yngve. Yngve was a character who I adored. I loved his approach to the investigation, how he tried to support Even whilst wondering if he was responsible for the murders that had taken place. But most of all I loved his conversations with his recently deceased wife Åse.

Because it is YA there is less detail than usual about the killings but it’s believable. The small town community that is stunned by the deaths, the suspicion regarding Even, the gossip and abuse on social media and the self imposed isolation caused by computer gaming. 

There are many twists, I didn’t have a clue whether Even was guilty or innocent. I couldn’t even work out if he was the accused or a witness in the court scenes. Or if he wasn’t guilty, who was?

It is a completely different novel to the ones that are from the Henning Juul series but it is just as good. 

Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. He’s soon identified as a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way.

Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the hothouse world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I enjoyed my first meeting with Chastity Riley last year in the novel Blue Night so was looking forward to catching up with her again. I was happy to see that she hadn’t changed a bit. She is as cynical as ever.

There are two cases, the first a cyclist killed by a hit and run is a bit gory despite its brevity. Chastity is only there because she was walking by whilst the investigation was being carried out. The second concerned businessmen who had been stripped, tortured and locked in a cage outside the business that they run. They didn’t seem to have many who were sympathetic to their plight. And when you knew more about them I do tend to have the same opinion. 

But the novel isn’t really about the crimes, it’s more about Chastity. Which is ok with me because she is such a likeable and refreshing character. She drinks too much, smokes too much and falls in love with the wrong people. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She also cares about her friends, worries about what they are going through, and she is willing to see things that others will disregard. 

The writing is beautiful and having experienced listening to her read from the previous book at an event last year I could hear her read this. It feels real, these characters aren’t whiter than white. They have problems, they feel lonely, they sometimes  do things that they shouldn’t do. 

I hope more of this series will be translated. It’s one that I could happily read back to back.

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.
Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…
Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Changeling could be read as standalone novel but I would recommend reading Six Stories and Hydra first. Not just because they are great books but it will also make you familiar with the format and Scott King. Changeling is my favourite one out of the three.

I struggle to describe how this novel made me feel. And how it was responsible for lost sleep. In my wisdom, I decided to start this book late one night. With its level of eeriness, unexplained events, sounds and threats from, bizarrely, a forest added to a child that vanished into thin air gave me plenty to think about. When I should have been asleep. Not gazing at the ceiling listening for taps and knocks.

As always, little was as it seemed and each interview revealed more about the family. I am probably one of many who was quick to jump to conclusions. Just like the media and locals did. When more was revealed I felt a little remorse. A strange feeling, when it is after all a novel.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened. I have never felt so stunned by the ending of a book before. I have never still been gazing into space two days later trying to find the words for a review. I’m sure it will be one I am thinking about for quite a while.

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.
With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…
Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.

My Review

With thanks to Orenda Books and Steph Broadribb for the copy of the book, I was thrilled to be part of #teamlori who were all sent early copies. Deep Dirty Truth is the third full length novel in the Lori Anderson series and it is my favourite one so far. When Lori is forced into a car after dropping her daughter Dakota off at school the danger all of them are in doesn’t lessen until the end of the book. Not only do they face danger from the mob but also from the rather nasty wildlife. I’m not sure which I’d be more wary of!
Whilst most of the narrative concerns Lori you also get to see what is happening with JT, Dakota and Red. Each time it switched I was anxious to go back again, the timing is perfect. I read a lot of books that have more than one narrative and it takes a great author to get it as perfect as it is here. For this reason I read this book very quickly, I was going to read two at once but that never happened. This is definitely a book you could read in one setting.
This is a series where the storylines tend to overlap. You could read this book as a standalone novel but will get so much more if you read the books in order. All of the characters and parts of the ongoing storyline have developed strongly.
Dakota is a character I adore, if you could read a novel where a secondary character became the primary one in another novel she would be my choice. She is brave, funny and very independent.
One of the most intimidating parts was when Lori was going though the Everglades. It’s not somewhere I know, and not something I would plan on visiting after this. I could practically see the alligators swim past me.
I felt that many storylines were closed at the end of this novel, please let there be another.

Attend by West Camel – Blog Tour Review.


About The Book

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read anything like this book before. I had expected it to be a crime novel with mention of gang related crime in the synopsis. But, while there is violence it is more about the emotion that the acts cause. The reasons why the violence has to occur and the loyalty portrayed by the friends and family of the people responsible. And bizarrely the lack of sympathy to the victim. 

The three main characters are ones that will stay with me for quite a while. Two of them, Sam and Anne are trying to rebuild their lives. Anne finds it very difficult, the daily struggle to stay off drugs, having to rebuild her family’s trust and the sense of loss over missing so much. Sam, who realises that he can only be really happy if he is honest about his feelings. Deborah is different, older but adamant that she will get what she wants by helping Sam and Anne come to terms with their situation. 

It’s a great feeling when you realise very early in a book that you are in for a treat. West Camel’s writing is stunning, his characters who all give me the impression of being very lonely, are ones that I was thinking about constantly. Deborah especially, with her life story and the thing that she was desperate for.  The accounts of her childhood and her experiences in the blitz are very moving,  and had me thinking of stories passed down in my own family.

It’s not only the characters in the novel that I am still thinking about it is also the setting in Deptford. When I was reading the acknowledgments I realised that the areas mentioned exist. I then spent a fascinating hour looking at local history websites and photos on the internet. And I had a strangely emotional feeling when I think I found the ‘real’ Deborah.

A wonderful book with a  fascinating setting.