Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of brutal assaults take place. 

Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered – all horrifically mutilated – and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock. 

But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory… 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I loved everything about Flowers Over The Inferno. First the setting, I read quite a bit of European fiction but this is the first that I have read that is set in this part of the world, the Italian/ Austrian border. It sounded magical, the tiny village that needed tourism to survive but was aware of the damage that it could also cause to the land. But the reason I loved the book so much was because of the characters, especially  Superintendent Teresa Battaglia and her new recruit Massimo Marini. I was cringing at their first encounter when he wrongly assumed that his new boss was male. 

I read a lot of crime fiction and a lead character that is a loner, drinker, has emotional baggage etc etc is the norm. But Teresa is a little different. Yes she is a loner, but she is also a lot older, has health issues, and she makes Ann Cleeve’s Vera look like a pussycat. All of her team love, respect and fear her in equal measures. 

Marini is determined to break down her barriers despite her rudeness and he does but she isn’t prepared to make it easy for him. Or let him now that she is impressed by his efforts. 

Stand out moments were the way she was with the children, she made them relaxed and broke down the barriers that could exist between child and adult, especially if that adult was a stranger and a police officer. But also the way she made me feel sympathy for the culprit and this was mainly down to Teresa insisting that there was more happening than random violence. She made me look at the reasons why and understand what they were going through. 

I want to read more about these two, I see a fantastic relationship in the future.

The Woman Inside by E. G. Scott – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Rebecca didn’t know love was possible until she met Paul, a man with a past as dark as her own. Their demons drew them together, but twenty years later, the damage and secrets that ignited their love begin to consume their marriage.

When Paul catches the attention of the police after two women go missing, Rebecca discovers his elaborate plot to build a new life without her. And though Rebecca is quickly spiralling out of control, it doesn’t stop her from coming up with her own devastating plan for revenge… they made a promise to each other, after all. 

Til death do us part.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Woman Inside is a complex novel about relationships. It focuses on the relationship of a married couple, Rebecca and Paul. They both have their problems, Rebecca with her addiction to pharmaceutical drugs that has affected her career, and Paul whose career has been affected by a downturn in business due to a stock market crash. Neither have confided in the other about what they are going through. They also have both had to deal with tragedy when they were children.

Both characters are narrators and they are joined in the second half of the novel by others. All of the characters are unpleasant, the only one I really cared about was Duff. Duff was a dog that belonged to Rebecca and Paul. Whilst Paul did have his problems they paled compared to what Rebecca was going through. I struggled to work out if she was hallucinating due to her drug cocktails or what she was experiencing was real. It is only at the introduction of another narrator that things started to become clearer. And then you started to see how out of their depth they both were.

I found it quite unsettling at times. The spying, following and reading what they both had planned for the other one. The lengths that Rebecca would go to so she could get her drugs and the knowledge that Paul had others covering for him. Even though I did guess what he was doing.

I hadn’t realised when I started this book that E. G. Scott is two authors. I often wonder when I read a book like this if each author concentrates on one character. Each keeping secrets from the other. I like to think that this novel was written in that way.

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

She must find Annabelle. Before it’s too late.

THE MISSING
Nora’s daughter Annabelle has disappeared, last seen on her way home from a party.

THE LOST
Gullspång’s inexperienced police are wilting under the national media spotlight – and its residents desperate for answers.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING . . .
Stockholm DI Charlie Lager must return home to find Annabelle, and then get out of town as soon as she can. Before everyone discovers the truth about her . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. When I first started reading this book I had a feeling that it would be like many others. A police officer who has alcohol problems, is a loner and has a troubled past. But I didn’t have this feeling for long. The novel is much more than that.

Charlie is everything mentioned, but unlike many she does admit to having a problem and she does try to make the best of her life. Having to return to her home town isn’t what she wants but she is relieved that nobody recognises her. It had me wondering what she was hiding from and whether what happened to her still affected her now.

The narrative concerns the disappearance of Annabelle. She has a very strict mother, a more sympathetic father and for somebody so young indulges in a lot of substances. But you can see why, in a way. She is clever, beautiful and misunderstood. Most of all she wants to escape, just like Charlie did.

It is a town that has many inhabitants who are heavy drinkers. It has no prospects, limited employment with bullying employers and appears unfriendly. You read about many places and think it would be nice to visit. This isn’t one of them.

Alongside the main narrative there are flashbacks to what happened to Annabelle on the day she disappeared. This part is all about her. You see what she is thinking, how she sees her future and how she copes with her family life. This was one of the more unusual and fascinating parts to the novel, getting to see how she interacted with people who were suspects.

There are also sections that tell the story of Nora and Alice. These were chilling and I spent much of the novel working out how it connected to modern day.

For The Missing is book one in the series and I’m looking forward to the follow up later in the year.


Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter – Blog Tour Review.


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About The Book


ONLY A MOTHER . . .

Erica Wright hasn’t needed to scrub ‘MURDERER’ off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig, is released from prison, and she knows the quiet is going to be broken.

COULD BELIEVE HIM

Erica has always believed Craig was innocent – despite the lies she told for him years ago – but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn’t recognise her son anymore.

COULD LIE FOR HIM

So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won’t, then how far will she go to protect him?

COULD BURY THE TRUTH

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Only A Mother is the third book I have read by Elisabeth Carpenter and in my opinion is the best one yet.

It is a crime novel, but one that deals with what happens years after the crime. Most of it is told by the viewpoint of either Erica, mother of Craig who has just been released from prison or Luke who is a journalist covering the story of a killer released back into the local area. I found it mesmerising. The abuse that Erica faced daily. Not just vandalism but also the whispers and the isolation that she has been forced into. Luke also has issues, married with two young children, he should feel happy but he feels like a failure.

Whilst the crimes do feature it is the emotion that carries this novel and makes it believable. It made me think about what a Mother would do to protect her child, how hard is it to feel loyal and give support to a convicted killer. And always wondering if he was capable of murder. It is a crime novel that made me feel emotional at times, especially near the end.

As well as the storyline I also enjoyed the local setting. I live in the town in which the book is set and I had a lot of fun identifying local places. Elisabeth Carpenter is an author who has plenty more novels to come. Recommended.

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton – Review.

 

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Today I am sharing my review again to support the release in paperback of The Craftsman. It is a book that takes place locally and I was thrilled to find out that there will be a follow up next year. You can buy the book here

About The Book

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.

Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?

My Review

The Craftsman is a dual time frame novel that takes place in Sabden, a small town in the foothills of Pendle, Lancashire. Witch Country. The Pendle Witch trials and stories are part of this book.
It takes place in 1969 when Florence, Flossie, is a young officer and in 1999 when she is Assistant Commissioner. She has returned to the area to attend the funeral of a convicted murderer who she has stayed in contact with.
Whilst there is the spookiness connected with the witches the storyline in the novel is crime fiction. In 1969, Flossie is one of the team who are trying to find three missing children. She has to put up with discrimination, suspicion and general misbehaviour from the local residents as well as from her colleagues. There are places where an outsider will never be accepted and there was little chance of Flossie ever being considered one of the team. By anybody. All of the attitudes were convincing and it was good to see that she was successful in her career.
In 1999, the storyline is more sinister. I was brought up on stories regarding the Witch trials but had never thought about how they affected the communities nearby. How the legends and history were still evident. Some I had heard before, but the novel shows the lesser known facts.
Many of the characters weren’t particularly likeable, and even though much of the treatment Flossie received was unnecessary she wasn’t an easy person to like. I did like the descriptions of the local people, I found them believable. The older ones, brought up on superstition, some who probably had families who had lived there 400 years earlier, at the time of the trials. And the younger ones who wanted to go to the cities to have a good time.