The Lonely Witness by William Boyle – Blog Tour Review.

Lonely Witness Cover

About The Book

Amy was once a party girl, but now she lives a lonely life. Helping the house-bound to receive communion in the Gravesend neighbourhood of Brooklyn, she knows the community well.

When a local woman goes missing, Amy senses something isn’t right.

Tailing the woman’s suspicious son, she winds her way through Brooklyn’s streets. But before she can act, he is dead.

Captivated by the crime she’s witnessed and the murderer himself, Amy doesn’t call the cops. Instead, she collects the weapon from the sidewalk and soon finds herself on the trail of a killer.

Powerful and evocative, The Lonely Witness brings Brooklyn to life and exposes the harsh realities of crime and punishment on the city streets.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Lonely Witness is one of the more original novels that I have read this year. It is a crime novel, with focus on the witness, the murderer and the neighbourhood rather than the police investigation. It also feels like a travelogue with the amount of detail about Brooklyn, somewhere I know nothing about.
Amy used to be a party girl but now does good deeds with the local church, mainly with the elderly. When one of them, Mrs Epifanio, shows concern about the son of her usual home help she reluctantly agrees to see if he is genuine. It is this decision that ends with her becoming a witness to a murder.
Whilst I did like Amy, her landlord and a handful of other characters my favourite was Mrs Epifanio. I laughed at the interaction with Dom, flirting and encouraging a relationship with Amy without knowing what was really happening.
I could visualise Brooklyn and all of the characters really well. The many different relationships are perfectly described. Dominic and his mother especially, were just how I imagine an Italian American family to be. The mother perfectly able to give her son a well deserved slap.
The descriptions of Brooklyn, its bars, coffee bars and shops feature heavily. My impression was that it used to be predominantly Italian, but now many other nationalities lived there. It felt close-knit with everybody knowing each other, even if they had been absent for a few years. I imagine that if you do know the area you will get much more out of this book. I have read books in the past where I know an area well and found I read them slightly differently.
Short but unique, I would definitely read more by this author.

The Lonely Witness Blog Tour Poster

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About The Book

Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having read and enjoyed earlier novels by Antti Tuomainen I knew I would be in for a treat with Palm Beach Finland.
Likened to Fargo, and my thoughts are a day after finishing it, that like that film and similar the reader would appreciate and notice a lot more by reading more than once. I’m sure there are things that I missed on a first read. All because of the fascinating and multi layered characters.
I have my favourites. Chico and Robin, the two hapless criminals whose bizarre mishaps get this novel off to a great start. Lifelong friends, they both have their dreams of a different life. And Muurla, Jan’s boss who constantly reveals too much information about his private life. Nearly every scene that these three appeared in made me laugh. I never knew that an electric whisk or a tide could be so funny.
The author makes the resort of Palm Beach, rival to St Tropez believable. More rundown and a lot quieter and colder but Leivo, the unscrupulous owner is convinced he can make it a success. As long as Olivia can be convinced to sell.
Alongside the humour, unintentional violence and mayhem is the blossoming friendship between Jan and Olivia. Far from straightforward but very sweet. Just wonderful.

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Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About The Book

Sixteen years ago, at an elite boarding school secluded in the English countryside, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable.

Their secret forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk.

One word and everything could be ruined: their lives, their careers, their relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. – she knows there’s nothing that can’t be resolved by three courses in her immaculate kitchen.

But the evening does not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Perfect Liars was a brilliant twisty novel that had me hooked. It starts with a funeral of an unnamed person. You don’t find out who they are until the end. The rest of the novel is dual time frame with 3 different narrators. I don’t think there will be many readers who like all of them.
I will describe my feelings about each of the three but will keep their identity private, to reveal too much will spoil the read. One of them I quite liked, I understood her a lot more than the others and definitely had more sympathy for her. Another, I preferred as an adult. Still not keen but she showed a softer side. The final one, I disliked her both as a teenager and an adult. A horrible person who didn’t have a good side to her.
I couldn’t work out which of the three would die or what happened at the school. Even though I did have an idea who it would involve. I hope that there aren’t schools like this. I really hope that there aren’t people like this but I suspect I could be wrong on both accounts.

Perfect Liars Blog Tour Poster Week 2

Trap by Lilia Sigurdardottir – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About The Book

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Review

I enjoyed reading Snare, the first part in the Reykjavik Noir series last year so was looking forward to catching up with all the criminals again. And to the two who made me smile, Bragi and Tomas. I do advise that you read Snare before this, you won’t appreciate the characters or the plot as much. Sonya especially, a drug smuggler who would you expect to judge for her actions you don’t when you understand why she does it. And I adored her relationship with her son, Tomas and the way she was with Bragi.
There were a couple of new characters, one of who proved me right with my theory that an evil woman was much worse than an evil man. Especially when the author is also female. Nati was absolutely terrifying.
I enjoyed every scene that Tomas appeared in, especially the ones that also featured his father Adam. Just like his mother he could see through the charm. Bragi, near the end of his working life and devoted to his ailing wife knows that he is doing wrong in helping Sonya but would prefer to do that than see his wife somewhere different to their home.
A lot of the financial crime I found complex, even though I am aware that there was a banking crisis in Iceland. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. I’m very curious about what happens next with this little group of people, there has to be potential for more drama. The characters are so fascinating and the writing is mesmerising.

Trap First BT Poster

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed all four of Louise Beech’s novels. She is the only author who doesn’t write crime fiction who I follow avidly. Her writing is exquisite.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story. Most of the novel concerns both Ben and Andrew, the reader sees both sides of their story. You first meet Ben when he is in Zimbabwe. You know that it is a life long dream but don’t know why he chose to be there at this time in his life. He is struggling with his emotions though, wanting to ring home, or write but not being able to do so. But he is somebody who struggles to admit to those close to him his true feelings. More is revealed as you read. It is a different setting for me, but I could visualise it through the writing. The weather, the magical sunrises, the lions with their beauty but also the knowledge that they could be a threat. And the vile coffee.
Andrew is a completely different character. Much more open in some ways, he has no problems with his sexuality, but in other ways he struggles. Health issues, a lonely childhood and the unfulfilled dream of becoming an author.
When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them.
An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart.

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final