Body and Soul by John Harvey – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong.

Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her.

But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct.

The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.

And as Elder struggles to protect his daughter and prove her innocence, the terrors of the past threaten them both once more …

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Body and Soul is the last book in the series that features Frank Elder. Despite being the first that I have read I could follow it very easily.
When a relationship between Frank’s daughter Katherine and an artist ends in murder Frank is determined to stand by his daughter even though that help isn’t really wanted. Their relationship is strained, most of Frank’s are, but he does try his best.
Whilst his role in the novel is important there is also a lot of focus on Katherine and the officer who is investigating the murder, Alex Hadley.Alex is under pressure, because of the victim’s fame, the mental state of Katherine and Frank, who has a very short fuse most of the time.
I had a lot of sympathy for Katherine, I don’t think I will be alone in this. What she experienced when she was younger was horrific and some of what takes place in this novel makes life very difficult. Frank was a strange character. A loner, who could be very aggressive and who never seemed to have any control in any situation. Katherine appeared to handle what was happening a lot better than he was. Maybe it was guilt, I’m not sure. Hadley could also be a little abrasive, a little cold without much empathy.
I enjoyed the art world setting, I could easily imagine the models posing for hours, experiencing cramp and nausea, and having to put any feelings of embarrassment or misgiving to one side.
I feel quite sad that this is the last book, but at least I can go and read the earlier books in the series. John Harvey is an author who I will happily read again.

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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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