It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Flowers over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti today. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In a quiet village surrounded by ancient woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a man is found naked with his eyes gouged out. It is the first in a string of gruesome murders.
Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a detective with a background in criminal profiling, is called to investigate. Battaglia is in her mid-sixties, her rank and expertise hard-won from decades of battling for respect in the male-dominated Italian police force. While she’s not sure she trusts the young city inspector assigned to assist her, she sees right away that this is no ordinary case: buried deep in these mountains are whispers of a dark and dangerous history, possibly tied to a group of eight-year-old children toward whom the killer seems to gravitate.
As Teresa inches closer to the truth, she must also confront the possibility that her body and mind, worn down by age and illness, may fail her before the chase is over.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Well, this is a novel experience. After all the Scandi-Noir that’s flooding onto the crime fiction market, Flowers Over The Inferno leaves Scandinavia far behind and takes us south. To Italy, as a matter of fact. Although, the setting is in the Alps so you know, it’s still cold and there’s still snow. But still.
There we meet Detective Teresa Battaligia. If you’re a wee tired of the stereotypical detective in your crime fiction, you’ll absolutely love Teresa. She’s not your average spring chicken being as she’s in her sixties, slightly overweight, definitely a diabetic and also struggling with some other health issues she’s not yet quite ready to face when we first meet her. But Teresa has decades of experience, knows a thing or two about profiling, and is an indomitable force to be reckoned with.
A naked man is found dead in the forest with his eyes gouged out. Teresa’s instincts immediately tell her this is no ordinary case but can she catch the killer before they strike again? A young city inspector, Marini, is assigned to her team to help out but Teresa isn’t sure about him. Despite Marini’s various attempts to win over his new boss, she seems to think he’s the most incompetent person ever.
Most of the action plays itself out in the present day but we also get glimpses into events from the past that are rather harrowing from the get-go. I don’t want to say anything else about that but suffice to say someone’s dark and tragic past will heavily influence the present. These bits of information are fed to the reader throughout the story, always immensely enticing but not giving away too much information so I was trying insanely hard to pick up clues somewhere along the way and true to form, failing miserably. It’s not the easiest of topics and in a somewhat odd way, I was left to sympathise with the wrong characters.
Flowers over the Inferno is intense, gripping and incredibly addictive. It’s easy to see why this introduction to Teresa Battaglia was the biggest debut of last year in Italy. It’s not only the investigation into the murder that keeps the reader’s attention, it’s also the fabulous character that is Teresa herself. While her health may make her vulnerable, she refuses to give in, which makes her someone to be admired and someone you root for.
This is the first instalment in a trilogy and I absolutely can’t wait for the next book and an opportunity to catch up with Teresa again.
ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Where She Lies by Michael Scanlon. My thanks to Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In a town full of liars, who can you trust?
When Detective Finnegan Beck is demoted from his high-powered job in Dublin and relocated in disgrace to the small Irish town of Cross Beg, he predicts boredom will be his biggest threat.
But then a beautiful, local teenage girl is found strangled in the cold, dark woods a mile from town. The prime suspect is the seemingly-gentle drifter who found Tanya’s body.
Beck seems to be the only person who can’t escape the feeling that Tanya wasn’t killed at random. As he digs deeper into the shadows of Cross Beg, he begins to realise it isn’t the sleepy backwater he’d first believed. Everyone here has something to hide. Tanya had a boyfriend, whose name no one knew. A best friend with a loose relationship with the truth. And a habit she thought she’d kept hidden from everyone.
But, just as Beck believes he is making progress, the body of one of the suspects is found drowned in the river. Is the killer just getting started?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Where She Lies is the first instalment in a brand-new Irish crime series featuring Detective Finnegan Beck. A former inspector, Beck finds himself demoted to Sergeant in the small Irish town of Cross Beg. His main objective is to return to Dublin and not get too involved in whatever goes on in Cross Beg. But when a young girl is found murdered in the woods, Beck can’t help digging deeper.
Cross Beg isn’t exactly what Beck imagined it to be. For a town so small, where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, there are a lot of secrets and skeletons in the closets and everyone seems to have something to hide. The murdered girl too was up to all sorts. She may have had a boyfriend but nobody knows who it is. Is he responsible for her murder? Police zero in on a suspect but when this person is found dead as well, does this mean the case is closed or is it merely the start of something far more sinister?
The investigation is a frustrating one. There are no clues to speak of so where does one even begin to look for a killer? With a lot of the town residents acting shifty and suspiciously, I had no idea whatsoever as to who was responsible or why. I must admit that I didn’t particularly connect to any of these characters. Yet Michael Scanlon managed to hold my attention because he gives very little away and I felt compelled to keep reading until the truth was revealed.
Finnegan Beck stands out from the crowd with an intriguing backstory as to why he ended up in this town in the first place. Beck is damaged, flawed and has a drinking problem. But he also has that fascinating copper’s nose and is immensely perceptive. I think he might be one of those characters that will get increasingly more interesting when the reader gets to know him better.
All in all a solid start to a new series and it’ll be interesting to see where Michael Scanlon takes Beck next.
Michael Scanlon is a civilian employee of the An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force), but a life threatening undiagnosed illness that struck while travelling in Spain in 2014 has rendered him on long term sick leave. He is married to Eileen and has a daughter, Sarah. He lives in the countryside outside the town of Ballina in County Mayo. The town has arguably the best salmon river in Europe, called the Moy.
Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.
Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…
| MY THOUGHTS |
It’s official! Elly Griffiths can do no wrong in my eyes and has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. You may be familiar with Elly Griffith’s fantastic Ruth Galloway series (which I really need to get caught up on) or her equally brilliant Stephen & Mephisto series (which I also really need to get caught up on) but The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone gothic mystery thriller type of thing and it’s bloody awesome!
I was in one of the worst reading slumps I can remember ever being in when I picked up The Stranger Diaries. However, from the minute I started reading, I didn’t look back. There is just something about Elly Griffith’s writing that completely draws me in and I was hooked from the first page, as if a spell had been cast upon me.
It all begins when Clare Cassidy’s colleague and friend, Ellie, is found murdered. Clare is a literary teacher who specialises in the works of gothic writer R.M. Holland. His story The Stranger features heavily throughout the book and often made my spine tingle. And because a line from that story is found on a note near Ellie’s body, Clare swiftly finds herself on the list of suspects.
The story is alternately told through Clare, her daughter Georgia and a detective by the name of Harbinder Kaur. Elly Griffiths manages to give all these characters incredibly distinctive voices, which I felt was particularly evident when switching from the slightly creepy The Stranger narrator to Georgia, the teenager. Harbinder is one of those characters I didn’t particularly like for the longest time. But somehow she grew on me along the way and I always love how an author manages to do that.
This gothic mystery is intensely gripping. I wouldn’t necessarily call it creepy in the OMG-I’m-so-freaked-out-I-may-wet-myself kind of way but it is rather chilling and there is a sort of threatening vibe throughout, where you feel in your bones something is coming but you’re not sure what that will be.
Obviously I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice to say The Stranger Diaries is brilliantly written and oozes atmosphere throughout. This story is utterly engrossing and absorbing and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. I absolutely loved this one and whatever is next from Elly Griffiths, myself and my grabby hands will be right there at the head of the queue.
The Stranger Diaries is available to buy in ebook and hardcover format!
Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Stalker by Lars Keppler! My thanks to Abby Endler for the invitation to join! Today, I’m sharing an extract with you but first, here is what Stalker is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do.
Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna’s worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things.
Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he’s beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars–and a serial killer still on the loose.
| EXTRACT |
It’s a quarter to nine on Friday, August 22. After the magical sunsets and light nights of high summer, darkness is encroaching with surprising speed. It’s already dusk outside the National Police Authority.
Margot Silverman gets out of the elevator and walks toward the security doors in the foyer. She’s wearing a black cardigan, a white blouse that fits tightly around her chest, and long black pants whose high waist is stretched across her expanding stomach. She ambles toward the revolving doors in the glass wall. Margot’s hair is the color of polished birch wood and is pulled into a thick braid down her back. She has moist eyes and rosy cheeks. She is thirty-six years old and pregnant with her third child.
She’s heading home after a long week. She’s worked overtime every day and has received two warnings for pushing herself too hard. She is the new police expert on serial killers, spree killers, and stalkers. The murder of Maria Carlsson is the first case she’s been in charge of since her appointment.
There are no witnesses and no suspects. The victim was single and had no children. She worked as a product adviser for Ikea and had inherited her parents’ unmortgaged town house after her father died and her mother went into a nursing home.
On most days, Maria traveled to work with a colleague. They would meet down on Kyrk Road. When she wasn’t there that morning, her colleague drove to her house and rang the doorbell, looked through the windows, and then walked around the back and saw her. She was sitting on the floor, her face covered in knife wounds, her neck almost sliced through, her head lolling to one side, and her mouth strangely wide open. According to the postmortem, there was evidence to suggest that her mouth had been so arranged after death.
When Margot was appointed to head the investigation, she knew she couldn’t seem too aggressive. She has a tendency to be overeager. Her colleagues would have laughed if she’d told them she was absolutely convinced that they were dealing with a serial killer.
Over the course of the week, Margot has watched the video of Maria Carlsson putting her tights on more than two hundred times. All the evidence suggests she was murdered shortly after the recording was uploaded to YouTube. Margot can’t see anything that makes this video special. It’s not unusual for people to have a tights fetish, but nothing about the murder indicates that sort of inclination. The video is simply a brief excerpt from an ordinary woman’s life. She’s single, has a good job, and takes cartoon drawing classes at night.
There’s no way of knowing why the perpetrator was in her garden, whether it was pure chance or the result of a carefully planned operation, but in the minutes before the murder, he captured her on video. Given that he sent the link to the police, he must have wanted to show them something. He wanted to highlight something about this particular woman, or a certain type of woman. Maybe it’s about all women. But to Margot’s eyes, there’s nothing unusual about the woman’s behavior or appearance. She’s simply concentrating on getting her tights on properly.
Margot has visited the house on Bredablicks Road twice, but she’s spent most of her time examining the video of the crime scene before it was contaminated.
The perpetrator’s film almost looks like a lovingly created work of art compared to the police’s crime scene video. The forensics team’s minutely detailed recording of the evidence is relentless. The dead woman is filmed from various angles as she sits with her legs stretched out on the floor, surrounded by dark blood. Her bra is in shreds, dangling from one shoulder, and one white breast hangs down toward the bulge of her stomach. There’s almost nothing left of her face, just a gaping mouth surrounded by red pulp.
Margot stops as if by chance beside the fruit bowl, glances over at the guard, who is talking on the phone, then turns her back to him. For a few seconds, she watches the guard’s reflection in the glass wall, then takes six apples from the bowl and puts them in her bag. Six is too many, she knows that, but she can’t stop herself. It’s occurred to her that Jenny might like to make an apple pie that evening, with lots of butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
Her thoughts are interrupted when her phone rings. She looks at the screen and sees a picture of Adam Youssef, a member of the investigating team.
“Are you still in the building?” Adam asks. “Please tell me you’re still here, because we’ve—”
“I’m sitting in the car on Klarastrands Road,” Margot lies. “What do you need?”
“He’s uploaded a new video.”
She feels her stomach clench and puts one hand under the heavy bulge. “A new video,” she repeats.
“Are you coming back?”
“I’ll stop and turn around,” she says, and begins to retrace her steps. “Make sure we get a decent copy of the recording.”
Margot could have just gone home, leaving the case in Adam’s hands. It would take only a phone call to arrange a full year of paid maternity leave. Her fate is hanging in the balance. She doesn’t know what this case will bring, but she can sense its gravity, its dark pull.
The light in the elevator makes her face seem older in the reflection of the shining doors. The thick, dark line of mascara around her eyes is almost gone. As she leans her head back, she realizes she’s starting to look like her father, the former commissioner.
The elevator stops at the eighth floor, and she walks along the empty hallway as fast as her bulging stomach will allow. She and Adam moved into Joona Linna’s old office the same week the police held a memorial service for him. Margot never knew Joona personally and had no problem taking over his office.
“You have a fast car,” Adam says as she walks in, then smiles, showing his sharp teeth.
“Pretty fast,” Margot replies.
Adam joined the police force after a brief stint as a professional soccer player. He is twenty-eight years old, with long hair and a round youthful face. His short-sleeved shirt is untucked.
“How long has the video been up?” she asks.
“Three minutes,” Adam says. “He’s there now. Standing outside the window and—”
“We don’t know that, but—”
“I think he is,” he interrupts.
Margot sets her heavy bag on the floor, sits down on her chair, and calls forensics.
“Margot here. Have you downloaded a copy?” she asks. “Listen, I need a location or a name. All the resources you’ve got. You have five minutes—do whatever the hell you want—just give me something, and I promise I’ll let you go so you can enjoy your Friday evening.”
She puts the phone down and opens the pizza box on Adam’s desk. “Are you done with this?” she asks.
There’s a ping as an email arrives, and Margot quickly stuffs a piece of pizza crust into her mouth. A worry line deepens on her forehead. She clicks on the video file and maximizes the onscreen image, pushes her braid over her shoulder, and rolls her chair back so Adam can see.
The first shot is an illuminated window shimmering in the darkness. The camera moves slowly closer through leaves that brush the lens. Margot feels the hair on her arms stand up.
A woman is in front of a television, eating ice cream from a carton. She’s pulled her sweatpants down and is balancing on one foot. One of her socks is off. She glances at the television and smiles at something, then licks the spoon.
The only sound in police headquarters is the computer fan.
Just give me one detail to go on, Margot thinks as she looks at the woman’s face. Her body seems to be steaming with residual heat. She’s just been for a run. The elastic of her underwear is loose after too many washings, and her bra is clearly visible through her sweat-stained shirt.
Margot leans closer to the screen, her stomach pressing against her thighs, and her heavy braid falls forward over her shoulder.
“One minute to go,” Adam says.
The woman sets the carton of ice cream on the coffee table and leaves the room, her sweatpants still dangling from one foot.The camera follows her, moving sideways past a narrow door until it reaches the bedroom window, where the light goes on and the woman comes into view. She kicks her pants off. They fly through the air, hit the wall behind an armchair with a red cushion, and fall to the floor.
Eek. Creepy! If this extract has left you wanting more, then Stalker is available to buy!
LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number one internationally bestselling Joona Linna series has sold more than twelve million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.
Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.
But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.
The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?
Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim.
| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |
In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.
The beautiful one The golden couple The volatile one The new parents The quiet one The city boy The outsider
Not an accident – amurder among friends.
| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |
An idyllic village in the Alps. A legacy of sin. An evil lurking in the woods.
In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of violent 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..
What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join! Today, I have an extract to share with you from this next instalment in the Chastity Riley series, but first, here is what the book is all about.
| 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 the biggest German newspapers. Closer inspection shows he is a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in similar circumstances.
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 elite world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.
| EXTRACT |
DOG EAT DOG WORLD
The rain creates walls in the night. Falling from the sky, they are like mirrors, reflecting and warping the blue light from the police car. Everything spins.
The street emerges from the darkness and loses itself between the harbour lights, and there – right in the middle, just where it suddenly drops downhill – is where it happened: a cyclist.
She’s lying, twisted, on the asphalt, her strawberry-blonde hair forming a delicate pool around her head. Her pale dress is awash with blood; the blood seems to be flowing from her side, staining the concrete red. There’s a black shoe – some kind of ballet flat – on her right foot and no skin at all on her left. The bike’s lying a few feet away on a grass verge, as if it’s been ditched.
The woman isn’t moving; only her ribcage twitches desperately, as if to rise and fall, but then it doesn’t move at all. Her body is trying to take in air from somewhere.
Two paramedics are leaning over and talking to her, but it doesn’t look as though they’re getting through. It doesn’t look as though anything’s getting through any more. Death is about to give her a ride.
Two police officers are cordoning off the accident site, shadows dancing on their faces. Now and then, a car comes past and drives slowly around her. The people in the cars don’t want to look too closely.
The paramedics do things to their paramedic cases; then they close them, stand up. That must be it, then. So, thinks God, looking industrious, that’s that. He picks up his well-chewed pencil, crosses the cyclist off , and wonders whose life he could play football with next.
I think: I’m not on duty. I’m just on my way to the nearest pub. But as I’m here. ‘Hello,’ I say. What else was I supposed to say?
‘Move along, please,’ says the more solid of the two policemen. He’s pulled his cap right down over his face; raindrops are glittering on his black moustache. The other has his back to me and is on his phone.
‘I certainly can,’ I say, ‘or I can stay and take care of a few things.’ I hold out my hand. ‘Chastity Riley, public prosecutor.’
He takes my hand but doesn’t shake it. I feel as though he’s holding it. Because that’s what you do at times like this, when someone’s just died – because a tiny bit of all of us dies along with them and so everything’s a bit shaky. The big policeman and I seem suddenly involved in a relationship of mutual uncertainty.
‘Dirk Kammann,’ he says. ‘Davidwache Station. My colleague’s on the phone to our CID.’
‘OK,’ I say. ‘OK,’ he says, letting go of my hand. ‘Hit-and-run?’ I ask. ‘Looks like it. She hardly drove over her own belly.’ I nod, he nods; we stop talking but stand side by side a while longer.
When the dark-blue saloon draws up with the CID guys from the Davidwache, I say goodbye and go, but I look back round before turning the corner. There’s a grey veil over the brightly lit scene, and it’s not the rain; for once it’s not even the persistent rain that falls in my head. This isn’t my personal charcoal grey; it’s a universal one.
I call Klatsche and tell him that there’s nothing doing tonight. That I don’t feel like the pub. Then I go home, sit by the window and stare into the night. The moon looks like it feels sick.
If this extract has left you wanting more, you can grab yourself a copy of the ebook right now. The UK paperback is set to be published on February 21st.
Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award, and second place in the German Crime Fiction Prize, for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months.
She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. Owen joins us today to play a around of Dessert Island Must-Haves but first, let’s see what the book is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.
When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.
Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered, one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.
As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.
Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?
Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…
My wife Christine set me this fun challenge… so I thought I’d share it with you.
Dessert Island Must Haves
You have been washed up on a desert island with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future but before leaving the ship you have just enough time to grab 1 item from each of the following… Tell us what/who you would choose and why.
A Book – I suspect that being on a dessert island may not be all its cracked up to be, sure to be a few down days. And, as you’ve probably discovered, sand gets everywhere. With all of that going on I’m liable to need some spiritual uplifting. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho has helped me before and probably would again: a simple tale, simply told with a host of powerful messages on how to navigate the journey through life – and desert islands. Fantastic!
An Album – So many to choose from, but I’d go with something from a time when music was very important to me. I was still at school when The Beatles double album – sometimes called The White Album came out. And what an impression it made on me; great songs, too many to mention. Think I’ll put it on while I’m writing this. I remember teaching myself to play Blackbird in my lunchtime breaks and being over the moon when I got it.
A Film – Often comedy films don’t make me laugh. Having said that, probably my favourite film of all time is…As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is always great but in this movie Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Junior and Greg Kinnear all give him a run for his money. The film manages to be cringe-worthy cruel, sad and laugh-out-loud funny. No wonder it won 2 Oscars. I’ve seen it a dozen times and if I see it another dozen that will be fine with me.
A fictional character – As a crime fiction writer I’m often asked who my favourite fictional character is and I always say Sherlock Holmes. However, old Sherlock would be heavy going on a desert island – out of his face on dope most of the time, because there would be no crimes to solve and he’s depressed. Then, when he gets started on his violin… couldn’t handle it. So who would I like to be there with me? No contest, Patrick Logue from the Charlie Cameron series. He would always make me laugh and if it turned out there were natives he’d soon be on first name terms. Might even keep us off the menu! Though I would have to keep my eye on him or he’d have the coconut milk out of my tea.
A luxury item – There would be plenty of time to kill so I’d take a guitar, I was always able to lose myself in music and I would maybe even discover that elusive 4th chord.
A photograph – I’d take the photograph I took of Christine a few days ago in Chania. She was looking wonderful, and I captured it.
A weapon – I’d take a machete because it could double as a tool. And if it turned out that there were natives and they weren’t friendly, they just might think twice before attacking a mad Scotsman wielding one of these – in my head I’m seeing Braveheart🤣
One useful item – I could imagine mosquito repellent just might come in handy, but I’d go for matches to keep that signal fire burning.
One food item – A big jar of curry powder for obvious reasons. Too long without a curry and I’d get withdrawal symptoms.
One drink item – Coffee, I’d definitely struggle without the bean! How could I possibly get into the day? I’d need to get used to no Stevia though; not looking forward to that.
One fun item – A football; nothing like a kick about on the beach!
I already got stuck on the first question 😂. Great answers, Owen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this wish us!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.
Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan.
Absolutely thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.
That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.
When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.
Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over
| MY THOUGHTS |
One year after the disappearance of her daughter, Rosa Hartung returns to work as Minister for Social Affairs. Linus Berger confessed to the daughter’s killing but can apparently not remember what he did with her body, which was never found. On that same day, a young mother is found murdered at her home. The only clue is a chestnut man figure hanging nearby. It becomes clear quite early on that the killer is on a mission but is there a connection to Rosa Hartung and if so, what is it?
Enter Thulin and Hess. Thulin, a single mum, would quite like to leave the murder division behind to focus on cyber crimes. Meanwhile Hess would just rather be somewhere else entirely. He used to work at Europol in The Hague but has been forced to return to Copenhagen under a cloud. What he wants more than anything is to return to his old job, which doesn’t exactly make this investigation a priority on his list.
If you’re one of those readers who is slightly put off by high page counts, try and put that aside. Yes, this novel is more than 500 pages long but it never felt that way to me. Apart from the cramps in my hands from holding it so tightly. This is one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read. The prologue alone sent chills down my spine and had me sitting upright and paying attention from the word “go”.
Incredibly dark and disturbing, extremely chilling, it’s one of those stories where you’re annoyed when you have to put the book down because your eyes stop cooperating. I couldn’t at all figure out who the killer was and the ultimate reveal left me spinning. But that was nothing compared to the emotions I went through when I discovered why the killer is such a damaged individual. The Chestnut Man has everything. From a fantastic setting, to intriguing characters; from gruesome murders to a rather heartbreaking backstory, it is just intensely engrossing and compelling.
Soren Sveistrup is an acclaimed scriptwriter and I felt that really showed in The Chestnut Man. There’s something about the way he sets a scene that makes it incredibly easy to see it play out right in front of your eyes, as if you were watching a film. The Chestnut Man is his debut novel and, goodness gracious me, what an absolute belter it is. If you like your crime thrillers, this needs to go onto your list right now! I have no doubt you’ll be seeing it again in my “best of” at the end of the year and I’ll be recommending it until I’m blue in the face!
Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman.
Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.
It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter. I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.
It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…
| EXTRACT |
Anna was still staring at the photo half a minute later when her office door was thrust open and Detective Inspector Max Walker came rushing in. His face was pinched and tense and his bald head was shiny with perspiration.
He held up a sheet of paper and said, ‘We’ve got a live one, guv. Call just came in and it sounds pretty serious.’
Anna was at once alert. Even though he was still in his early thirties, Walker was one of the most experienced members of her team, and he was not prone to exaggeration.
‘There’s an ongoing incident at a nursery school in Peabody Street, Rotherhithe,’ he said. ‘Three men with guns entered the place and locked the all-female staff in a storeroom. There are four of them and one has been badly beaten.’
Anna jumped to her feet.
‘Who called it in?’
‘One of the women from inside the room. She used a phone the men didn’t know they had.’
‘Jesus. If it’s a nursery then there must be children.’
Walker nodded. ‘There are nine kids apparently, but the staff have no idea what’s happening to them because they were put into another room.’
Anna felt her chest contract as the adrenalin fizzed through her veins.
‘Have shots been fired?’ she asked.
Walker shook his head. ‘Not so far.’
‘Thank God for that.’ She grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair. ‘We’d better get over there fast.’
Minutes later they were in an unmarked pool car that was among dozens of police vehicles from all over South London converging on the Peabody Nursery School in Rotherhithe. Walker was driving while Anna concentrated on the constant stream of updates over the radio.
Yikes! If this extract has left you wanting more, In Safe Hands is now available to buy!
J. P. Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling author who has also written sixteen books under the names Jaime and James Raven.
Before becoming a full-time writer he spent a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and television producer. He was, for a number of years, director of a major UK news division and co-owned a TV production company. He now splits his time between homes in Hampshire and Spain with his wife. (
Absolutely thrilled to join the blog tour A Promise To The Dead by Victoria Jenkins today! My thanks to Team Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
On a dark night, on a mountain road, a young couple, Matthew and Stacey, are on their way home from a night out. Their car breaks down and Matthew leaves to look for help. By the next morning, Stacey is found murdered in the car and Matthew is missing, presumed guilty of her murder.
Called to the scene, Detective Alex King and her team soon see some terrifying links – to another local young man who is missing, and to the discovery of a body from 30 years ago.
Alex knows that the missing and the dead have a story to tell her. But will she hear it in time to uncover the killer before they strike again?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Matthew and his girlfriend Stacey are driving along a dark and quiet mountain road when their car breaks down. Matthew goes to find help, leaving Stacey alone in the car. But by the next morning, Stacey is dead and Matthew is nowhere to be found.
But that is not all and the team is overwhelmed with various cases landing on their desks all at once. Because on top of Stacey’s murder and Matthew’s disappearance, there is another missing person and the discovery of a body under a patio. There are few clues, a bit of frustration and lots of dead-ends. I too couldn’t see the forest for the trees and Victoria Jenkins managed to keep me guessing until the end, as always. As I’ve come to expect, there is some seriously heartbreaking stuff in this storyline, which left me with a massive lump in my throat. True to form, Victoria Jenkins manages to to make the reader sympathise with just about every character you meet, and that includes the ones who are committing a crime.
A Promise to the Dead had me hooked from the first page. It had me flipping the pages faster and faster, sitting on the edge of my seat with my heartbeat racing from the nail-biting tension. This is yet another insanely addictive page-turner with various layers and threads that have no problem whatsoever holding your attention throughout.
Back when I picked up the first book in the Detectives King & Lane series, The Girls in the Water, I just knew I was in for something special. There was something about Victoria Jenkins’ writing, the incredible plotting and the absolutely fantastic main female characters that got my pulse racing. Every book since then just got better and better and now here we are, at what looks like it might be the last one. For now, at least.
If this is to be the end, what a way to go. I’ll miss Alex and Chloë but this entire series has been the most incredible ride and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it from the very beginning. I absolutely love this series and no matter what Victoria Jenkins tackles next, I’ll be first in line!
Victoria Jenkins is a Welsh author who has made a name for herself writing the highly popular Detective King and Lane series of novels. The first novel in the series was “The Girls In The Water” that Jenkins first published in 2017, to much critical acclaim and popularity among crime fiction fans. The series of novels features Detective Constable Chloe Lane and Detective Inspector Alex King, who are the lead investigative characters that solve some mysterious murders in their hometown.
Jenkins lives with her husband and daughter in South Wales, where her series of crime novels featuring Detectives King and Lane is based.