The Henning Juul series by Thomas Enger

So, you’re a bookworm. And suddenly, you find you have the time to read as much as you’ve always wanted to. What better time to start catching up on series than right now?! I thought I’d offer some tips over the next few days/weeks/months (? Yikes!)

Today, I’m shining the spotlight on the Henning Juul series by Thomas Enger.

| ABOUT THE HENNING JUUL SERIES |

Two years after he lost his son in a fire, crime journalist Henning Juul starts working again. Emotionally speaking, he’s shot down, but he tries to pick up the pieces of his life. However, to do so, he must get to the bottom of what really happened when his son died.

The first three books of this series were published by Faber & Faber, the last two by Orenda Books. Why am I mentioning this, you wonder? I shall tell you. Because I didn’t actually know this at the time. If you have been following my blog, then you know that I am cursed (see what I did there?) by the logic that dictates I start a series from the very beginning. However, I read Cursed first, which is book four as I was unaware that there were three books preceding it. Then I read books one to three, and finally ended with book five. It made my head spin, I tell you.

Don’t be like me! There is some amazingly intricate plotting throughout this entire series, which you can only appreciate when you’ve read all the books in order, and to see all the pieces of the puzzle come together was just incredibly exciting. Watching Henning Juul’s character develop and mature throughout was an absolute delight. So do yourself a favour and start at the beginning so you too can enjoy the full experience and see the various threads unravel. It’s so worth it!

The good news, or the sad news depending on which way you look at it, is that this series has come to an end. Five books. That’s it. Come on! You can easily read those in a week! I challenge you! 😉. While it’s of course a shame to see any series come to an end, I will always prefer it being done in this way with a most satisfying conclusion, instead of having it dragged out and end up going nowhere. The ending is fitting, just perfect, and I’m glad the author chose to wrap things up the way he did.

Thomas Enger is responsible for my introduction to the Scandi-Noir genre and for that reason alone, the Henning Juul series will always have a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I did, if you decide to give it a go.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon UK | Waterstones

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date.

In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult).

Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

Black River by Will Dean | @willrdean @PtBlankBks @margotbookpr | #BlackRiver #Tuva3

Many thanks to Margot at Point Blank and Will Dean for my signed proof copy!

Author : Will Dean
Title : Black River
Series : Tuva Moodyson #3
Pages : 363
Publisher : Point Blank
Publication date : March 12, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

FEAR 

Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim has gone missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

| MY THOUGHTS |

If ever I dreamt of moving to a small village near a big forest in Sweden, Black River would seriously make me reconsider that.

Four months ago, Tuva Moodyson left Gavrik and moved down south. But now, her best friend Tammy has gone missing and Tuva races back to Gavrik, fearing for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her and why? Where is she? When another woman goes missing, the small police force of Gavrik finds itself spread too thin. But if there is one thing we’ve learned about Tuva, it’s that she’s fiercely stubborn and determined and she will stop at nothing to find Tammy. Even if that means getting into dangerous situations herself.

The creepy factor is high in Black River. You’d think the long summer days and the upcoming event of Midsummar would lift the doom and gloom that seems to hover above the small town of Gavrik. But no. If anything, it seems worse. Not only are there the multitude of seriously aggressive bugs all over the place, flying in your face, getting stuck in your hair, biting and stinging like you’re some delicious buffet … but the residents. Goodness me, the residents. To define them as creepy almost seems like an understatement. Many of them have secrets they are desperately trying to hide, some act suspicious and some just make you feel so uncomfortable and dirty you’d like to take a really long, hot shower. Quirky and eccentric, yes. Also, just plain weird.

Despite the fact that it’s Summer, Black River manages to keep that extremely claustrophobic feeling Will Dean’s previous books had. Somehow the town seems to be getting smaller and smaller, the forest bigger and darker, this feeling of impending doom growing ever stronger and all the while that chimney of the liquorice factory looms over the town like some harbinger of bad things to come. I may have had some suspicions as to who was responsible for the women going missing but I was completely on the wrong track (I mean, let’s face it, the list of potential suspects is long for such a small town!) and even now, while I’m writing this review, I’m still unable to decide how the ultimate conclusion made me feel. I can say I didn’t see it coming! I was shocked and horrified but also, sad.

Black River is a creepy and chilling story with plenty of characters that will make your skin crawl. Gripping and compelling, yet not fast-paced, which you might expect. Black River doesn’t need the fast pace. It wouldn’t work. Slow and steady does the trick perfectly; allowing the reader to soak up the atmosphere, which is every bit as important in this story as the plot and the characters are. It isn’t until the last few chapters that your heart may be pounding out of your chest and you may be left gasping for breath, when the race against the clock amps up tenfold.

I’ve been saying it a lot lately but it’s not my fault with these authors who constantly raise the bar, so wait for it, here it comes …. best one in the series! I’m not entirely sure what’s next from Will Dean but I DO know I will be there with bells on! And you should be too!

PS : Mind the snakes.

Black River is available to buy in ebook format. The UK hardcover will be published on March 12th, with the paperback to follow later in the year.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon UK | Goldsboro | Hive | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

The Murder House by Michael Wood | @MichaelHWood @0neMoreChapter_

Author : Michael Wood
Title : The Murder House
Series : DCI Matilda Darke #5
Pages : 400
Publisher : One More Chapter
Publication date : January 31, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Blood, guts and gore. Not exactly the aftermath you’d expect the morning following a lovely wedding but there we are. It is exactly the scene DCI Matilda Darke and her team come across when three members of a family are found brutally murdered in their home. Forensics quickly point to a petty criminal, who just happens to be on the run. But things don’t quite seem to add up and DCI Darke must keep her wits about her, while also trying to make sure her team doesn’t fall apart at the seams.

Meanwhile, Sally Meeghan is getting phone calls from someone she believes is her son. Carl went missing years ago. It’s a case that haunts Matilda Darke to this day. Is Carl still alive? Is someone playing a cruel game with his mother? And where on earth will Matilda find the time to deal with this on top of everything else?

I think you can just about get away with reading this one as a stand-alone, although why you would want to is anyone’s guess and obviously my recommendation is always to start from the beginning of a series. This team has gone through so much over the last few years, it’s really not surprising that cracks are starting to show and I truly feared for them.

But they have a job to do and a killer to catch. As to who that killer might be, I didn’t have a clue. By all appearances, this slain family seemed absolutely perfect. Who would want to harm them in such a brutal way and why? With so little information to go on, where do you even start? The tiniest little detail could blow this case right open. And let me tell you, when that happened, my jaw dropped to the floor because that is just a stroke of genius!

The Murder House is the fifth book in the DCI Matilda Darke series. I’ve been with this series from the very beginning and I feel it just isn’t talked about enough, you guys. Michael Wood delivers every single time and every single book has been outstanding but this one? Talk about raising the bar! The Murder House is intensely gripping from the first page and the pace builds up so much, I was wondering when I’d have a moment to come up for air. Deliciously dark, full of red herrings … you know what’s coming, don’t you? Best one in the series yet!

Fans of Matilda Darke will be thrilled with this latest addition, as would anyone who enjoys a solid, fast-paced and incredibly well-plotted police procedural. If Michael Wood isn’t on your radar, he bloody well should be and now is the perfect time to get caught up because there are lots of goodies coming our way from him this year.

The Murder House is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Weekly Wrap-Up (February 2)

Technically this isn’t a weekly wrap-up but more of a look back on the month of January. You may have noticed there haven’t been any weekly wrap-ups because I just haven’t had the time to write them up. January is a blur of shopping, dinners, lunches, parties and one really bad hangover that made me vow never to drink again. That particular resolution lasted about five days. I mean, there was another party, what’s a girl to do? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Thankfully, February looks set to be a whole lot quieter. I feel like I’ve already reached my yearly limit of socialising, to be honest. Still think it’s completely overrated too 😉.

Anywho, on to the books! I’m sure you’ll all be happy to know that with a wee push in December, helped considerably by my loyal buddy reader, I did in fact manage to nail my Goodreads challenge. But for the first time since joining that challenge, it was a bit of a struggle. For someone who read almost 300 books in one year, to “only” have read 201 last year seems somewhat baffling to me but whatever. It is what it is. I am thoroughly enjoying the lack of pressure though so I’ve set this year’s challenge to a measly 100 and we will see what happens. You may also have noticed that my blog tour boycott isn’t quite working out anymore but I’m being extremely picky and hopefully I won’t be sliding down that particular slippery slope too hard again.

Right, let’s take a lot at the books I’ve managed to remove from my TBR in January.

| BOOKS I READ IN JANUARY |

15 books. I remember the days when I read double that in a month. What is wrong with me?! Some brilliant books in that list though and five of those you will undoubtedly see again at the end of the year. Guess away!

| BOOKS I BOUGHT IN JANUARY |

Erm … you may want to grab a cuppa for this one. 😳

Do you think I have a problem? 🤔

| BOOK POST WHAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP IN JANUARY |

With thanks to Avon, Headline, Orenda, Titan Books and Transworld.

| ON THE BLOG IN JANUARY |

Review | Elizabeth Letts – Finding Dorothy
Review | Matt Wesolowski – Beast
Review | Robert Bryndza – Nine Elms
Review | Cara Hunter – All The Rage
Review | C.J. Tudor – The Other People
Review | Howard Linskey – Alice Teale Is Missing
Review | Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst – Death Deserved
Review | David B. Lyons – She Said, Three Said
Guest Post | Robert Crouch – Five Things I Learned From Writing A Series

Seems I posted just enough to keep the cobwebs at bay 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Rebecca Reid – Truth Hurts

Tuesday : Review | Michael Wood – The Murder House

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Claire Allan – The Liar’s Daughter

Friday : Review | Louise Beech – I Am Dust

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up (maybe)

Schedule subject to change due to reviews not being written yet. 🙈

I’d better get going now because I have a mother-in-law to entertain soon. Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend and I wish you a great week with lots of happy reading! xx

All The Rage by Cara Hunter | @CaraHunterBooks @VikingBooksUK | #recommended

Author : Cara Hunter
Title : All The Rage
Series : DI Adam Fawley #4
Pages : 440
Publisher : Penguin UK
Publication date : January 23, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back.

| MY THOUGHTS |

It has been pointed out to me that I’ve been doing an awful lot of judging lately and I’m here to tell you that if you’re not reading this series, I’ll be doing it again! I’ll even add in some shaking of the fist. *shakes fist*

Set in Oxford, All The Rage is the fourth instalment in the DI Adam Fawley series and here is something else I say quite a lot : it’s the best one yet! That’s saying a lot because this series has been remarkably outstanding from the get-go and I don’t know how Cara Hunter manages to raise the bar every single time but she does. Now, I know there are a truckload of crime fiction series out there but there is something about this series right here that somehow makes it stand out from the crowd. I wish I could explain it better but I can’t. It’s that certain “je ne sais quoi”, that thing you just can’t quite put your finger on.

A teenage girl is found wandering the streets. It’s obvious she’s been the victim of a brutal assault, yet she refuses to press charges. But why? Without her cooperation, there is little police can do. But then another girl disappears and DI Adam Fawley’s past is suddenly hot on his heels. Hasn’t he seen this kind of case before?

In case it wasn’t yet clear, I absolutely love this series and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this latest one. I personally don’t feel this can be read as a stand-alone. Not only are changes in DI Fawley’s team quite important to keep track of with respect to team dynamics, his personal life has a huge impact on the cases he works on. Especially when they involve children.

Prepare yourself for one of the most addictive stories I’ve ever read. This plot, you guys! Like whoa! All The Rage is so incredibly twisty, I almost ended up with whiplash. This is a book to devour in one glorious reading session, if you can. Once I picked it up, it became absolutely impossible to put it back down again. I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened and the story ended up going into a completely different direction than what I had been expecting. The shocking revelations just kept on coming and I loved every single one of them. A compelling and gripping investigation, believable characters, a dreamy DI and a fast-paced intricate plot that will keep you guessing until the end …. what more could you possibly want?

All The Rage is a corker of a book in a truly corker of a series! If you’re a fan of crime fiction and police procedurals, this series HAS to be on your shelves! Bring on the next one, I say!

All The Rage will be published on January 23rd.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza | @RobertBryndza @TheCrimeVault | #NineElms

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza. My thanks to Kirsteen at Little Brown for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Robert Bryndza
Title : Nine Elms
Series : Kate Marshall #1
Pages : 400
Publisher : Sphere
Publication date : January 9, 2020 (hardcover)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

| MY THOUGHTS |

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Robert Bryndza and his crime fiction series featuring Erika Foster. But now he’s back with a brand-new series and an equally brand-new exciting female protagonist.

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a detective working for the London Metropolitan Police. Kate ended up on the wrong side of a serial killer case. With her career and reputation in tatters, she relocated to the English coast, where she now works in academia. But the past is about to catch up with her.

Back in 1995, there was a spate of brutal murders. And now, it looks as if someone is trying to recreate that sequence of events. There is no doubt the “Nine Elms” serial killer is behind bars and investigators are dealing with a copycat. But who and why? And what is their end game?

As far as introducing the reader to a new series goes, this is right up there. There is so much going on in this first instalment and the intriguing premise of Kate’s past pulled me in from the get-go. Not only are we faced with a copycat killer but there is an unsolved missing persons case which may just tie in with the original Nine Elms serial killer. And throughout it all, the reader gets to know the character of Kate Marshall as she is forced to confront her past. Kate quite quickly proves herself to be a determined woman who, despite having left the force all those years ago, has never been able to shake off her “copper’s nose” and with her assistant Tristan by her side, we immediately get an exciting new investigative team. Albeit it with a different spin to it as obviously Kate doesn’t have a badge or access to various spiffy databases. All she has is experience, knowledge and her instincts.

Did I mention these murders are particularly brutal and gruesome? I’m not of the squeamish variety most of the time, especially not while reading, but good grief … let’s just say I often muttered the words “ugh, eww”. Yet, I felt those details were important to drive home how despicable the Nine Elms serial killer and his copycat are. Underneath it all is a fascinating insight into mother and son relationships, even if they’re leaning towards a whole new level of dysfunctional, and that always thrilling topic of nature versus nurture.

The Erika Foster series was hugely successful for Robert Bryndza and I have no doubt this new series featuring Kate Marshall will be equally so. The compelling Nine Elms is an amazing way to kick it off and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Kate and Tristan.

Nine Elms is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 28 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

**Cover Reveal** The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott | @RachelAbbott @headlinepg @JoLidds | #MurderGameBook

Just a little bit (read : a lot!!!) excited today as I have the fabulous opportunity to reveal the cover for The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott to you all!

The Murder Game is the second instalment in the Stephanie King series and it will be published on April 16th, 2020. Before I show you the cover, here is what The Murder Game is all about. (Do you think I’ve mentioned the title enough in this paragraph? 🤔)

Author : Rachel Abbott
Title : The Murder Game
Series : Stephanie King #2
Pages : 416
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : April 16, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’s wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?

😱😱

Doesn’t this sound absolutely awesome?! That book descriptions alone oozes the creepy like a creeptastic … erm, … creepy thing. I can’t wait!

Are you ready to see the cover now?

3

2

1

Here it comes!

I love this! Although, I don’t know about you but if I found this on my plate, I may just run a mile. (Also, what’s with the empty glasses? Not cool! 😂)

The Murder Game will be published on April 16th, 2020 but you can already preorder it right now! And you should because Rachel Abbott’s books are always delicious treats full of suspense!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again, The Sixth Window, Come a Little Closer and And So It Begins. Her most recent novel, The Shape of Lies, was released in February 2019. 

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language. 

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction.

This Week in Books (December 18)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.

She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

[* There’s a bit of a story attached to this one, which you can read at the bottom of the post, if you’re so inclined.]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness.

[Catching up on some of Ruth Ware’s older work after loving The Death of Mrs Westaway and The Turn of the Key]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back.

[One of my favourite crime series and I can’t wait to get stuck into this new instalment!]

For those of who you who saw last week’s post, DO NOT PANIC! I did indeed read Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker and absolutely loved it!

* The Nicci French story. At my local mall, which is about half an hour’s drive away from my house, is one book shop that sells English books. It’s not a very big selection and they aren’t updated all that often either. I’d been there three weeks or so ago so the odds that there would be any new and exciting offerings were dismal. Still, as I explained to the other half, one does not just walk by a book shop! Cue lots of sighing and eye rolling. From him, not from me 😉. He goes off to browse the dvd section and I head to the books. There were a few new additions and by few, I mean I could have counted them on one hand. Also, I’d already read those. Nothing else really appealed to me. Which is when I spotted Nicci French. Now, I haven’t read a Nicci French book in my life and I really wasn’t sure about this one but at least it was a title I’d actually heard of and there was absolutely no frickin’ way that I was going to leave that shop without a book and prove the other half right. This is how Nicci French got to go home with me and since I stupidly exclaimed I was really excited about this book, I obviously had to start reading it right away. Thankfully, I actually really enjoyed it. And this is how we roll at Casa Novel Deelights. 😂

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! “This Week in Books” will return on January 8th. Until then, I wish you lots of happy reading! xx

The Six by Luca Veste

Author : Luca Veste
Title : The Six
Pages : 400
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date : December 26, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Six friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Despite having had Luca Veste’s previous book, The Bone Collector, stashed away somewhere for ages, this is actually my first time reading one of his books. I mean, who could possibly resist that incredibly intriguing book description, right?

Six friends decide to spend a weekend camping out at a music festival. This could be the last time they can do something like this together before responsibilities get in the way and they are determined to make the most of this weekend away. But things do not exactly go as planned. Someone dies. The six friends vow never to talk to anyone about what happened that weekend and yet, it seems someone knows what they did and the time has come for the six to pay the price.

The Six ended up being somewhat of a story in two parts for me. The actual events of that weekend are super tense and sometimes slightly creepy in that whole “I’m never setting foot in a forest or going camping ever again” kind of way. This first half grabbed my attention from the get-go. It was utterly compelling and a true page-turner. However, the second half slowed down quite a bit and became just a tad predictable, in that way where you know what’s coming and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll figure out the who rather easily as well. I almost I reached that point where I thought “just wrap it up already”, and that’s never a good sign.

Nevertheless, as a whole, The Six is gripping and a well-written suspenseful crime thriller with extremely fun back-to-the-90’s vibes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s clever, hugely character driven and quite unsettling at times. In the midst of a reading slump, I read this one in one afternoon and despite some of my misgivings, I think that’s really saying something. I’m calling my first introduction to Luca Veste’s books a success and I’ll definitely be trying one of his books again some time.

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

The Six will be published on December 26th.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Black Summer by M.W. Craven | @MWCravenUK @TheCrimeVault @bethwright26| #blogtour #BlackSummer

One of my books of the summer (and of the year, but that’s a story for another day) will be published in paperback next week with a shiny, and quite bloody, new cover. Black Summer is the follow-up to The Puppet Show and I insist you read this series … or else 😉. Anyway, I’m re-sharing my review as part of the paperback blog tour and I hope you’ll all be convinced that you really need to meet Tilly and Poe!

Author : M.W. Craven
Title : Black Summer
Series : Washington Poe #2
Pages : 388
Publisher : Constable / Little Brown UK
Publication date : December 12, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Black Summer is the second book in the Washington Poe series and I’ll say right now that it’s even better than its predecessor. I never reviewed The Puppet Show on my blog because the sheer awesomeness blew me away and I couldn’t find the words to describe all the feels, as the youngsters would say. Ever since I finished reading that one, I’ve been impatiently awaiting its follow-up and here it is. This time, I’m determined to get some half-decent sentences on paper and try to convince you that, yes, you DO absolutely need a new series in your life.

Celebrated chef Jared Keaton is serving a life sentence for the murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. But Elizabeth’s body was never found. So when a young woman walks into a remote police station declaring she is Elizabeth, it looks like Jared will be released. Washington Poe suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the investigation. Determined to find out the truth, he enlists the help of the only person he trusts, the absolutely fabulous Tilly Bradshaw. The question they need to answer is a real conundrum. How can someone be both alive and dead at the same time?

Fair warning. Black Summer kicks off with a rather gruesome event at a restaurant. It’s not a brutal murder scene, in case you wondered. It’s a dish that is served, which made me gag. I also made the horrible mistake of googling to see if it was a real thing. Stupid me. It’s things like that, that give me nightmares, people! Shudder.

Anywho! From that opening scene, we go back in time, when two weeks prior Elizabeth reappears. And just like that, we’re off on a ridiculously tense and gripping journey with a manipulative psychopath at the helm. I couldn’t at all figure out what was going on. While I had some theories, I just couldn’t make them stick, which was rather apt because that was also Poe’s problem. He’s quite convinced he knows the score, he just can’t seem to find the proof he so desperately needs.

A fascinating investigation to keep you hooked from start to finish but what really makes this series stand out is the truly delightful relationship between Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw. Tilly herself is a joy but it’s her interactions with Poe and others that really make her shine and allow for some comic relief in between all the gore, murder and mayhem.

I don’t know about being Team Poe or Team Tilly, the decision is too hard, but I am most definitely Team Craven! Black Summer is immensely compelling, a delicious page-turner and it’s undoubtedly left me wanting more. Make some room on your shelves for this one! You won’t regret it!

Black Summer is available to buy! And while you’re checking that one out, do have a look at book 3, The Curator, which you can (and should!) preorder.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery