Weekly Wrap-Up (September 1)

HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER???????

The third heatwave of the year hit our shores this past week and while I absolutely love sunshine and heat, I reached a point where I’d just had enough. I assume that’s mostly due to the immense sleep deprivation that is haunting me because the dog will still not sleep where she’s been sleeping for the past 11 years. So I’ve been grabbing an hour here and thirty minutes there on the sofa while she’s snoring and dreaming up a storm right next to me. I had hoped the cooler temperatures would change that but sadly not and we are now left to think there is something else going on and unfortunately that can never be good news. We will see tomorrow what the vet says.

The other half’s annual vacation starts today so we have officially kicked off our Italy countdown. This time next week, …. erm, well, it looks like I might be stuck indoors with a book because the weather forecast is absolutely atrocious. My current holiday TBR pile stands at 8. I hope that’ll be enough. There are some chunky ones in there, like three books in the Shardlake series I still have to read.

Reading-wise, things are going fabulously! Reviewing however, is another matter. It seems to be in holiday mode already. I have one review left to write for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge, which is of course great. But I actually could have been finished last week because I’ve read more than 20. I just couldn’t be bothered to review them 🤣

So, which books made it off the shelves this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Still feeling rather accomplished about finishing a non-fiction book for the first time ever. It’s been a great reading week, for sure!

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Oops. I think I might need to start applying reverse psychology on myself because the whole “I’m not buying anymore books” thing is obviously not working. 😳

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

Tuesday : nothingnesses

Wednesday : Shared my review for The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson

Thursday : also nothing

Friday : nothing to see here either

Saturday : Reviewed Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

The fruits of my conscious effort to slow down are most definitely starting to pay off 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Tuesday : Probably nothing

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing

Friday : Also nothing

Saturday : Most definitely nothing

Sunday : Nada, zilch

I don’t know about you but I’m awfully excited about next week’s posts 😂

My Weekly Wrap-Up will return at the end of the month, which shall then be called the Monthly Wrap-Up. Hopefully I’ll have something to say about books because that didn’t go so well last year. I read 2 books on holiday, the lowest amount ever. Still don’t get how that happened.

And that’s a wrap! I’ll still be around until Friday but after that, I’m considering a total social media break and my blog will most likely gather dust. I may even leave the laptop at home. Oooh, controversial decision! 🤣

Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (July 21)

Slightly odd week. I was feeling rather overwhelmed with things again, having quite a few books to get through for the upcoming week. So naturally, the logical approach seemed to be …. the ostrich one. 🤔.

Instead of reading, I spent hours on YouTube watching old tennis matches. As you do. This means I of course fell behind even more and I still have two books to read for blog tours next week. Stupid girl.

And of course, I also had to keep up with social media and watch my blogger friends have an absolute blast at the Theakston Crime Festival in Harrogate this weekend. It’s not something I ever see myself attending (WAY too many people! 😂) but that doesn’t mean I don’t get a teenie-tiny jealous every single time.

Anyway, what did I manage to read this week then?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Oh! I just surprised myself here! That’s not too bad at all! I have no idea how I did that. Maybe I’m sleep-reading 🤔🤣

If you feel like playing the guessing game today : one of those is in my top 5 of books of the year.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I already owned Tall Oaks on Kindle so that doesn’t count, does it?

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Superduper grateful and lucky blogger this week! With thanks to Headline, Atlantic / Corvus and Orenda.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review for Stop At Nothing by Tammy Cohen

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Child’s Play by Angela Marsons

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Author Andrew Joyce visited to talk about his new book Mahoney

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Last Stage by Louise Voss

Saturday : Took the day off because everyone and their dog was at Harrogate 😂

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | What I Did by Claire McGowan
Monday : Blog tour | Review | The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Found by Erin Kinsley

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Scribe by A.A. Chaudhuri

Friday : Review | Crime Short Stories by various authors

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Accidental double booking there. 🙄 Two still to read, like I mentioned at the start, and no time to read today. Argh! Things will settle down enormously after this week though. You’ll see! No, really. Stop laughing! 😜

And that’s a wrap! We have another heatwave coming our way this week. The current forecast is predicting temperatures of 39C, possibly even 40C, and boy, do I hope they’re wrong 😅. But if they’re not wrong, I predict a lot of reading and zero sleeping so there’s that.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! See you next time! Happy reading! xx

The Last Stage by Louise Voss | @LouiseVoss1 @OrendaBooks | #RandomThingsTours

Author : Louise Voss
Title : The Last Stage
Pages : 306
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Despite having written eleven novels over the years, Louise Voss is still very much a new-to-me author. Her previous book, The Old You, is the only one I’ve read so far (still one of my favourites too!) and I was quite excited to see what she’d come up with next.

That next book is here and it’s called The Last Stage. Meredith Vincent was the lead singer of a legendary 1980’s indie band. Until one day, she turned her back on it all and retreated to a little cottage on the grounds of an old stately home; choosing a quiet life working in a gift shop, rather than the bright and dazzling lights of the stage.

Few people know what made Meredith decide to change her life like that and the reader is fed little clues along the way with chapters that take us back to Meredith’s rise and ultimate fall in the music industry. I enjoyed that journey as a fascinating ripple effect of decision upon decision, some extremely innocuous and innocent, take Meredith on a path she couldn’t have predicted at all. You just can’t help but wonder how different things would have been if she’d made other choices. Hindsight and all that.

Meredith now leads a quiet and peaceful life but things are about to change when the estate manager is found dead. Meredith starts to notice other little things but is she merely being paranoid or has someone found out who she is and more importantly, where she is?

The disturbing prologue pulls you in from the get-go, to be followed by something a bit murder-at-the-mansion like and what’s not to love about that? There’s a delicious kind of threatening vibe running through the storyline, this feeling deep in your bones that says something is coming but you have no idea what that will be. Just that it won’t be anything good, obviously. I couldn’t at all figure out who was behind it all or why, even though it seemed fairly clear that it had something to do with Meredith’s past. It’s hard not to feel for her, the terror she deals with, never feeling safe and constantly wondering what’s coming next. I’d be hiding too.

There’s absolutely no denying Louise Voss is a brilliant writer. The Last Stage is an unsettling read, with short chapters that urge you on to keep reading. A well-paced story of obsession and revenge that shows off Louise Voss’ ability to diversify and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

The Last Stage is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one bestseller in eBook.

Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk.

She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime- writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

This Week in Books (July 17)

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 |

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

She was young and beautiful, married to a famous author. They were celebrating their anniversary at their stunning country estate. So why did Julia Blake walk out of her perfect life, apparently leaving no trace?

Seren, a junior reporter for the local paper, can’t believe her luck when she lands an exclusive with Julia’s husband, Max. But as Seren spends more time at the couple’s remote mansion, probing ever deeper into the case, dark questions await.

What was Julia really like, behind closed doors? Was her marriage to this brooding, secretive man as perfect as it seemed? And did she really mean to disappear that night – or was she murdered? 

Feeling the pressure this week so keeping my head down and getting stuck in. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston | @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the brilliant review copy!

Author : Paul Burston
Title : The Closer I Get
Pages : 311
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Well, now. If this doesn’t make you want to shut down all of your social media accounts and unplug your modern technology gadgets from now until eternity, I don’t know what will.

Tom Hunter is a successful author but he’s struggling to finish his latest novel. An online fan, Evie, just will not leave him alone. When Evie is hit with a restraining order, Tom is able to live again and enjoy his freedom. Or is he? Because there is a lot more to this story than you might think.

I must admit, I’ve been struggling with the psychological thriller genre a bit lately. But this one? Gosh, this one is SO dark and SO utterly brilliantly disturbing, it had me hooked! And of course, immensely relatable because I’m sure many of us have had to deal with “trolls” on social media. Paul Burston really manages to bring home the impact this kind of behaviour can have on someone who’s at the receiving end. To the point where I myself was beginning to feel completely paranoid, eying my social media followers, wondering who’s hiding behind those profile pictures.

I didn’t find either of these characters particularly likeable. I’m not entirely sure if I was meant to. As unstable as Evie is, I often felt like smacking her because I found her extremely irritating (sorry!). And as for Tom, despite being the victim in this case, he often came across as an arrogant douchebag (again, sorry!) and there was just something about him that meant I didn’t fully trust him.

You can’t have a psychological thriller and not have a few surprises along the way, now can you. Paul Burston did that extremely well and pulled the rug right from under my feet. I was never quite able to figure out the outcome of this story, couldn’t see how this would all end and tried to imagine a few different scenarios. None of which were happy and fluffy, mind you. The ultimate conclusion though is one I could never have predicted at all and it blew me away!

This story is massively unsettling. With an almost unbearable tension, complex characters, a remarkable psychological insight and an impending sense of doom, The Closer I Get is a highly addictive, thought-provoking and compelling page-turner. Creepy, extremely frightening and chilling, this is the kind of book you just can’t put down and one which makes you appreciate the psychological thriller genre all over again!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and deactivate my twitter account. 😅

The Closer I Get is available to buy in ebook format, with the paperback to follow on July 11th.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goldsboro (sprayed edges!) | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television.

He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications includingGuardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”.

He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 30)

Bye bye, June! You were really cold and then you were really hot so I forgive you for not realising Summer had already started because you sure as heck made up for it!

Obviously, because of this heat, I didn’t do anything much productive. Perfect excuse really, to just lounge around and complain to the other half because he is of course at work in air-conditioning all day. So not fair. Although I did, like a true crazy person, tackle my ironing in 32C heat. As you do. I’m hoping I lost enough calories doing that to balance out all the ice cream I’ve had this past week.

Last night, I abandoned my current book to watch two glorious hours of The Killers headlining Glastonbury. Few things make me drop a book but they will do it every single time. I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago and hope I get another chance at that some time in the future. Love them. ❤️

Anyway, books! That’s why we’re here, right? So, how did I do this week? Let’s see!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

BOOM!!!! *smug face*

One somewhat disappointing, one absolutely fantastic, the others somewhere in between. Feel free to guess 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

It’s a good thing I read 7 books last week because I may have ordered some*. But since they haven’t arrived yet, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what they are.

*(Only 8)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for review (which actually arrived last week but I forgot to mention it) and one for a blog tour I’m ridiculously excited about! With thanks to Quercus and Michael Joseph.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Shared my review of After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books (which I didn’t stick to again 🙄)

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Shared my review of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! One blog tour! ONE! Quite obviously a mistake. 😉

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Review | The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Thursday : Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Read all of them. I feel rather accomplished. Let’s not mention the reviews, shall we? 😳 I’m hoping to do those this afternoon but I’m pretty sure my brain has melted.

Please also note there are only two blog tours. Could it possibly be I finally have that whole thing figured out? Tune in next time 🤣

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland | @HelgaFlatland @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #AModernFamily #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my beautiful review copy!

Author : Helga Flatland (trs Rosie Hedger)
Title : A Modern Family
Pages : 250
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When Liv, Ellen, and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships, and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change.

| MY THOUGHTS |

This novel is the perfect example of why I love doing blog tours as much as I do. It isn’t exactly the type of book I’d normally go for. In fact, I was rather worried it wouldn’t be my thing at all. But Orenda Books has never let me down before and as I have the utmost faith in their books, I decided to go for it. Didn’t regret it for a second!

On a trip to Italy to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, Liv, Ellen and Håkon’s lives are thrown into turmoil when their parents reveal their decision to get divorced. Each must now come to terms with the changes that will bring.

I didn’t particularly like any of these characters. Yet the feelings they are struggling with were immensely relatable. It’s easy to forget sometimes that your parents are just people too, with their own thoughts, opinions and feelings. How well do we ever really know our parents and the life they lead when we aren’t around? Just because they don’t argue in front of us, doesn’t mean they don’t argue in private, for instance. Watching the siblings struggle with their parents’ divorce made sense. In effect, it is a safety net that has vanished and for Liv especially, who tried to model her own marriage after her parents, things fall apart rather quickly. If her parents can’t make their marriage last, how can she?

A Modern Family is a beautifully written story about relationships and the shifting of family dynamics. It delves deep into the psychology of these characters and shows remarkable insight as the characters start to analyse, not only themselves, but also those closest to them. I often found myself nodding at some of the things that were said and you just can’t help reading this and subsequently put your own family under a magnifying glass. With complex characters and issues, this beautifully written story soon became utterly immersive and that is no mean feat when you realise there are no bells and whistles, no twists and turns, but just everyday people dealing with everyday problems.

A Modern Family surprised me in the best way possible. Moving, powerful, thought-provoking and immensely absorbing, it paints a wonderful and realistic picture of a family going through the ups and downs of modern life.

A Modern Family is published tomorrow and available for preorder!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors.

Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Weekly Wrap-Up ( June 9)

Looks like Summer pissed off again. Instead we’ve had huge thunderstorms, rain and gusts. One of my young trees toppled over and is currently quite elegantly stuck between two rubbish bins so it stays upright. Idea courtesy of the other half 🙄

Reading-wise, my week got off to a great start! And then my reading mojo decided to throw yet another spanner in the works, resulting in starting two books that quickly found their way back to the bookshelf. Instead, I watched some tennis and did a whole lot of absolutely nothing.

However, I did manage to read more than 3 books this week so that’s progress! And I would have finished another one yesterday if a certain buddy reader would have stopped procrastinating 😉😂

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’m switching back and forth between blog tour books and books from my 20 Books of Summer list and so far, it’s working like a charm. Fingers crossed I can keep this up! Reviews for three of those will be up on the blog this week.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

This pre-order arrived at the start of the week so naturally I dropped everything and read it straight away. I mean, come on! It’s Stuart MacBride!

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

A giveaway win, two for a blog tour and one that might be for a tour? I’m not exactly sure. 😂 With thanks to Transworld, Orenda, Penguin and Jo!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing to see here

Tuesday : I was going to post and then I forgot what I wanted to do so I didn’t do anything 😳

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract of The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater for my stop on the blog tour

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Blog tour | Extract | What Lies Around Us by Andrew Croft

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Oooh. Could this be the start of a busy summer?

Question of the week : How far ahead do you start planning your holiday reads? How do you decide which books to shove into your suitcase? Are there books you deliberately keep aside for when you’re on holiday?

That’s a wrap! Have a fabulous week and I’ll see you next time! Happy reading! xx

Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen | @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours #VargVeum

It is a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Gunnar Staalesen (trs Don Bartlett)
Title : Wolves At The Door
Series : Varg Veum
Pages : 260
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Norway’s favourite private investigator returns but Varg Veum’s day quickly gets off to a bad start when a car drives at him at high speed and comes very close to running him over. Varg Veum is convinced someone meant to kill him. Especially after the deaths of two men who were convicted of crimes Varg Veum himself had stood wrongly accused of once. The police are not treating these deaths as suspicious. As far as they’re concerned, their cases are closed. But Varg Veum is worried he might be next and sets out to investigate on his own, bringing danger right to his door.

Dealing with a topic like child abuse makes Wolves at the Door an extremely uncomfortable read at times. Yet it also oozes atmosphere, which is what a great Scandi-Noir should do and Gunnar Staalesen knows exactly how to achieve that. The exquisite investigative skills Varg Veum has always remind me of the PI’s from the old days with their raincoat and hat, lurking in the shadows, like a black and white movie. No bells or whistles, no spending hours trawling databases, just good old-fashioned pounding the pavement and talking to people. This allows the reader to follow along quite nicely to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together right alongside Varg Veum.

I didn’t fit any pieces together at all, however. Varg Veum meets quite a few characters and they all quite obviously have something to hide, secrets they are desperate to protect. And just like him, I couldn’t at all figure out who was lying or if anyone could be trusted which often made me feel pretty frustrated. But if there is one thing to admire about Varg Veum, it is his sheer determination to get to the truth and somehow I’m always left with the feeling that he will accomplish exactly what he sets out to do.

Wolves at the Door may be slow paced but it’s also incredibly gripping and full of suspense. It’s dark, gritty and sadly also all too realistic and believable. All the while, it shines a spotlight on the failings of the criminal justice system, highlighting modern day issues like sex trafficking and the effects of abuse. Not an easy read, like I said, but with Varg Veum at the helm it is a fascinating investigation. Gunnar Staalesen’s well-developed character undoubtedly has many more investigations ahead of him and will keep fans coming back for more. As always, I mustn’t forget to mention the seamless translation by Don Bartlett, whose hard work allows the masses to enjoy top-of-the-shelf Scandi-Noir too.

Wolves at the Door will be published in paperback format next week and can be pre-ordered. The Kindle version is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947.

He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed.

Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife

This Week in Books (June 5)

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 |

Penny and Hattie are sisters in a small town, bound tight to the point of knots. They share a secret they cannot escape, even while it pulls them apart.

One night, a match is lit, and Penny’s terrible husband is killed – a marriage going up in flames, and offering the potential of a new life. The sisters retreat into their family home – a house of secrets and memories – and try to live in the shadow of what they put in motion. But Penny’s husband is not the only thing they are hiding, from the outside world and from each other.

Under a cloud of long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid, the bonds of sisterhood begin to crack. How long will Penny and Hattie demand the unthinkable of each other? How often will they say, “You owe me,” and when will it ever be enough? 

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

We all know them. Those who exist just on the fringes of society. Who send prickles up the back of our neck. The charmers. The liars. The manipulators. Those who have the potential to go that one step too far. And then take another step.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living from these people. Each week she broadcasts a radio show looking into the past lives of convicted killers; asking if there was more that could have been done to prevent their terrible crimes.

Then one day she is approached by a woman desperate to find her missing friend, Cassie, fearing her abusive husband may have taken that final deadly step. But as Jessamine delves into the months prior to Cassie’s disappearance she fails to realise there is a dark figure closer to home, one that threatens the safety of her own family . . . 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

When Liv, Ellen, and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce. Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

For those who follow my Sunday wrap-up posts and are keeping track of my reading, I would like to point out that I am currently reading my third book of the week. If you have any bets going on how many books I’ll read this week, now might be the time to have a think on wether or not I’ll get to four (or higher) by the weekend 😉😂

Anything here you’ve read and loved? Anything you’d like to read? What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx