Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (trs by @givemeawave | @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

Delighted to welcome you all to the final day of the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson. Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the fab review copy and to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the tour.

Author : Johana Gustawsson (trs by David Warriner)
Title : Blood Song
Series : Roy &. Castells #3
Pages : 272
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 19, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Spain, 1938

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016

A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…

| MY THOUGHTS |

I am broken. Good grief.

I apologise upfront for this review but words completely fail me and I can only hope that what little I say next will convince you that this book, and the rest of the series, is an absolute must-read for any crime fiction fan who also doesn’t mind being educated somewhat.

Few crime fiction series leave me feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut numerous times, wanting to curl up into a tiny ball under my duvet, but Johana Gustawsson manages it every single time. You’d think I would have learned my lesson from her previous books but apparently I hadn’t because I wasn’t all prepared for the emotional impact Blood Song would have on me.

Blood Song is the third instalment in the Roy and Castells series and it is even stronger than its predecessors, proving this series only goes from strength to strength. In Falkenberg, Sweden, a wealthy family is found murdered in their home. The hunt for the killer leads Roy and Castells right back to the terror of Franco’s regime in Spain.

Cue some of the most harrowing chapters I’ve ever read in my life! I wasn’t at all familiar with this devastating period in Spanish history and it made me feel remarkably uncomfortable to realise that it actually wasn’t all that long ago. I don’t want to give anything away, obviously, but I will say that some events are extremely brutal, disturbing and dark and I have no doubt whatsoever that these chapters will haunt me forever.

As if that wasn’t enough, Johana Gustawsson also tackles the topic of inferitily and the measures some people will go to to obtain what Mother Nature is denying them, while also laying bare the unscrupulous side of infertility clinics.

Basically, Blood Song left me utterly reeling and feeling completely heartbroken. I don’t have the words to do this story justice at all. It is devastating and yet, there is also a tiny glimmer of hope and a sense of empowerment of women who have dealt with the worst of the worst.

Johana Gustawsson is a remarkable talent and I continue to be absolutely impressed by the way she manages to combine modern crime fiction with some of history’s most shocking eras and the atrocious things humans are capable of. I can’t recommend this powerful read and this entire series enough and I absolutely can’t wait for more! And as always, shout-out to David Warriner for the seamless translation!

Blood Song is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production.

Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.

My Top 20 Favourite Series of 2018 (part one)

What an incredible year for books 2018 has been! I remember back in January already thinking compiling these end-of-year lists would be an impossible task. So just like last year, I’ve split things up. My favourite stand-alones will follow at a later date but in this post, I’m focusing on my favourite series. At least it will give me the opportunity to highlight more books.

Some of these may not have been published this year but since I read them this year, I mention them anyway alongside their most recent additions.

Because the list is so long (I had no idea I read so many series!), I’m splitting this post up into two parts.

So, in random order, My Top 20 Favourite Series of 2018 – Part One!

| Sarah Hilary – DI Marnie Rome |

I said it last year and I’ll say it again : Sarah Hilary’s writing just keeps getting better and better and this series is one of the strongest out there! [my review]

| Helen Fields – DI Luc Callanach |

Again, a corker of a series! I’ve loved this series from the very beginning and any crime fiction fan, of the not faint-hearted variety, should most definitely be reading this! [my reviews here and here]

| David Jackson – DS Nathan Cody |

An absolutely brilliant addition to an already outstanding series that I feel more people should be talking about! [my review]

| Angela Marsons – DI Kim Stone |

Was there ever any doubt these would be on the list? Still going utterly strong after nine books and still a series I’ll happily drop everything for when a new book publishes. [my review here and here]

| J.D. Barker – 4MK |

I’ve found that I’m leaning more towards books set in England lately but I gladly make an exception for the 4MK Thriller series because it just blows my mind! I’m incredibly excited to see how J.D. Barker wraps things up in the final instalment. [my review for The Fifth to Die]

| Johanna Gustawsson – Roy and Castells |

Modern crimes combined with historical fiction? Don’t mind if I do! If you’re looking for addictive page-turners, this is it! [my review]

| Cara Hunter – DI Adam Fawley |

One of those series that just hooked me from the first page. I thought Close To Home was amazing but In The Dark was even better! I can’t wait for book three! [my review for Close to Home]

| Sarah Ward – DC Connie Childs |

I’ve been reading this series from the beginning but have never reviewed it. These books tend to be published right before I leave on holiday in September and they are the first book I pick up when I’m settling down by the pool in Tuscany. I can never find the words to them justice and so don’t review them but consider them my very own special treat. So good!

| Alison Weir – The Six Tudor Queens |

Few people do Tudor fiction the way Alison Weir does and The Six Tudor Queens brings that era to life in the most fascinating way. [my review]

| Daniel Cole – Detective William Fawkes |

Slightly misleading to call it the second book in the Detective William Fawkes series since he’s not actually in it. Personally I didn’t really miss him all that much because of another character but I know other people did. Still, another gripping and exciting book that makes you anxiously await the next instalment. [my review]

So there we have it. Part one of my favourite series of the year. Anything here you’ve read as well? Enjoyed? Didn’t like at all? I’d ask you to mention which books you’d add to the list but since there’s more to come, we’ll leave that for now. Be sure to come back tomorrow for part two! 

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #Keeper #RandomThingsTours

It’s my turn on the blog tour for Keeper by Johana Gustawsson today and I’m so incredibly excited, I may just burst! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda and Anne Cater for the invitation to join and the fabulous review copy!

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Author : Johana Gustawsson
Title : Keeper
Series : Roy & Castells #2
Pages : 303
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 15, 2018 ebook | April 28, 2018 paperback

aboutthebook

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London, 2015
: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015
: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down.

mythoughts

In my review of the previous Roy & Castells book, Block 46, I may have uttered the words “sheer perfection”. Quite frankly, I didn’t think Johana Gustawsson could top that and I wouldn’t need to worry about coming up with an even bigger statement than the one I made at the time. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Because somehow Johana Gustawsson raised the bar even higher and completely blew me away!

If you’ve read Block 46 (and if you haven’t, I may just have to hurt you), then you know Johana Gustawsson combined crime fiction with events set in World War II, which just happens to be one of my favourite topics to read about. In Keeper, she does it again, by seamlessly and effortlessly combining yet another firm favourite of mine, Victorian era Jack The Ripper murders with current events in Sweden and England. How are these connected, I hear you ask? Well, you’ll just have to pick up the book, won’t you?

I will tell you that what follows is a dark, disturbing and deliciously gruesome tale. From the very first page, Keeper had me in a chokehold and wouldn’t let go. Forget sleep! Seriously! Either you’ll be up all night reading, or you will be haunted by nightmares. I gasped, I felt shocked, I even may have felt a little nauseous at times, uttered the words “bloody hell” and sank a little deeper into my sofa, felt somewhat breathless and most definitely speechless. This is what I look for in my books. An insanely awesome experience, a thrill a minute that has me completely absorbed and leaves me desperately wanting more.

Keeper is intensely gripping, utterly addictive and a compelling page-turner like no other. The relatively short chapters urge you on to read just one more, and then another. Johana Gustawsson’s writing is razor sharp and the investigation will keep you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, frantically trying to figure out the clues. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the evil mastermind that is Johana Gustawsson (and really, she looks so sweet!) comes up with an absolutely fantastic conclusion that left me spinning as if I’d just gone on a rollercoaster about twenty times in a row.

In short, I loved it and highly recommend you pick this one up! It is of the sheerest perfection (😉) and will without a doubt be in my top 10 at the end of the year! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a thesaurus. Odds are I’m going to need it for the next instalment in the series.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

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