The Island by Ragnar Jónasson | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : The Island
Series : Hidden Iceland #2
Pages : 342
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having really enjoyed The Darkness a while back, I couldn’t wait to see what Ragnar Jónasson had in store with The Island.

Four friends come together to spend a weekend on an isolated island for a reunion, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their other friends. It soon becomes apparent their friendship isn’t as solid as it used to be. There’s a lot of tension, awkward silences, the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago and dark secrets are struggling to stay hidden. Then, one of the remaining four friends is found dead. DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the island to investigate this death. Could there possibly be a connection to what happened all those years ago?

Reading The Darkness had me immensely intrigued as to where Ragnar Jónasson would take this series. After all, book one was the end and we’re going back in time. From the start, I thought that was a really interesting premise. However, now that I’ve read the second book, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of going in reverse. I found it quite hard to care about Hulda because I already know what happens to her. It’s a bit like watching a film when the biggest spoiler or twist has already been revealed to you and you’re left to wonder why you’re wasting your time on something you already know the conclusion of. I can’t help but feel I’m missing something that would enlighten me about this premise and make me appreciate it more.

Saving grace in this instance, though, is Ragnar Jónasson’s writing. Always absorbing and beautifully descriptive, it paints the most magical picture of Iceland. The Island is dark, sometimes somewhat chilling, with a sense of foreboding and the investigation kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out whodunnit or why and needing to know the answers to those questions is what kept me reading.

Overall though, I am mostly left with sense of disappointment. I expected more, I suppose, and in that respect The Island didn’t really deliver. It’s a good book on its own but as the middle book in a trilogy, I feel it needed something more to really keep me gripped. That said, I will be reading the final instalment when it’s published as I am still intrigued enough to see what Ragnar Jónasson’s end game is.

The Island is available to buy!

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

Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list

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

This Week in Books (June 26)

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 |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.

Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.

My next read may still change. I’m in a mood. 😂

What are you reading this week? Let me know! 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 (May 29)

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 |

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband. 

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected. 

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son. 

What if they could have both?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

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.

Anything catching your eye? What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 19)

*insert long rant about how crappy this week has been here*

Thank you for all the well-wishes on twitter. I’m fine. There is just a whole lot of family shit going on, which came at me like a speeding train and I felt completely overwhelmed by everything. On top of that, I seem to have landed myself in a reading slump and I’m suffering from a crisis in confidence, partly brought on by being the only blogger who wasn’t thanked by an author for her review on a blog tour. I know I shouldn’t let that get to me but man, it’s hard not to take that personally. (Thank you, shallow tribe! You know why! 😘)

Luckily, Line of Duty came to the rescue. I binge-watched all 5 seasons and am all caught up, ready for more! What a brilliant show. I can’t believe it passed me by all this time. It’s extremely impressive how a show where lots of scenes are just played out around a table can be so bloody thrilling!

Those wonderful days were quickly followed by picking up numerous books, reading a few pages and putting them back on my shelf. Nothing, absolutely nothing was grabbing me. No reading for me today as I have company and for once I’m actually glad about that. But tomorrow, I’m going to have to force myself to read a book for a blog tour and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

So, what did I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I don’t even care. I’m okay with this. That could easily have said just the one book, which I needed to read for a tour.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Adding some more books to my Harlan Coben collection. These have the most wonderful colourful spines and look so pretty on my bookshelf. Little Darlings was one I’ve been waiting for and should hopefully get around to reading soon. (That’s actually one I picked up and put back after 10 pages 😳) The other one, I don’t have a clue where I saw it or why I wanted to buy it, but since I wrote it down I must have had a reason so here it is. 😂

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Courtesy of Avon and Orenda, both for blog tours.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Shared my review for Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Nailed it 🤣

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : There may be something but probably not

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Note to self : This is good. We like this. Try and keep it up. Even if we still have to read the one for Thursday 🙄

Fun little question this week because I’m curious as heck about the answers that’ll pop up. Brought on by little old me saying she’d never read a Michael Connelly book before Dark Sacred Night.

Name an author (or two) whose books you’ve never read. If any of you say Karin Slaughter, I might just hurt you! 😂

My answer would be : Lee Child. It’s a name I see mentioned quite a lot, yet somehow it’s not one that’s made its way onto my bookshelves. Have you read any of his books? Am I missing out something extraordinary?

That’s it for this week’s wrap-up. Wishing you all a fabulous week, preferably with sunshine (not looking good here). Until next time. Happy reading! xx

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl | @HoZ_Books @alexdahlauthor | #BoyattheDoor #LoveBooksGroup #guestpost

Today, I join the blog tour for The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl. Thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroups for the invitation to join. Author Alex Dahl visits my blog with a truly wonderful guest post but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Alex Dahl
Title : The Boy at the Door
Pages : 384
Publisher : Head of Zeus
Publication date : January 10, 2019 (first published in 2018)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Everyone has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect…

On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.

But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…

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

| GUEST POST |

Not That Kind of Mother

It’s one of those days. You know, when you have so much to do at work your head is literally spinning. Your breath is shallow, your palms itchy, your entire being shaking with the ravages of your caffeine addiction. Then school calls to say your little munchkin is feeling iffy. You have little choice but to pick him up, but his illness magically evaporates as soon as you arrive home and the bored child then spends the rest of the day whinging. You wish you could stick him in front of Fortnite until two seconds before bed time, but you’re not that kind of mother, hell no, in this house there are rules and boundaries, and one of them is no gaming if off school sick. 

You put your head phones in and hope for the best. You dream about that big glass of Pinot Noir when the kids are in bed and then you remember it’s Dry January and you’re actually doing it, if only to silence the (alarming) number of friends who laughed in your face when you said you might. We all know the mummy-and-alcohol jokes- mummies love the vino a little too much because our little angels bleed us dry. But not me, oh no. I’m not that kind of mother, either. I don’t succumb to the dangerous clutches of alcohol to soothe my shot mummy nerves. 

Then your dog gets some kind of virus and stages an actual shit-show. It alternates between hysterical barking and literal general disgustingness. You clean up and plug the ear plugs back in. You’re just making a dent in your inbox when it’s time to pick up your other child. You walk, in torrential icy rain, dragging the half-squatting dog along, because you’re not the kind of mother who drives everywhere and spews more pollution into our children’s already doomed world. 

You drag the dog and the kid home, shouting snippets of French vocabulary over the downpour as you go along, why waste the opportunity to learn something? (Allez! Vite! Il faut manger! Repeat after me- mon chien s’appele Figaro, etc) You get home and decide to bake because your gluten-free low-carb six-seed paleo bread sure isn’t going to bake itself. While it is in the oven you check if anyone responded to your Mummy chat room bid for interesting vegan recipes for the whole family. And they did. Lots of them, in fact. 

What kind of psycho would make their kids go vegan? 

How the hell do your kids get protein? 

I am so sick of these goddamned vegans, go away, die, BURN! 

Your kids aren’t vegan, by the way. Perhaps you aren’t, either- it’s besides the point. The point is the fury. The judgment. The anger- the sheer, unbridled anger. It’s everywhere- in the media, in the chat rooms, at the school gates, in the way we make harmless jokes about ‘the kind of mother who…’ Why are we so angry? Why do we subject other women and ourselves to these insane, impossible demands? These questions are at the very core of my novel, The Boy at the Door. Cecilia Wilborg is consumed by appearances, obsessed with maintaining her flawless façade, at any cost. She may be an unsympathetic narcissist, but the point is that it is society’s entirely unreasonable demands on mothers that drives her to some very dark places. We are sold an idea of perfection, of having it all. We are expected to work harder and harder, while parenting our children in an ever more hands-on (smothering?) way, holding their hands well into adulthood. 

No wonder mummy needs a drink or ten to avoid cracking up. Just kidding- you’re not that kind of mother! 

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she wrote The Boy at the Door while living in Sandefjord.

Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck @HeidiAmsinck1 @MuswellPress @Mono80 #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #extract #excerpt

Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join.

Last Train to Helsingør is a collection of scandi-noir short stories and today, I have an extract of one of those stories to share with you but first, here is the all-important bookish information.

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Author : Heidi Amsinck
Title : Last Train to Helsingør
Pages : 216
Publisher : Muswell Press
Publication date : February, 2018

aboutthebook

Copenhagen is a mysterious city where strange and sinister things often happen. Menacing and at times darkly humorous there are echoes of Roald Dahl and Daphne du Maurier in these stories, many of which have been specially commissioned for Radio 4.

From the commuter who bitterly regrets falling asleep on a late-night train in Last Train to Helsingør, to the mushroom hunter prepared to kill to guard her secret in The Chanterelles of Østvig.

Here, the land of ‘hygge’ becomes one of twilight and shadows, as canny antique dealers and property sharks get their comeuppance at the handsof old ladies in Conning Mrs Vinterberg, and ghosts go off-script in The Wailing Girl.

extract

Room Service,
a story from the collection Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck

Introducing the story:

A blizzard sweeps across Copenhagen. Warm and secure in the hotel kitchen, Bent spends his night shift as he always does, mostly drunk, mostly asleep – until a peculiar call from the hotel’s penthouse suite disturbs him from his boozy slumbers. 

***

“Bent had finished most of the bottle and was nodding off in the head chef’s chair when the ringing began. He stared at the telephone on the desk in front of him, but the ringing was coming from further away, an old-fashioned sound he had never heard before.

He emerged unsteadily from the cubicle into the gleaming white of the kitchen, scratching his head. 

Perhaps it was coming from reception? He knew the night manager had not been able to come in because of the snow. 

Whoever it was sounded impatient. As soon as the ringing stopped, it started again.

He went through the corridor with the red carpet gingerly, for the long-dead dignitaries observing him from their frames on the wall made him uncomfortable. He wasn’t supposed to stray from the kitchen.

But the ringing was not coming from reception. The light was turned down low, the room deserted and silent. 

Bent pressed his forehead against the door to the street, breathing vodka mist onto the window pane and drawing a face with his finger.

The snow was heavy in the cone of street light. There was no sound but the wind. No cars outside, no buses, no people, just a silvery penumbra rimmed by darkness, the buildings across the square as obscure as a distant forest.

It must have been the wind he heard, whistling around the corners of the hotel. That was the trouble with the drink, you couldn’t trust your ears, your own eyes. He yawned, scratched the stubble on his scalp, and headed back to the kitchen.

On the radio they were talking about the blizzard as though it were the end of the world. Not since 1978, they said, had the country seen snow like it. 

He had just settled back down when the ringing started again. He swore under his breath, switched off the radio and listened hard, hands behind his ears: he heard the water gurgling in the ancient pipes, the humming of the giant fridge, the dripping tap in the pastry section, but still he could not place the sound. 

A thought came to him. There was bound to be a telephone in the dining room, though who could be ringing it at this time of night, in this weather?

The room was vast, and the empty chairs seemed to glare at him disapprovingly, making him nervous. Snow was trickling down the window panes, drawing strange patterns on the walls, the white tablecloths and the arched ceiling with the artificial sky. Blue light twinkled in the chandeliers, the crystal glasses and the silver, as though the entire room were under water. Bent had to lean over for a while, with his elbows resting on his knees.

In the end, he found the telephone in the pantry, next to the dumbwaiter they no longer used. It was an old-fashioned telephone mounted on the wall with a sign above it saying Penthouse. It began to ring again, urgently, as he stood there looking at it. Bent did not know the hotel had a penthouse. 

Hesitantly, he lifted the receiver. ‘Hello?’

The voice on the other end was faint, scratchy and female, barely audible over the yapping dog in the background. It reminded Bent of something, lost in the depths of his memory.

‘I wish to place an order, and make it quick.’”

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If this has whet your appetite and you’d like to read more, Last Train to Helsingør is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Heidi Amsinck, a writer and journalist born in Copenhagen, spent many years covering Britain for the Danish press, including a spell as London Correspondent for the broadsheet daily Jyllands- Posten. She has written numerous short stories for radio, including the three-story sets Danish Noir, Copenhagen Confidential and Copenhagen Curios, all produced by Sweet Talk for BBC Radio 4, which are included in this collection .

A graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, Heidi lives in Surrey. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. Last Train to Helsingor is her first published collection of stories.

page-divide_12_orig

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Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen (trs Don Bartlett) @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #VargVeum

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen today, alongside my awesome fellow blog tour buddy Jen!

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my review copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour!

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Author : Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett)
Title : Big Sister
Series : Varg Veum
Pages : 259
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 20, 2018 (UK Paperback)

aboutthebook

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her apartment in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal.

mythoughts

Varg Veum is back and hoo boy, what a return it is!

Varg Veum is surprised when a half-sister he’s never met shows up in his office. She needs his help in finding her goddaughter, Emma, who disappeared without a trace. Since Emma is nineteen and took personal belongings with her, the police don’t take her case seriously and aren’t looking for her. Varg Veum promises to investigate but he has no idea what he’s getting himself in to.

The investigation leads him to uncover a horrific crime, while also making the acquaintance of a gang of bikers. Now, I watched Sons of Anarchy. I know all about these types of bikers, the things they get up to and none of it is good. Soon things get personal and Varg may have just bitten off more than he can chew.

There are various threads to sink your teeth into in Big Sister and Varg Veum is kept incredibly busy. Not only is there his investigation into the missing teenager, but he might find himself inclined to dig a little deeper into his own family.

Once again, Gunnar Staalesen delivers with his crisp writing and a scenario that is current and feels incredibly realistic. There’s a delicious depth to his characters and it feels as if you’re there with them in the moment, as you become invested in them and their emotions. This is only the second book I’ve read by Staalesen but I already expect nothing less than an intricately plotted story. There are a few magnificent twists I didn’t see coming at all and it kept me utterly hooked from start to finish.

When I reviewed Wolves in the Dark last year, I mentioned I felt a little lost as I hadn’t read any of the previous books in this long-running series but I’m happy to say that this time around I had no problems whatsoever getting behind Varg Veum and I feel Big Sister reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. It is intriguing, full of suspense and another fantastic example of Scandi-Noir at its best!

Finally, shout-out to Don Bartlett for another seamless translation!

Big Sister is available to buy in ebook. The UK paperback will be published on June 20th.

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

abouttheauthor

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 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 being filmed now. 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.

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The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour #TheIceSwimmer

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl! Make sure you also check out my tour buddy Rachel’s post today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the opportunity and my review copy!

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Author : Kjell Ola Dahl [translator : Don Bartlett]
Title : The Ice Swimmer
Series : Oslo Detectives #8
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 1, 2018 (ebook) | April 30, 2018 (UK Paperback)

aboutthebook

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

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Despite the fact Kjell Ola Dahl is known as one of the godfathers of Nordic Noir and that I’ve had Faithless on my bookshelf for aeons, this is the first book I’ve read by him. While it says The Ice Swimmer is the eighth book in the Oslo Detectives series, don’t let that put you off as this reads perfectly well as a stand-alone and I never really felt I was missing out on anything.

It’s a busy day in the city of Oslo. The body of a man is lifted from the freezing waters of the harbour and a young woman has apparently taken her own life by jumping in front of a train. Things aren’t quite what they seem though. Detective Lena Stigersand is in charge of the first investigation, while her colleague Gunnarstranda looks into the second one. But Lena has a whole lot of other issues to deal with.

The Ice Swimmer is a truly cleverly plotted police procedural. What looks like a simple drowning quickly turns into a murky tale full of lies, deceit and corruption. Not only does it involve a high ranking politician, it even looks like someone close to Lena may somehow be involved. And why does it seem like someone is following her?

I must say this thrilling investigation kept me guessing throughout and it was a true delight seeing various threads come together at one point. But I also really enjoyed the glimpses into the team’s personal lives and the realistic touches, like spending long hours of boring stake-outs in the freezing cold Oslo winter.

It’s easy to see why Kjell Ola Dahl is so highly regarded in this genre. Yes, I may have stumbled over the Norwegian names a few times or gotten some characters confused with others but that’s hardly the author’s fault and it didn’t ruin my enjoyment at all. If anything, it required me to focus that little bit harder. Which you’d think would have helped me solve the case, but no. The reveals left me completely blindsided.

The Ice Swimmer is a twisty and incredibly well written story, full of suspense and intrigue and it had me glued to the pages. Of course, I must also mention the seamless translation by Don Bartlett. If you’re a fan of the Nordic Noir genre, you will undoubtedly enjoy this latest addition to the Oslo Detectives series!

The Ice Swimmer is available in ebook now!

Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

One of the godfathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik.

He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich.

In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries and sold over two million copies.

He lives in Oslo.

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