This Week in Books (November 20)

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 |

When the body of pregnant, 15-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away. 

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking revelations and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

[I finished this one yesterday and it left me utterly broken. Definitely one to look out for!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters–the Brontë sisters–learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines–it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril.

[Only a few pages in but loving it already]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

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?

[I do realise this isn’t out for ages yet but I don’t think I can wait any longer.]

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! It’s been a while since I bought something (and by a while, I mean at least a week 🤣) and I’m getting withdrawal.

Happy reading! xx

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.

Red Snow by Will Dean | @willrdean @PtBlankBks @OneworldNews @annecater | #blogtour #RedSnow #TeamTuva #Tuva2

Thrilled to join the blog tour for Red Snow by Will Dean today! My thanks to the publisher for my fabulous review copy and to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Will Dean
Title : Red Snow
Series : Tuva Moodyson #2
Pages : 400
Publisher : Point Blank / OneWorld Publications
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

TWO BODIES
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Ever since I finished Dark Pines last year, I’ve impatiently been awaiting this follow-up and another opportunity to hang out with the absolutely fabulous Tuva Moodyson. Let me tell you, it was most definitely worth the wait!

Nothing much seems to have happened in Gavrik since we visited it last time but that’s all about to change when Tuva Moodyson witnesses a suicide. The head of the Grimberg family jumps off the roof of their factory to his death. The Grimberg family has had its fair share of hardship throughout the years. But what would prompt a seemingly successful man to take his own life?

Then another man is found murdered. Two liquorice coins cover his eyes. Is this a message? If so, what does it mean and who is it for? With the Grimberg factory providing for most of Gavrik’s residents, could someone possibly have it in for them? And if so, why? With a new job lined up in the south, Tuva has little time to investigate the deaths and dig for some answers. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that the Grimberg family values its privacy dearly, making it look like they all have something to hide.

Nothing is quite what it seems in Red Snow. With intriguing and complex characters and a deliciously intricate plot, this novel had me staying up way too late in a desperate attempt to finish it. But I just had to know what was going on. I didn’t count on Will Dean’s devious mind though, which meant that the final pages came at me like a knockout punch to the gut that left me winded but also caused so much adrenaline to course right through me, I felt like I could have gone out and run a marathon!

Tuva is such a brilliant character. Determined, sassy, bit stubborn maybe but a female protagonist to be fiercely proud of and root for. She even managed to make me a little emotional when trying to deal with the death of her mother. There were moments where I wanted to wrap her up in a big, warm hug and tell her I completely understood and it would all be okay.

Red Snow is tense, full of suspense, gloomy and chilling. The claustrophobic atmosphere of small town living is even more intensified due to the wintery conditions and yet, I may just end up missing this community with its weird and wonderful residents. Still, in Tuva Moodyson Will Dean has created the most delightful character and I will gladly follow her wherever she goes. I can’t wait for more but in the meantime, you can be sure Red Snow will end up on my list of favourite books of the year. Bring on Tuva 3!

Red Snow is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Wordery | Goodreads

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.

Author links : Twitter

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter | @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #ForTheMissing #NetGalley

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Lina Bengtsdotter
Title : For The Missing
Series : Charlie Lager #1
Pages : 368
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : December 13, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When a teenage girl goes missing from a small town, the local police start to buckle under the pressure.

Enter Charlie Lager, the brilliant but conflicted Detective Inspector sent from Stockholm to solve the mystery of Annabelle’s disappearance.

Her superiors don’t know that Charlie grew up in this very town – and she’s determined to keep it that way. But as she gets closer to the truth, cracks begin to form in her own lies.

Can Charlie find Annabelle before her darkest secrets are brought to light? FOR THE MISSING, time is running out…

| MY THOUGHTS |

When a young girl goes missing from a small town in Sweden, Charlie Lager and her colleague Anders are sent to help in the investigation. Unknown to everyone, Charlie grew up in this town. She’s determined to make sure nobody finds out but can she keep it up? And can detectives find young Annabelle before it’s too late?

For The Missing is the first instalment in the Charlie Lager series and promises great things for the future. Mostly set in the small town of Gullspång, the atmosphere is quite gloomy and the sense of claustrophobia and isolation is all-encompassing. This small town has very little to offer. To be honest, I can’t fathom at all why anyone would want to live there. There are no prospects, people have a hard time making ends meet and there is very little to do for entertainment. It’s no wonder Charlie made her escape from this place but why? And how will this forced return affect her?

I must admit that this didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it to. Yes, there’s an investigation into the disappearance of a teenaged girl but it goes deeper than that and the actual police work almost takes a backseat. This is very much a character-driven story and a truly fine example of Scandi-Noir, with its main focus on main protagonist, Charlie, and a rather intriguing backstory. In alternating chapters, the reader is introduced to two young girls. These chapters really grabbed my attention and I couldn’t at all figure out how they were connected to anything. And with every resident in Gullspång seemingly having something to hide, finding out who’s responsible for Annabelle’s disappearance is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. In short, there’s plenty on offer here to hold your attention throughout.

This first instalment in the Charlie Lager series won the Crimetime Specsavers Best Debut Award and it’s easy to see why. Gripping and atmospheric, this slow-burner marks the perfect introduction to Charlie Lager. I have no doubt this complex characters hides many more secrets and it’ll be thrilling to find out what those are.

For The Missing is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Lina Bengtsdotter grew up in Gullspång, Sweden. She is a teacher in Swedish and Psychology and has published a number of short stories in various newspapers and magazines in Sweden and the Nordic countries. She has lived in the UK and in Italy and today resides outside of Stockholm with her three children.

FOR THE MISSING is her debut novel.

Agnes Broomé is a literary translator and Preceptor in Scandinavian at Harvard University. With a PhD in Translation Studies, her translations include August Prize-winner THE EXPEDITION by Bea Uusma.