Blog Tour & Review: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

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I’m delighted to be part of today’s blog tour for Block 46. Not only is it an excellent book but it is also my first blog tour for the publisher, Orenda Books. Every book of theirs that I have read have been special in some way, and they are definitely a publisher worth watching.

My Review:

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Block 46. I know that the publisher has an incredible record of giving us great books but from the blurb, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be French Noir as the author and the main character are French, or Nordic Noir as most of the book is set in Sweden, or would it be historical fiction as some of the book takes place in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944?

I have to be honest here, I do not read historical fiction, it just doesn’t appeal to me but I do often think that I might be missing out, and this book has confirmed that I probably am. At first, I had absolutely no idea how what happened in Buchenwald could have anything to do with a spate of gruesome murders taking place in the present time but as I got further into the books the chapters that I enjoyed reading the most were those set in the horrors of a German Concentration Camp. Although distressing to read, the story of Erich touched me in a very moving and emotional way, especially when the full story of Erich became clear as the book progressed.

But in the present day, Alexis finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when a good friend is murdered in Sweden, she begins to work with Emily, a well known profiler who has been working on the murders of little boys in London that somehow seems linked to the murder in Sweden.

How are the murders in London linked to the murder in Sweden? And how does all of it link to one man trying to survive the horrors of the holocaust? Well, of course, I’m not going to tell you that, you will need to read the book and find out for yourself, but do read it. It’s a very well written, with strong and believable characters and plenty of twists and turns. It was definitely not what I had been expecting, but I am delighted that it is book one of a new series featuring Alexis and Emily, I look forward to part two.

Thank you to the publisher, Orenda Books, for a copy of Block 46. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

BLOCK 46 COVER AW.indd

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir. WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016 For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

About the Author:

Johana Photo

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.

Block 46 is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir @YrsaSig

 

 

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The Legacy

 

My Review:

This is the first book that I’ve read that could be classed Scandi Noir. I know that I’m a bit late to the party with this but better late than never is definitely the case!

I heard the author of The Legacy talking about her latest book on the radio, she read an exert from this book and I did not want her to stop, I wanted to know what happened next so as soon as I could get to my computer I looked the book up and I was delighted to get a copy via Netgalley.

What I hadn’t realised was quite how long this book was. At 464 pages this is not a short book, and as a slow reader, it’s quite a commitment for me to read and it took me a week to read. However, often when I read a long book I get almost resentful of the book and the amount of time that it is taking for me to read, I have so many other books waiting! But that did not happen with The Legacy, although aware that it was loooong I never felt that it should hurry up or get to the point, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from start to finish.

While the language was a little different and perhaps slightly simplistic due to the translation from Icelandic to English, I actually quite liked it, it made the book easy to read and a little bit different.

I really liked the main characters in the book, Hulder, the main detective was great and I look forward to getting to know him better in future books in the series, and the same with Freyja who works in The Children’s House, so is involved with a young girl who witnessed her mother being murdered but understandably does not want to talk about what she saw.

The deaths in The Legacy were really quite gruesome but the author skillfully avoided giving us too much detail and let us imagine what happened to the victim, something that I was very grateful for.

I am definitely converted and will be reading more from this author, and hopefully other Icelandic crime authors.

Blurb:

The first in an exciting new series from the author of THE SILENCE OF THE SEA, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for best Scandinavian Crime Novel.

The murder was meant as a punishment – but what sin could justify the method?

The only person who might have answers is the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she’s not talking.

Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children’s House for their expertise with traumatised young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased. But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.

It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio. He’s telling a dark and secret story – but how can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next?

About the author:

Yrsa Sigurdardottir is an award-winning, best-selling author from Iceland. She began her career writing humorous novels for children but got sick of being funny and found being horrible is much easier. She made her crime fiction debut in 2005 with Last Rituals, the first installment in the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series and has since been translated into 35 languages. Yrsa has also written several stand-alone thrillers and has a new series coming out in 2017 in the UK. Her work stands “comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world” according to the Times Literary Supplement. Her standalone horror novel, I Remember You will be in theaters in 2017, while adaptation of the Thóra series for English language television is underway.

The latest book to be published in the UK is Why Did You Lie, described by the Sunday Times as “a tour de force”. This was preceded by the 2015 Petrona Award winning Silence of the Sea and Someone to Watch Over Me, chosen by the Sunday Times as the best crime novel published in the UK in 2013.

Yrsa is also a civil engineer and still works as such on geothermal and hydro power plant projects in her native Iceland. She is not in agreement with her co-workers regarding her actual participation in the workplace lately, she states she works 50% but they say 30%. This issue is presently unresolved.

Follow Yrsa on Twitter: @YrsaSig (See what she did there? Saved you a whole lot of confusion while typing her last name)

The Legacy is out now and availble from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blog Tour & review: An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound.

 

animpossibledilemma

An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound.

 

I first read this book almost two years ago. I don’t know about you but I suspect that if you showed me a list of books that I read two years ago I’d have a hard time remembering much about most of them, but I would definitely be able to tell you a good deal about An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound as it is a book that has stayed with me. I’m a big fan of the author and I’m delighted that publishers, Bloodhound Books, have decided to publish this previously self-published book, so when I was asked whether I wanted to take part in the blog tour and post my review I jumped at the chance. However, reading the review now I am going to change it, it seems that two years of writing reviews have, hopefully, improved my review writing somewhat, and because I remember the book so well I feel confident that I can give a review that it deserves.

My 5* review:

How far would you go to save your daughter? Would you sacrifice another person in order to save her? That is the question posed by An Impossible Dilemma.

I am a big fan of Netta Newbound, she has a way with writing that sucks the reader in, her characters are believable and although the situation that Victoria finds herself in is anything but normal, I could always understand her actions, even if I don’t think that I could have done the same.

I actually read this book two years ago, but it has stayed with me and despite that and reading many other books in that time, I still remember clearly how I felt reading this book. Newbound once again crafts a gruesome tale, she really does have a way with words and an imagination that is, I think, unrivalled within the crime writing scene. There are a few scenes in An Impossible Dilemma that stay with me to this day.

The book is easy to read and will definitely grip you and suck you in, and it is bound to give you a lot to think about. If you’re a thriller fan then you are sure to enjoy this and if you have yet to read any books by Netta Newbound then this book is sure to convert you. I’m also sure that you will never look at pigs in the same way again!

Blurb:

An Utterly Compelling Psychological Thriller From a Best-selling Author

Would you choose to save your child if it meant someone else had to die?

Victoria and Jonathan Lyons seem to have everything—a perfect marriage, a beautiful daughter, Emily, and a successful business. Until they discover Emily, aged five, has a rare and fatal illness.

Medical trials show that a temporary fix would be to transplant a hormone from a living donor. However in the trials the donors die within twenty four hours. Victoria and Jonathan are forced to accept that their daughter is going to die.

In an unfortunate twist of fate Jonathan is suddenly killed in a farming accident and Victoria turns to her sick father-in-law, Frank, for help.  Then a series of events present Victoria and Frank with a situation that, although illegal, could save Emily.

Will they take their one chance and should they?

A Sinister and Darkly Compelling Psychological Thriller Novel, this book is intended for mature audiences and contains graphic and disturbing imagery.

Netta Newfound is the best-selling author of The Watcher.

An Impossible Dilemma is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You can read my review of The Watcher, also by Netta Newbound, here.

 

Blog Tour & Review: The Watcher by Netta Newbound.

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My 5* review:

If you have read any of Netta Newbound’s books then you will know that she is a master at writing a gripping and tense read. This book certainly doesn’t let the side down! In fact, I think that she surpassed herself with The Watcher.

Hannah is a really likeable character, she loves her parents and is great at her job but when she gets an amazing opportunity she takes a chance and moves away from the small, quiet village that she grew up in and heads off to start a new job in Manchester. She settles in quickly and makes friends with her neighbours, she loves her new job and when she starts falling for her boss she can’t believe that he feels the same way about her. Life seems pretty much perfect.

Of course, things are never that simple. Unknown to her, Hannah has attracted the attention of someone else, someone who is determined that she will be his and he will stop at nothing to get her.

Soon, Hannah finds her life changing. One of her flatmates is murdered and Hannah is sure that someone has been moving her stuff, even in her own home. She doesn’t know what is going on but feels uneasy. I found this part of the book so tense, I could feel my body reacting to what I was reading and I am sure that there were many parts that I didn’t breath at all and I stayed up far too late reading The Watcher, desperate to know what was going to happen.

The author also has a way with words, she is able to describe things in an incredibly visual way, this can make her books quite gruesome which is something that doesn’t bother me, but I know some struggle with. Don’t let that put you off, you’d be missing out on a great read if you did, and I’m sure that you can skim over the bits that you want to.

I really like how we, the readers, know who the baddie is from the start. This helps build the tension as we read about Hannah interacting with him without knowing who he really is. It’s a bit like the movies where you want to shout ‘he’s behind you’ at the character who was totally oblivious to the danger!

I really enjoyed reading The Watcher, it is well written with great characters and the coldness of the baddie is chilling. I have little doubt that if you read this book you will be wanting to read the authors other books.

Thank you to Bloodhound books for my copy of The Watcher by Netta Newbound.

The Blurb:

Life couldn’t get much better for Hannah. She accepts her dream job in Manchester, and easily makes friends with her new neighbours.

When she becomes romantically involved with her boss, she can’t believe her luck. But things are about to take a grisly turn.

As her colleagues and neighbours are killed off one by one, Hannah’s idyllic life starts to fall apart. But when her mother becomes the next victim, the connection to Hannah is all too real.

Who is watching her every move?

Will the police discover the real killer in time?

Hannah is about to learn that appearances can be deceptive.

The Watcher is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: The Optician’s Wife by Betsy Reavley

the opticians wife

The Optician’s Wife by Betsy Reavley

My 5* Review:

I rarely get to read a book that I have bought, but I was hearing so much about The Optician’s Wife that I really wanted to read it, so when I was on holiday I took a break from reading ARCs.

I do like crime books and I do read a lot of fairly gruesome things, but The Optician’s Wife was really very graphic. I didn’t have a problem with that, but some might, others will love it!

Deborah is just your normal teenager, she doesn’t have many friends and doesn’t like living at home. So when she meets Larry who treats her like she’s something special Deborah can’t quite believe it. Soon they’re married and living what appears to be a perfect life together. But of course all is not as it seems.

This book is great, it’s full of twists and turns and just when you think you’ve worked it all out something happens and you realise that you had it all wrong. That happened again and again in The Optician’s Wife, right to the very end.

The Optician’s Wife is not for the faint hearted but it is a compelling read that will make you question everything. I thoroughly recommend it.

Blurb:

Can you ever really know someone?

When Deborah, an unpopular seventeen-year-old, meets the charming and handsome Larry, he sweeps her off her feet. The trouble is Larry has a secret.

Then a series of grisly murders cast a shadow over everything.

As Deborah’s world starts to fall apart she begins to suspect the man she loves of a terrible betrayal. And to keep their marriage alive, sacrifices must be made.

A compelling, psychological thriller that unpicks what goes on behind closed doors and reminds us that sometimes the worst crimes can take place closer to home than you think.

 

The Optician’s Wife by Betsy Reavley is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.