4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl. @OrendaBooks @ko_dahl #NordicNoir


Today is it my stop on the blog tour for The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl and published by Orenda Books. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the tour. I was given a copy of the book but was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

It seems that there is a wave of books about the second world war, they are everywhere and hard to avoid. I considered myself quite knowledgeable about the second world war and the treatment of Jewish people during the war in Europe. But every book I have read recently has taught me something new, and I have often been shocked at the huge chunks of knowledge that I am missing.

The Courier was one of the books that did just that. I did not know that Norway was so caught up in the war, I had no idea that Jewish people in Norway were persecuted and sent to concentration camps in Poland.

The story revolves around Ester and her experiences, starting with her fleeing Norway for Sweden when the gestapo come for her family, Ester worked as a courier, helping to smuggle illegal newspapers out of Oslo.

It seems that Ester is well connected, knowing many people, some of whom are helpful and others that bring trouble to Ester, both is 1942 and again in 1967 when people are brought back together when someone they all thought was dead turned up very much alive.

The book alternates between the two timelines and I have to admit that I found that confusing for a good part of the book. There are also many names to remember, which for my brain is made even harder by them not being familiar names, although eventually I got the hang of it. There is a small part set in 2015 too.

The story is interesting, I liked the simplicity of the writing, and how everything ties together. Ester is a great character, she’s strong and resilient and she is definitely not someone to be best with. I like a feisty female character and Ester fits the bill perfectly.

The conclusion of the book was not what I expected, it was well done and fitted well with the story.

The Courier is a great example of Nordic Noir, if you haven’t read the genre then you really should, and this book is a great place to start.

Blurb:

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz.

In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester ’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.

And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He
wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he
been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles
across information that forces her to look closely at her past,
and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most critically acclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd.

About The Author:


One of the fathers 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 he lives in Oslo.

The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb #IamLori #TeamLori @OrendaBooks @CrimeThrillGirl

Deep Dirty Truth Blog Tour Poster .jpg

I’m a happy member of #TeamLori! It’s such a good series and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the third book in the series.

My Review:

This is the third book in the Lori Anderson series by Steph Broadribb and these books just keep getting better and better. If you haven’t read the previous books then I think that you could pick it up here and work out enough of what is going on for it to make sense, but it is definitely worth going back to book one, Deep Down Dead and book two,  Deep Blue Trouble.

The main character, Lori, is so feisty and strong that I love reading about her and what she gets up to. Of course, her life has never been easy and she has faced more than her fair share of trouble but I suppose that being a Bounty Hunter isn’t the most peaceful career a gal could have.

Steph Broadribb is a brilliant writer, her books are so full of action that you will not want to stop reading. I found this book so hard to put down as I just had to keep reading and find out how Lori was going to get herself out of the trouble that she always seems to find herself in.

Once again, publisher Orenda Books brings us a brilliant read from an excellent author. This is definitely one of my favourite series to read. My only complaint is that the books don’t come out fast enough!

Thank you to Orenda Books and Steph Broadribb for a copy of Deep Dirty Truth. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Deep Dirty Truth AW.inddA price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.
With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…
Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.

About The Author:

Steph BroadribbSteph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.

Steph is an alumna of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours

#BlogTour Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen. #guestpost @OrendaBooks @antti_tuomainen #PalmBeachFinland

First Palm Beach BT Poster

Today it is my great pleasure to have a stop on the blog tour by Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen and published by Orenda Books. Antti is a great author and although I couldn’t fit in reading the book for my stop I’m delighted to have a guest post by him about writing funny crime. And that is something that he does well, the last book that I read of his, The Man Who Died, was really rather gruesome but also very funny.

Guest Post:

WRITING FUNNY CRIME, OR: WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE MARX BROTHERS WHEN I WAS SEVEN

I suppose something similar had already happened even earlier, but I do remember an afternoon in the late 1970s when I was watching television with my father in the northern suburb of Maunula in Helsinki, Finland, when something indeed clicked.

It was an old film, I could tell that by the crackling sound and the black and white picture that sometimes jumped a bit, or omitted a fraction of a second of screen time so the actors’ movements seemed suddenly quite angular. But all of that didn’t matter. I instantly knew it was a good one and right up my alley. My father laughed, I laughed. We probably laughed at different things, or at the same things for different reasons, but that’s just how it goes when one of you is seven and the other is 39. And after seeing that first one, I wanted to see more of those crazy Marx Brothers.

What does this have to with crime writing? Well, the Marx Brothers came to mind again a few years ago when I was at a certain kind of crossroads with my writing. After five very serious, very dark crime novels I needed a change. I believe what I needed to do was bring more of myself into my writing. What I now see I was missing in my writing was my other artistic love besides noir literature: comedy. As I was re-watching old comedies (that probably have more to do with my getting into this writing game in the first place than I am even giving credit for) I realized just how good those old Marx Brothers films were. Or, more precisely, how good their writers were and how much in fact I had learned that Sunday afternoon in 1979.

I watched the films and then read parts of the scripts (Monkey Business, Duck Soup, A Day at the Races) and found them even more anarchic, more absurd, more brilliant than the films. With the films, especially as Groucho or Chico launch into their tirades, everything flies and wizzes past you in nonsensical speed. (An argument could be made that it is nonsensical in any speed, but we’ll skip that.) In reading the scripts, I fully realized that each scene, each exchange was used to the max, so to speak.

To be honest, I never modeled any story or book after the Marx Brothers or even consider them a direct influence. But I do suppose I have tried to learn a thing or two about the optimal use of dialogue, the delightful power of the absurd, and just some perfectly timed silliness. (Of course, the Marx Brothers also tackled more serious issues like, for example, tyranny and dictatorship and war in Duck Soup. In their own way, it must be said.)

And, most importantly, I think, what happened that day long time ago was that a lamp got lit. My goodness, it’s great to laugh at crazy silly anarchic well-done stuff, and how it lifts the spirits and how it lightens the heart. I don’t know. At seven, I probably survived without analyzing the mental health effects of comedic entertainment. It was just enough to laugh and have a good time. (Which actually doesn’t sound too bad on this particular middle-aged grey day.) Anyway, I have the Marx Brothers to thank for something, certainly. And it’s just so nice to know there is writing and film that has stuff like this randomly selected (just by opening the script book) piece of dialogue:

GROUCHO: You’re just the man I wanted to see. If I could show you how to save 20 per cent, would you be interested? Of course you would. In the first place, your overhead is too high and your brow is too low. Interested already, aren’t you?

HELTON: I…

GROUCHO: Now, just wait till I get through.

HELTON: I haven’t got time.

GROUCHO: Now, there are two fellas trying to attack you, aren’t there? And there are two fellas trying to defend you.

HELTON: Why…

GROUCHO: Now that’s 50 per cent waste. Now why can’t you be attacked by your own bodyguards? Your life will be saved and that’s… that’s 100 per cent waste. Now what have you got? You’ve still got me and I’ll attack you for nothing.

Come to think of it, doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a certain kind of crime story?

Blurb:

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AWFargo meets Baywatch in a darkly funny thriller by the critically acclaimed author of The Man Who Died Multi-platform, buzz-building marketing & publicity campaign Bestselling Finnish crime novel of 2017 Challenges the Scandinavian crime-fiction genre formula Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100 Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. With a nod to Fargo, and the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.

About The Author:

Antti TuomainenFinnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh      Awards.

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Overkill by Vanda Symon. #overkill @OrendaBooks @vandasymon #NewZealandNoir

Overkill Blog Tour Poster

Ok, so when I was asked to be on the blog tour for Overkill I pretty much bit Anne Cater’s arm off because when I heard that Orenda Books had signed Vanda Symon I was desperate to read it. Why you wonder? Well, I used to live in New Zealand and I miss the place a lot, a big part of me would love to move back, but for now I make do with being slightly obsessed with all things New Zealandy so the chance to read one of NZ’s top crime authors was something that I wasn’t going to miss! But with such high hopes did the book disappoint?

My Review:

I was so excited to read Overkill by Vanda Symon’s one of New Zealand’s top crime authors, although slightly concerned that my insanely high hopes would mean that I would hate it.

Thankfully I didn’t need to worry about that as from the first to the last page I enjoyed reading Overkill. I loved the small town setting, where everyone knows everyone and how claustrophobic it can feel.

I was surprised to learn how long ago Overkill was written, but it has been updated and so it feels very current, you really wouldn’t know that it was written more than a year or so ago.

The main character, Sam, is a really normal person which made her easy to relate to. The crime that Sam is trying to solve is clever, I love how we know more than she does about it, apart from who had actually done it, but it made reading how she worked it all out enjoyable and somehow satisfying. I was definitely routing for Sam.

There is much to like about Overkill, the pacy read that keeps the reader hooked from the start, the varied characters, Sam’s great relationship with her flatmate and the desire to see justice for the poor woman killed in the most awful way at the start of the book.

I liked the ending too, we know that there is more to come from Sam but we also know that things will be changing. I, for one, am very excited to see what’s next.

Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Overkill by Vanda Symon, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Overkill Cover

Sam Shephard, a young sole-charge police constable in Mataura, is the main character in a new series of crime novels set in New Zealand. When a young mother in the town is brutally murdered (it seems to be a professional job), Sam is at the heart of the police hunt to find the killer. But then Sam’s past relationship with the dead woman’s husband is revealed. Sam is stood down from the case and is now a prime murder suspect. Frustrated, Sam loses her cool. She can’t stop herself making murder inquiries and gets into serious trouble with her police superiors. But then the young constable stumbles onto something. The murdered woman was working as a journalist and had uncovered a local scandal. She’d been killed to keep her quiet. When Sam enters this world she’s in real physical danger, until at last a conspiracy is uncovered and the killer revealed. Disillusioned, Sam prepares to leave town. What will she do next?

About the Author:

vandasymon
Vanda Symon, taken from her website.

Vanda’s first novel Overkill, was written while juggling the demands of a 6 month old baby and a two year old. She suspects the prologue to Overkill was written in a state of sleep deprivation induced paranoia brought about by middle of the night feeds and imagining every awful thing that could possibly happen to her family. None of them ever did. Reading that prologue still makes her cry.

A little time has elapsed and the six-month old and two-year old are now teenagers. As well as trying to raise two wonderful human beings, she has added three more Detective Sam Shephard novels to the series and written the stand alone psychological thriller The Faceless.

As well as being a crime writer, she hosts a monthly radio show on Dunedin’s Otago Access Radio called Write On, where she interviews local writers, and catches the odd international super-star if they’re in town.

And just to prove that she is a tiger for punishment, she has recently completed a PhD at the University of Otago looking at the communication of science through crime fiction – the perfect subject for a science loving crime writer. She has an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy and enjoyed a career as a community pharmacist and palliative care pharmacist before concentrating on her writing career.

Vanda has been involved with the New Zealand Society of Authors for many years, having been chair of the Otago Southland Branch. She is currently the Otago Southland regional delegate on the NZSA Board. Vanda was also the Chair of Copyright Licensing New Zealand.

When she isn’t writing, Vanda can be found digging around in her garden in Dunedin, or on the business end of a fencing foil. She has fenced since high school and still competes in national and international competitions. As well as competing she coaches, and because she likes to get involved, boots and all, is the president of Fencing South and on the board of Fencing New Zealand.

Vanda is a founding member of the Dunedin Crime Writers Association, whose raison d’etre is for its members to drink beer or wine and talk crime writing at their favourite pub.

Overkill by Vanda Symon is out now in ebook and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US. It will be released in paperback on 6th September 2018.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Do No Harm by LV Hay. @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks #DoNoHarm #TillDeathDoUsPart

FINAL DO NO HARM BLOG TOUR POSTER.jpg

My Review:

Do No Harm by LV Hay tells the story of Lily and her husband Sebastian. But Sebastian is not Lily’s first husband, that was Maxwell, a controlling doctor who does not want Lily to be with anyone other than him. Preventing Lily from cutting all ties with her ex is their son, Denny who is six.

Maxwell causes a lot of stress for Lily and Sebastian but can they find a way to stop Maxwell from sabotaging everything? It doesn’t take long before the marriage is being pushed to its limits, between Lily’s ex and Sebastian’s poorly mother life is anything but simple for the newlyweds.

The story is told to us by Sebastian and Lily in alternating chapters. This works well as we get to know what each of them in thinking and how they are reacting to the events happening around them.

I really don’t want to give too much away but this book kept me holding my breath wondering what was going to happen and when Lily and Sebastian would finally realise what was going on. I did get a bit frustrated at them, they made some silly decisions and between them failed to work out what was going on and how to deal with it together.

The characters were definitely flawed but they felt pretty real too, and although I had worked out who was doing it all I still enjoyed reading the book and thought that the ending was great. LV Hay doesn’t take the obvious path with her stories, something that I really admire, and this makes her books interesting and thought provoking.

Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Do No Harm by LV Hay. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

D0_NO_HARM_COVER (1)Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

About The Author:

Lucy Hay author photoLucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

 

Do No Harm by LV Hay is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview The Old You by Louise Voss. @LouiseVoss1 @OrendaBooks #TheOldYou #backablogger

FINAL Old You blog poster 2018 copy.jpg

My Review:

The Old You by Louise Voss is a great read. Right from the start I was hooked and wanted to know what was going to happen. At first everything seemed perfectly normal, but of course, things aren’t always as they appear and this is certainly true in this case.

Lynn is blissfully happy with her life, she loves her husband Ed and she has a new job that she really likes. But when Ed receives an upsetting diagnosis, things suddenly change.

With the help of chapters showing what happened in the past, we realise that things really aren’t as they seem and that Lynn is hiding a huge secret. Who do we believe? Is Ed as innocent as he seems?

This is a twisted read that will have the reader thinking one thing but really not sure whether that is what’s going on or not. I worked a lot of it out well before it was officially revealed but that didn’t matter, and although the whole thing is slightly implausible, it still makes for a great, twisty read.

Thank you to the publisher, Orenda Books, for a copy of The Old You by Louise Voss. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface… and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

About The Author:

LOUISE VOSSOver 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. 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.

The Old You by Louise Voss is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Keeper by Johana Gustawsson. @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks #FrenchNoir

FINAL Keeper blog poster 2018

I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for Keeper by Johana Gustawsson. I read and loved Block 46 by the author and this is the second part of the series so I was looking forward to reading it. You can read my review of Block 46 here.

My Review:

I was really looking forward to reading Keeper by Johana Gustawsson having read and really enjoyed the first book in the series, Block 46. I adored that book on so many levels so I have to admit that I was concerned that Keeper could never live up to my high expectations

Thankfully my concern didn’t become reality, and although I didn’t find that Keeper grabbed me into the story as fast as Block 46 did, it is still a great read with plenty of twists and turns that I am sure you won’t see coming.

I really like profiler Emily Roy, she is no-nonsense and brilliant at her job, but believably brilliant. So often a profiler in a crime book comes up with amazing insight but it is based on absolutely nothing but, of course, it is completely accurate. None of that here thankfully, as Gustawsson skillfully reveals her thoughts and how she puts the pieces to the puzzle together.

There was a real ticking clock to Keeper with a character being kidnapped at the start of the book, we know that she’s in danger and that she needs to be found urgently. Will the police, assisted by Roy and Alexis Castells, find her in time? A warning for more sensitive readers, Gustawsson does not hold back when it comes to gruesome, I love it but some might struggle with the level of detail given in some cases

Once again Gustawwson weaves stories from the past into the story, sucking the reader into another world and wondering how on earth it connects to the present. I really like that the past also includes a true event, the holocaust last time and Jack The Ripper this time.

There is very little backstory in Keeper, if you have forgotten the characters from Block 46 there is little to remind you which at times I felt was frustrating, especially with Alexis who clearly made less of an impression on me. It is unusual for a book in a series not to give more reminders, and so I think that in this case the books should definitely be read in order.

Once I got into the story I really enjoyed reading Keeper, Gustawsson is a great author and I look forward to reading what she does next.

Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Keeper, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

KEEPER COVER AW 2.inddWhitechapel, 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 10 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.

About The Author:

Johana PhotoBorn in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.