Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Folk Tales, Nordic Noir, Scandinavian Crime

The Seven Doors Agnes Ravatn 5*#Review #AgnesRavatn #Translator Rosie Hedger @rosie_hedger @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #NordicNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #TheSevenDoors

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her adult daughter Ingeborg are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.

When Ingeborg decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman who rents it disappears, leaving behind her son, the day after Nina and Ingeborg pay her a visit.

With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

A dark, powerful and deeply disturbing psychological thriller about family, secrets and dangerous curiosity…

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I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric, chilling Nordic noir story, which holds your attention from its ordinary beginning to its fast-paced, tragic conclusion.

Nina is facing the loss of her childhood home to the developers, and this crystallises the sense of unease and loss of identity she faces in her life. Her marriage is sedate and her relationship with her daughter difficult.

When her daughter needs to move house, they visit their rental property and bully their way inside, leaving the tenant unsettled. Nina regrets going along with her daughter’s actions and is guilt-ridden when she discovers the tenant is missing without trace days later.

Nina takes on an amateur investigative role as she realises the tenant’s true identity and finds tentative connections with her parents. What she discovers is increasingly sinister, as it appears Nina’s disappearance may not be voluntary, and everyone has a reason to remove her.

The folklore and literary references add authenticity and depth to this emotional family drama. It has relatable salient characters and a compelling investigation, which reveals a poignant web of deceit, obsession and saving face.

Agnes Ravatn

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014.

In these works, Ravatn revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility.
Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award, shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015.

Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Nordic Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Playdate Alex Dahl 4*#Review @alexdahlauthor @HoZ_Books #Psychological #suspense #family #drama #NordicNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #Playdate #FridayReads

It was meant to be your daughter’s first sleepover.
Now it’s an abduction.

Lucia Blix went home from school for a playdate with her new friend Josie. Later that evening, Lucia’s mother Elisa dropped her overnight things round and kissed her little girl goodnight.

That was the last time she saw her daughter.

The next morning, when Lucia’s dad arrived to pick her up, the house was empty. No furniture, no family, no Lucia.

In Playdate, Alex Dahl puts a microscope on a seemingly average, seemingly happy family plunged into a life-altering situation. Who has taken their daughter, and why?

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I received a copy of this book from Headof Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts….

This story painstakingly explores a parents’ worse nightmare. The suspense builds from the first pages and increases to an almost painful intensity. Elisa loses her child, but she’s hiding something making her difficult to empathise.

This story is told from multi-points of view, but are any of the viewpoints reliable? The intricate plot is slow-paced in keeping with the Nordic Noir genre. It’s possible to work out the motivations for Lucia’s abduction, but the plot keeps its mystery until the end. It’s absorbing and atmospheric with a realistic ending.

Alex Dahl – Image credit- Nina Rangoy

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she studied Russian and German linguistics with international studies, then went on to complete an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and an MSc in business management at Bath University. A committed Francophile, Alex loves to travel and has so far lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland, Bath and London. Her first thriller, The Boy at the Door, was a Sunday Times Crime Club star pick.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Icelandic Noir, International Thriller, Noir, Nordic Noir, Scandinavian Crime

The Creak on the Stairs Eva Bjorg AEgisdottir 4*#Review @evaaegisdottir @OrendaBooks #Translator Victoria Cribb #ForbiddenIceland #TheCreakontheStairs #IcelandicNoir #RandomThingsTours @annecater @GoldsboroBooks #BlogTour #BookReview

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by
one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.

When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the
townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it ’s too late

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I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and chilling from the beginning and tinged with unforgettable sadness. This Icelandic Noir story told from multi-points of view fuses domestic noir and police procedural with a Nordic twist. The well-constructed plot flows effortlessly. This is an addictive story cleverly interpreting familiar contemporary issues.

Authentic and relatable characters make the story believable. The stark and unique Icelandic setting has intrinsic interest for those unfamiliar with it. The emotions and crimes reflect the contradictions of the landscape. Volcanic and Icy. Long nights and midnight sun. The author uses the small town ethos well with resultant conflicts of interest for the police investigation.

A tapestry of betrayal, evil and sadness makes this story resonate.

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.

Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.