Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Icelandic Noir, Noir

Winterkill Ragnar Jónasson 5*Review @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks Translator David Warriner @givemeawave #Winterkill #DarkIceland #CrimeFiction #IcelandicNoir @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access
to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is the sixth book in the Dark Iceland series featuring Detective Ari Thór Arason. It reads well as a standalone.

The main protagonist is a complex and likeable man, driven by a need to seek justice for the victims of crime. This story follows the investigation into the death of a young woman, in the remote Northern Icelandic town of Siglufjörður.

The story’s pace allows the investigation to unfold realistically. There is an equal balance between the detective’s personal life and the criminal investigation against the dramatic setting, which is often ruthless and unforgiving.

This story draws the reader into Icelandic life, giving the story its authenticity. It’s easy to follow the investigation with its believable and subtle twists.

Ragnar Jónasson

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teacher copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short
stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the International crime-writing festival Iceland Noir.

Ragnar’s debut thriller, Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015 with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout, Rupture and Whiteout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner.

He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Nordic Noir

Fallen Angels Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #FallenAngels #NordicNoir #GunnarStaalesen Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former
classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly
reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.
Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own
adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I understand that this is the eight book in a long-running series, but this sees the private investigator Varg Veum as a younger man than some of the earlier books, in a story that delves into his past and shows how he became the man he is. So, in many ways, this is a good starting book for new readers like me. The story reads as a standalone and is true to the Nordic Noir genre.

The themes of good and evil and spirituality and sin underscore this story. It has noir themes which are disturbing to read but are essential to the character of the story. There is a murder mystery which has its roots in Varg’s past, which is described strikingly both in events and location.

The writing is immersive and vivid. The characters distinctive, but not likeable, which is often a given in this genre. It’s not an easy read, but it is insightful, and the Norwegian setting is of intrinsic interest too.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, 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 titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona
Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Folk Tales, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Travel

The Coral Bride Roxanne Bouchard 4*#Review @RBouchard72 Translator David Warriner @givemeawave @OrendaBooks #Detective #Quebec #TheCoralBride #DSMorales @RandomTTours

In this beautiful, lyrical sequel to the critically acclaimed We Were the Salt of the Sea, Detective Moralès finds that a seemingly straightforward search for a missing fisherwoman off Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is anything but.

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat ’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a woman in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it ’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep…

An exquisitely written, evocative and poetic thriller, The Coral Bride powerfully conjures the might of the sea and the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is the sort of book you can get lost in. It’s claustrophobic, immersive and lyrical. Focused on a fishing community in Quebec, Canada, it has a similar quality to Icelandic and Nordic noir. The opening chapter is both beautiful and horrifying at the same time. It raises as many questions as answers.

DS Morales is an unusual man, a loner, a stranger whose motives are not immediately obvious to the community around him. He has a complex family life. This story brings the father and son dynamic into focus and serves as a contrast to the familial relationships exposed in the fishing community.

The plot keeps its secrets well, whilst providing numerous motivations for murder among Angel’s colleagues, family and friends. The insular nature of the community is well described and the importance of nature and folklore interwoven into the investigation giving it depth and originality.

This is a standalone read, but DS Morales is a complex and interesting man. Reading the first book where he features would make this even more enjoyable.

Roxanne Bouchard

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies.

Her fifth novel (first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, sure to be followed by its sequel, The Coral
Bride. She lives in Quebec
.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Icelandic Noir, Noir, Political Thriller, Suspense

Betrayal Lilja Sigurdardottir 4*#Review @Lilja1972 @OrendaBooks #LiljaSigurdardottir Translator #QuentinBates @graskeggur #CrimeFiction #PoliticalThriller #Iceland #IcelandicNoir #BookReview #BlogTour @RandomTTours #Betrayal #IcelandNoir

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones,
and the stakes are raised ever higher…

The award-winning internationally bestselling author Lilja Sigurðardóttir returns with Betrayal, a relevant, powerful, fastpaced thriller about the worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny that feels just a little bit too real…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The ethos and setting of this Icelandic noir novel is in itself fascinating reading. It’s so different from where I live and evokes both claustrophobic and isolation imagery in this reader. Ursula is a courageous woman driven to help others in famine and war zones, returning home to Iceland is an attempt to rekindle her relationship and allow her battered psyche time to heal. She takes an unexpected political appointment leading to a web of deceit and political manoeuvring.

Distinctive characters draw you into their stories, and an intricate plot with short pacy chapters keeps you guessing until the dramatic conclusion. This is a compelling, original tale of secrets and self-discovery with characters that resonate.

Lilja Sigurdardottir

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

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…

Amazon UK

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, Horror Fiction, Noir, Thriller

Hinton Hollow Death Trip Will Carver 4*#Review #DetectiveSergeantPace @will_carver @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #Eviliscoming #Crime #Thriller #noircrime #horrorfiction #BlogTour #BookReview

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard
about if none of this had happened.
Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.
Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home
before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label
around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from
Hinton Hollow.
Because something was coming.
Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the
history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its
residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their
insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence
suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.
Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.
Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the
things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not
alone. Evil had a plan.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Detective Sergeant Pace series this story is complete and reads, as a standalone. However, reference is made to the detective’s former life and reading the previous books would give more information on this.

This is an impactful read which graphically explores inhumanity. I didn’t read the chapters that detailed animal cruelty. That apart, this is a well-written story. It’s told from a character called Evil’s point of view who judges humanity with a unique moral code.

Evil enacts a vendetta of sorts on Pace. The inhabitants of Hinton Hollow are collateral damage.

The ending befits what comes before. Whether you like it or not, and this story will divide its readers, it is a memorable experience.

Will Carver

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series.

He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children.

Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.