Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Scandinavian Crime

A Nearly Normal Family – M.T. Edvardsson 5* #Review @panmacmillan @Mattiasedvard @CeladonBooks #ScandinavianCrime #FamilyDrama #Courtroom #lies #secrets #psychologicalthriller

Every murder case starts with a suspect.

What if the suspect is your daughter?

Would you believe her, or the evidence against her?

THE FATHER Believes his daughter has been framed.

THE MOTHER Believes she is hiding something.

THE DAUGHTER Believes they have no idea what she’s truly capable of . . .

There are three sides to the story. And the truth will shatter this family to pieces.

Amazon UK

Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

‘A Nearly Normal Family’, has all the atmosphere, detail and intrigue of a Nordic Thriller, but the pace, moral questions and twists of an excellent courtroom and family drama. The protagonists are pushed to their limits, making them unreliable, so that even when you think you know, you probably don’t, giving this story the edge and mystery of a psychological thriller.

Told from three points of view, the father (a Pastor), the mother( a Lawyer), and the daughter (a clever, rebellious teenager). The events surrounding the murder are revealed, through each character’s point of view

The father is severely tested, his control of the family threatened and his moral beliefs challenged. What will he do for his daughter who he believes in totally? The daughter uses her intelligence to fuel her rebellion against her parents and their beliefs. She has secrets, one of which has damaged her, but is she capable of murder? The mother’s point of view is left until the end and reveals an unexpected twist. All lie and have secrets, making them unreliable protagonists.

The pace of this story is good, even though it is detailed, it doesn’t sacrifice ease of reading for content and this makes it addictive. The characters are believable, and their actions and motives realistic. You are forced to consider how you would act in similar circumstances.

The daughter has considerable insight, and this makes you question whether does she have severe mental health issues, or is manipulative and uses her personality to achieve her aims.

The final scenes reveal an uncomfortable truth that makes you question what has come before. The perfect ending to this atmospheric, crime based twisty thriller.

Posted in Book Review

The Forbidden Place – Susanne Jansson – 3* Review

In the remote Swedish wetlands lies Mossmarken: the village on the edge of the mire where, once upon a time, people came to leave offerings to the gods.

Biologist Nathalie came in order to study the peat bogs. But she has a secret: Mossmarken was once her home, a place where terrible things happened. She has returned, at last, determined to confront her childhood trauma and find out the truth.

Soon after her arrival, she finds an unconscious man out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold – just like the ancient human sacrifices. A grave is dug in the mire, which vanishes a day after. And as the police investigate, the bodies start to surface…

Is the mire calling out for sacrifices, as the superstitious locals claim? Or is it an all-too-human evil?

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

I find Scandinavian Noir mystery thrillers difficult. I enjoy the atmospheric settings and the underlying menace, but I find the pacing inexorably slow and the characters hard to empathise and understand.

All these things are true of ‘The Forbidden Place’, so from that point of view it fits well into this genre, the ending is good, and the author’s ability to create suspense is not in doubt, it’s just for me the slow pace, and the characters’ insular, inherent coldness negate this.

Nathalie, a biologist, returns to her childhood town to finish her PhD dissertation. She is troubled and eventually, you find out why. The bog steeped in folklore and tragedy is part of her study but when someone is attacked, and the bodies start appearing she is forced to relive her past, face her demons to ensure she has a happier future.

It is suspenseful, and the mystery throws up lots of false suspects, if you are happy with a slow-paced read and accept the characters lack vivacity, this is worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Hodder& Stoughton- Mulholland Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen – Julie Caplin – 5* Review

Welcome to the little cafe in Copenhagen where the smell of cinnamon fills the air, the hot chocolate is as smooth as silk and romance is just around the corner…

Publicist Kate Sinclair’s life in London is everything she thought she wanted: success, glamour and a charming boyfriend. Until that boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a much sought-after promotion from her.Heartbroken and questioning everything, Kate needs to escape.

From candles and cosy nights into romantic late-night walks through the beautiful cobbled streets of Copenhagen, Kate discovers how to live life ‘the Danish way’. Can the secrets of hygge and happiness lead her to her own happily-ever-after?

Amazon UK

 Amazon

My Thoughts…

This story captures the essence of Denmark, with a whistle-stop tour of the main attractions and an exploration of the Danish way of living. Kate is a publicist, who is determined to enjoy the life her mother wanted for her, but when she lands a contract, no one has time for she questions her life choices. Is she happy? Does she need to babysit her family?  Is this the life her mum wanted her to have?

Taking six journalists to Copenhagen puts Kate right out of her comfort zone, but she wants to prove herself and get the promotion that always seems just out of reach. Meeting Eva and exploring her lovely cafe and its menu, is life changing for Kate. Gradually she begins to understand the concept of Hygge and how choosing wisely in all things can lead to a fulfilling life.

Clever, pacy plotting and believable, flawed characters make this story an exciting read. There many funny and poignant moments and plenty that irritate the hell out of you, especially the way the PR agency treat Kate and some of the early antics of the journalists. The journalists are fab characters, and as Kate gets to know them, she finds that beneath their hardened, professional persona they are lovely people. 

 The Little Cafe in Copenhagen is just like one of my favourite Danish pastries; rich, sweet, often fruity, and with a lovely romantic ending, the icing on top.

I am looking forward to reading  Sophie’s story ‘The Little Brooklyn Bakery, which is previewed at the end of this story’.

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