blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Death Deserved – Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger*

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV. Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing… Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flair for the dramatic, and thirst for attention. Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.

My thoughts:

This was very clever, both authors are at the top of their game and it shows in this twisty, fast paced novel.

I liked the contrast between Emma and Blix, she the hot shot young reporter, he the dogged career detective.

As they attempt to track down the mysterious counting killer and unravel his obsession with celebrities, their own secrets are revealed.

I could definitely see a series of cases investigated by the combined skills of the protagonists and even see it as the latest Scandi Noir TV must see. That’s how good the plot and writing are.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bury Them Deep – James Oswald*

Bury Them Deep Cover

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…

JAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series.

James’s first two books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award.

BURY THEM DEEP is the tenth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

In celebration of BURY THEM DEEP being the tenth book in the McLean series here’s ten quickfire questions with James:

Favourite Inspector McLean book to write; The next one, I’m sure. I hope.

Favourite crime book you’ve read; Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, and I’ll fight anyone who says it’s not crime fiction.

Favourite Inspector McLean character to write; It’s a toss up between Grumpy Bob and Madame Rose, but Rose seems to be the fan favourite.

Favourite part of the writing process; Typing ‘The End’. I think it’s Dorothy Parker who said ‘I hate writing, I love having written’. I reckon that’s spot on.

Favourite way to take a break from writing; I had no idea such a thing was possible.

Favourite cow; I try to discourage favouritism in my fold, but probably Gertrude.

Favourite audiobook; The Rivers of London books, written by Ben Aaronovitch and narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Probably. Ask me again and I’ll come up with something different.

Favourite recipe to cook; Chilli con carne, heavy on the chilli.

Favourite movie; I don’t think I have one. I’m not the sort of person who re-reads or re-watches much.

Favourite gig you’ve been to; The last Frightened Rabbits gig I went to was brilliant. They were supported by Canadian indie rockers Wintersleep, who I’d never heard of before but have become a dedicated fan of ever since.

My thoughts:

This started out as a simple police procedural and then veered off in another direction entirely, blending folklore and ancient religious practices with modern policing.

It’s all quite sinister and adds to the Scotland of popular imagination, full of witches and murderers (thanks Will S!), the legend of Sawney Bean, a cannibal, in particular, is crucial to the story and is explained in an opening coda.

Oswald is celebrating 10 Inspector McLean novels with Bury Them Deep and the twisty, turny plot and confident writing style show an author at the height of their powers.

The red herrings and sudden changes in direction keep you firmly engaged with the narrative and Inspector McLean is a likeable everyman protagonist.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Coronation – Justin Newland*

It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.
In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.
Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

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Justin Newland writes history with a supernatural bent. His novels are The Genes of Isis, an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies, and The Old Dragon’s Head, a historical fantasy played out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China. He lives with his partner in Somerset, England.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting read, following Fermor’s mysterious quest, and the adventures of several other characters, against a backdrop of war in the 18th Century.

It reminded me of Russian novels with its large cast and various incidents along the way.

Well written and with a strong narrative voice, this book encourages you to ask questions about the nature of things.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Will to Succeed – Christine Raafat*

Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights.”
Such was the motto of Lady Anne Clifford, the woman who defied King James I and risked everything by opposing her family, friends, and the law in a battle to reclaim her inheritance. Anne’s father, the Earl of Cumberland, died in 1605 and bequeathed his great northern estates not to his sole surviving child but to his brother, believing that a prophecy by his great-grandfather would eventually come true and return the estates to Anne. Only fifteen years old at the time, she and her mother vowed to contest the will, and Anne spent the next three decades battling for what she believed was rightfully hers.
Lady Anne Clifford steadfastly (and treasonably) refused to accept the king’s decision, whatever the consequences, but was defeated and left with the prophecy as her only hope. Widowed at the age of thirty-four, she survived an anxious period alone with her two young daughters before surprising everyone with an ill-judged second marriage that gave her access to the highest in the land. But the Civil War destroyed that power and confined the fifty-two-year-old Anne to a grand palace in London for six years. Would she ever attain “ye landes of mine inheritance”? The Will to Succeed, the first novel to tell the story of Lady Anne Clifford, chronicles her brave attempt to take back what she was owed and gives readers a glimpse into some of the issues that women faced in the seventeenth century.

My Thoughts:

I love a bit of historical fiction revisiting women whose lives might otherwise have been buried and forgotten.

Lady Anne Clifford is one of those women.

The lives of noble women tend to be known about a bit more because their births, marriages, children, deaths would all be recorded, especially if they’re close to the throne. But in Lady Anne’s case it is also because of the extraordinary battle for her inheritance.

Drawing on Lady Anne’s own detailed diary, Raafat has recreated the court of James I & VI, replete with gossip and scandal, a place Anne came to know through both her marriages.

This is vividly drawn, well written and Lady Anne comes across an empathetic and resourceful as she fights the court for her inheritance.

I really enjoyed this book, with its attention to detail at the turbulent 17th Century.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Hidden Wyndham – Amy Binns*

New biography explores the secret love life of celebrated author John Wyndham

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters includes previously unpublished love letters from The Day of the Triffids author

The first biography of the life of science fiction author John Wyndham is now available. It includes the first publication of a collection of love letters to his long-term partner and later wife, Grace Wilson.

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, by Dr Amy Binns, author and senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), explores Wyndham’s wealthy but traumatic childhood. This was transformed by a spell at the first mixed-sex public school Bedales from 1915 to 1918, the source of the strange but fervent feminism of Consider Her Ways and Trouble with Lichen.

The biography covers his formative years as a pulp fiction writer, his experiences as a censor during the Blitz and his part in the Normandy landings. He described his struggles with his conscience in a moving series of letters to Grace, the teacher with whom he had a 36 year love affair.

After the war, he transformed the searing experiences of wartime London, France and Germany into a series of bestselling novels: The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Kraken Wakes. But he remained intensely private, shunning fame and finally retiring to live anonymously with Grace in the countryside he loved.

With a decade of experience in news reporting, Dr Amy Binns is now a writer, researcher and journalism lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire.

Her PhD was on solutions to difficult behaviour on social media and other online communities, and she has contributed to a report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the intimidation of parliamentary candidates. She regularly speaks on Radio Five Live on social media issues.

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, is Dr Binns’ second book. She has also written about local history in the book “Valley of a Hundred Chapels”, also available on Amazon. She has also published papers and chapters on interwar feminism and social history. Dr Binns lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two children.

My thoughts:

This was certainly an interesting book, like most people I knew little of John Wyndham beyond his famous books; The Midwich Cuckoos and The Day of the Triffids foremost, but the reclusive author led a long and interesting life.

His wartime experiences are recalled in verbatim reproduction of the letters he and his great love, Grace, exchanged, while other details come from Grace’s diaries and Wyndham’s brother Viv’s writing.

I found the section on his publishing career and his works most interesting, he founded a science fiction magazine with several contemporaries as well as producing the novels for which he is most well known.

His early feminism was also very interesting, perhaps stemming from witnessing his parents unhappy marriage and his father’s treatment of women in particular.

Throughout it all it is his relationship with Grace that sustains him, and although very few people were even aware of their love, and they only married later in life, Binns posits that all of his female heroines were versions of Grace, a love letter in every story he wrote.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Tales of Unexplained Mystery – Steph Young*

Tales of Mystery Unexplained….What happened to Elisa Lam, found dead in a water tower atop a hotel roof? Who were the two men who came to see her & what was in the mystery box they gave her? Why did the location of her gravestone match the zip code of a Bookstore, miles away?

Why was a man found in the same spot he disappeared, but 4 years later, with a hole in his head that no surgeons could explain? And what did this have to do with a séance, doppelgangers & the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Why did a man write the Fibonacci sequence as a clue & tell a stranger he was “Looking for the Beast,” before he disappeared in the barren plains of a desert? Plus many more Tales of Mystery Unexplained.

Steph Young has appeared on national radio shows & podcasts including the UK’s The Unexplained, and Coast to Coast Am, talking about many of these mysteries.

You can also hear some of these Unexplained Mysteries on her podcast on iTunes ‘Tales of Mystery Unexplained.’

Steph Young has been a guest on National Radio shows including ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ as well as many more…

Steph’s Podcast on itunes; “Tales of Mystery Unexplained” discussing Creepy Mysteries of the Unexplained

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My thoughts:

I’m not really interested in conspiracy theories, but this selection of mysterious deaths that have never been solved were interesting. Bodies turning up months after they went missing without any obvious signs of cause of death, in places that had already been searched, 5 young men wandering off into heavy snowfall despite having a working car.

All very odd, and nothing about any of these deaths really seem to add up. While this book lays out the theories around each case, there are still no answers. Only the dead know what really happened.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri*

In the midst of war, he found love.
In the midst of darkness, he found courage.
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope.
What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live happily in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens and they are forced to flee. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

Moving, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a powerful testament to the triumph of the human spirit.

My thoughts:

This is a really moving, at times heartbreaking, read, following the plight of Nuri and his wife Afra as they leave their home in the war torn city of Aleppo, Syria, to the UK.

Inspired by real people and real experiences, the lives of people living right now. The suffering of refugees is something we’re all aware of but can’t ever fully understand until we are in those shoes.

Lefteri (herself the child of former refugees) brings the characters and the horrors they endure to life with tenderness and compassion. This is the sort of book that leaves a mark in your heart.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.