blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Fallen Angels – Gunnar Staalessen*

Read my review of Wolves at the Door here.

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.

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.

My thoughts:

Varg Veum seems to always find the darkest parts of humanity when he investigates a case and this is no exception. After an old school friend’s funeral he finds himself spending time with another old pal, Jakob, and Jakob’s wife has walked out on him. Could Varg do him a favour and find her? See if she’d maybe come back?

Then Jakob’s former band mate, Johnny, is murdered and Varg starts to dig into the events surrounding the band’s break up, all those years ago and what he starts to dig up is dark and twisted and has brought about a terrible revenge.

Jakob is the only surviving member, and every death starts to look suspicious to Varg, the dead men received postcards with angels on them, counting down the dead.

Dark, gripping and horrifying, this is powerful and exposes the underbelly of the music industry as well as the depravity in some men’s souls. It’s easy to see why Staalesen is regarded as a master of Nordic noir with his pitch black explorations of Norway’s secret corners and hidden horrors.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Barnabus Tew & the Case of the Hellenic Abduction – Columbkill Noonan*

Zeus is used to getting what he wants…but that was before he met Barnabas Tew!

Barnabas and Wilfred, the unluckiest detectives ever, are happily enjoying their time in India, working on mastering their emotions, and learning how to do all sorts of interesting yoga poses.They’re having a splendid time, and feel as if they’ve finally found some peace in their lives.

Everything changes, though, when Zeus suddenly whisks them away from their idyllic retreat and
demands that they solve a case for him.

Having no choice, they reluctantly accept the job, but quickly come to realize that nothing is as it should be. Zeus’ motives are suspect from the beginning, the rest of the Greek gods and goddesses are untrustworthy at best, and Barnabas’ temper hasn’t improved at all during his time in India.

And, most importantly, who is the mysterious lady who keeps popping up just when they need her? Is she
friend, or is she foe?

To make matters even worse, both Barnabas and Wilfred have unresolved feelings of their own.

Can they settle their own emotional affairs, once and for all? Will they figure out what’s right and what’s
wrong in this topsy-turvy world of lies, intrigue, and trickery? Or will the Greek gods and goddesses prove too much for them?

Purchase

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the best-selling Barnabas Tew series, which features a proper British detective from Victorian London who ends up solving mythological cases for gods all around the world.

She was was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Maryland.

Her writing is mostly speculative fiction (especially stories that involve mythology, or the supernatural, or any combination thereof). Some of
her work is a bit on the spooky side, but usually there is a touch of humor (who says the afterlife has to be serious?)

When she’s not teaching or writing, Columbkill can be found with her rescue horse (whose name is Mittens), hiking in the woods, or doing yoga of all kinds (aerial yoga and SUP yoga are particular favorites). She is an avid traveler, and can’t wait to get back to seeing the world again.

Twitter Facebook

My thoughts:

This book was a lot of fun, I hadn’t come across this series before but I have downloaded the previous books as they’re just so enjoyable and play with some of my favourite things – mythology and Victorian detectives that aim to be (but aren’t quite) Sherlock Holmes.

Barnabus only seems to unravel this case because he has an incredible sidekick in the ever patient Wilfred, some good friends and the help of a few Olympians who don’t agree with Zeus’ behaviour.

They also seem to get further and further into trouble as they go along, from poisoning the Minotaur, to being almost eaten by Scylla and Charybis, to headbutting Hades and insulting Charon. It’s a wonder they ever get out in one piece!

Also one final thing, the author has the most marvellous name and I will be looking out for it on the front cover of many more books.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Double Deceit – Julienne Brouwers*

When Jennifer’s husband, a hotshot lawyer from Amsterdam, is found dead at a holiday park during a weekend getaway, the young mother’s world is turned on its head. Convinced that the police have failed in their investigation, she embarks on a desperate quest for the truth. The deeper she digs, the more she gets sucked into a tangled web of lies, spun by a ruthless law firm and instigated by greed.
As her search for answers intensifies, her grip on reality weakens. Barely able to manage her patients at the health clinic, or take care of her young son, Jennifer is at risk of losing it all – even her closest friends begin to desert her. A chance encounter with a charming stranger sparks a new chain of events that plunges her deeper into a world of threats and corruption, and she begins to fear for her life.

Who can she trust, and how far will she go in pursuit of the truth?

Goodreads Amazon UK

About Julienne Brouwers

Julienne Brouwers worked as a pharmaceutical scientist and medical physicist before becoming a writer. She lives in the Netherlands, with her husband and three children, where she has published two successful thrillers, and lived in the UK and US for a total of four years.

Instagram Twitter Facebook

My thoughts:

This was really intriguing, after the death of her husband in slightly suspicious circumstances, determined doctor Jennifer launches her own investigation into her husband, but what she finds is a huge scandal at the law firm where he worked, that he was planning to blow the whistle on.

Suspecting this may have something to do with his death, she keeps digging, despite her heavy workload and young son, despite the struggle to access key information, she just keeps going, determined to get some answers.

Jennifer is a fascinating character, strong and gutsy in many ways, but also struggling to reconcile her new reality with what she thought she knew about her husband and their life together. She starts to neglect things once important to her and frightens her closest friends with her obsessive need to dig into her husband’s secrets. Even when things become dangerous, she keeps pushing, putting everything at risk, when she could walk away as she doesn’t work for the firm and has little proof of wrongdoing, just lots of theories.

I liked the details of her life in Amsterdam, although I don’t think I could cycle anywhere in heels as Jennifer seems to do, I wobble along on my bike as it is (out of practice), but it seems to be second nature to the Dutch. I also enjoyed her relationships with the people you’d least expect her to get along with, that slightly antagonistic, viciousness was fascinating, manipulating someone with something they seem to regret.

All in all, a very enjoyable, twisty turny, clever, knotty thriller that kept me guessing till the last page.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Heat – Sean O’Leary*

Jake is a loner who works nights in a Darwin motel and lives at the YMCA. He’s in love with Angel, a Thai prostitute who works out of the low-rent Shark Motel.

A vicious murder turns Jake’s life into a nightmare. He must fight for his life on the heat-soaked streets of Darwin and Bangkok in the wet season to get revenge, and to get his life back.

Australian Bookseller

Amazon AU Amazon UK Amazon US

Sean O’Leary has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’. His novella ‘Drifting’ was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and published in September 2017. He has published over thirty individual short stories and is a regular contributor of short fiction to Quadrant, FourW, Sudo, Close to the Bone (UK) and other literary and crime magazines. His crime novella ‘The Heat’, set in Darwin and Bangkok, was published in August 2019. Drifting and The Heat are both available on Amazon. His interviews with crime writers appear online in Crime Time magazine.

He has worked in a variety of jobs including motel receptionist, rubbish removalist/tree lopper, farm hand, short-order cook and night manager in various hotels in Sydney’s notorious, Kings Cross. He has lived in: Melbourne; Naracoorte; Sydney; Adelaide; Perth; Fremantle; Norseman; Geraldton; Carnarvon; Broome; Yulara; Alice Springs; Kakadu; Darwin and on Elcho Island-Galiwinku. He now lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, thinks that test cricket is the greatest game of all and supports Melbourne Football Club (a life sentence). He writes every day, likes travelling and tries to walk everywhere.

Facebook Website Instagram

My thoughts:

This was interesting and more complex than it first appeared. Jake drifts through his life, working in a cheap hotel and spending his down time smoking weed and hanging out with his Thai girlfriend, who works as a prostitute, sending money back home to her mother and daughter.

When she’s killed, the police seem completely disinterested in solving the crime, leaving Jake to not only find a killer but also take her savings back to her family in Thailand.

However Angel’s killer wants that money too, and he will do whatever he can to get it from Jake.

As Jake tried valiantly to do the right thing by Angel, he is thrown by a sudden friendship and must also deal with reconnecting with his mother, now herself living in Bangkok.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Turncoat – Anthony J Quinn*

The sole survivor of a murderous ambush, a Belfast police detective is forced into a desperate search for a mysterious informer that takes him to a holy islandon Lough Derg, a place shrouded in strange mists and hazy rain, where nothing is as it first appears to be.

A keeper of secrets and a purveyor of lies, the detective finds himself surrounded by enemies disguised as pilgrims, and is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the purgatorial island, where he is forced to confront a series of disturbing secrets and ghosts in his own life.

Haunting and unsettling, Turncoat probes the legacy of the Troubles, the loss of collective memories and the moral consequences for the individual.

It is a story of guilt, survival and the terrible price of self-knowledge, told through the voice of a detective with a double life. Descending into paranoia, he uncovers a sinister panorama of cover-ups and conspiracies.

The closer he edges to the truth, the deeper he is drawn into the currents of power, violence and guilt engulfing his country…

Anthony J Quinn’s nine novels have received critical acclaim from The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, TheDaily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Express, The Sunday Herald,The Literary Review, The Good Book Guide, The Sydney Morning Herald, Books Ireland, Der Spiegel, The Irish Times, the Irish Independent and other newspapers.

His debut Disappeared was picked as one of the Best Books of the Year by theSunday Times and was a Daily Mail Crime Novel of the Year. It was shortlisted by thebook critics of the Washington Post, the LA Times, and the San Francisco Chroniclefor a Strand Literary Award in the US. It was also selected as one of the top ten thrillers of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews and long listed for the Theakstons Crime Novel ofthe Year.

He teaches creative writing at Queen’s University Belfast and is currently writer-in-residence for County Cavan in Ireland.

My thoughts:

Set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, following a police detective, who as the sole survivor of a shootout becomes the focus of suspicion and investigation.

Hiding out on an island sacred to pilgrims, he wrestles with his conscience and the events that led him to this point. His fear and paranoia have him believing that many of the pilgrims are spying on him for various factions.

This is a fascinating and involving book, exploring ideas of collective guilt, memory and conspiracy in those supposed to serve and protect the people.

You’re drawn into the web of secrets and lies within the agencies watching as well as the claustrophobic atmosphere of the holy Isle, where pilgrims walk the stations of the cross in prayer all day long, barefoot and fasting.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus – Jaime Jo Wright*

1928

The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day

The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

Amazon

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of five novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo, her husband Cap’n Hook, and their littles, Peter Pan, and CoCo. Website

Website

My thoughts:

This was an interesting and thought provoking thriller, linking events at the home ground of Bonaventure Circus in 1928 and the present day – proving that the past is never as far away as we think.

A serial killer stalked the travelling circus and now haunts its winter home, where a newborn elephant fights for life and the adopted daughter of the circus’ owner delves into the secrets of her own past.

In the present day, Chandler has plans to develop the abandoned circus depot into a trendy mix of shops and apartments, but strange goings on and rumours of ghosts dog her efforts. When her young son is kidnapped, she’s thrust into the swirling mysteries that still linger around the empty buildings.

Powerful and shocking, moving and heartwarming by turn, this is an engaging and evocative thriller about the secrets in families and the people who will do anything to keep them.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Out For Blood – Deborah Masson*

THE RETURNOF DI EVE HUNTER

DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year2020.

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.

Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.

Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long -and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…

Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?

Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city’s freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie -to name but a few.

Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy. Her debut novel, Hold Your Tongue, is the result of those courses.

My thoughts:

This is a gripping, intelligent thriller exploring ideas of power and influence. When the son of a wealthy businessman is found strangled in his apartment and the body of a young woman is hung from a tree at the golf course, at first the police don’t see any links between these deaths, but as they dig into the lives of the victims, they discover a web of human traffickers and money that goes to the wealthy and powerful.

Well written, powerful and gripping, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one as DI Eve Hunter is an interesting character.


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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Feral Snow – Mark Lowes*

Alone and stranded in the Arctic wasteland, would you risk your life to save a stranger or try to get home?

Paul is a father-to-be; traumatised by his past, he’s terrified of becoming a father after his own beat him until he was unilaterally deaf. While working as a freelance cameraman in the Arctic, he’s caught in a blizzard, separated from his crew, and falls into a chasm. Alone, and waiting for death to come, personal demons plague his mind.

When a young native girl falls into the chasm with him, Paul must learn how to accept responsibility and what it takes to give your life for a child.

Buy

Behind FERAL SNOW:

I began writing FERAL SNOW with the idea of writing a commercial thriller. Slowly, over time, it morphed into something more though. Paul’s layers began to unravel and his true colours came to the surface. His history of abuse became so much more important than I had first intended. I fell in love with all of the characters and I’ll admit I had a tear in my eye while writing the ending.

Mark Lowes is a former teacher, current early childhood educator, and future dad. He lives in Cardiff, Wales, UK, and is sometimes found lamenting over how awful his football team is. While he’s not working with deaf children and their families, he’s writing dark and twisty fiction.

His writing, so he’s told, is a mix between Chuck Palahniuk Josh Malerman and Ernest Hemingway (although Mark retains, all this praise is too much too high). He loves edge-of-your-seat fiction, novels that make you think deeper about the world but will also terrify you and live the world through the protagonist, experiencing every detail. He’s a fan of description, somewhat a lost art nowadays, and has a soft spot for a dark, unreliable narrator.

You can find him on Twitter @StrugglingMJ where he would be excited to hear your views.

Mark is the winner of Litopia’s Pop-Up Submissions and of a pitch contest at the Cardiff Book Festival.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting and slightly bewildering book. Paul ends up in a crevasse out in the Arctic wilderness, trapped in the snow. He’s joined by an indigenous girl, Nanny, who is escaping from a polar bear (in a slightly ironic twist her name is Nanouk, which means polar bear).

Together they attempt to struggle back to the surface and survive the freezing cold.

This is where I start to get a bit bewildered, is any of what Paul then goes through real? At different points he seems to be hallucinating and I can’t tell whether he and Nanny are able to escape or even if she’s real. Obviously this is very clever work on the part of the author but it really threw me. So I now have to read the alternate ending (handy QR code inside the book) and see if that helps or just confuses me more.


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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Twins – J.S. Lark*

From the moment they are born, twins Susan and Sarah are inseparable. Through good and bad, the girls will always be together… forever.

Until they meet Jonny.

Older, charming and handsome, Jonny offers the girls the much-needed love and attention they crave. But he can only choose one and for the first time in their lives the girls find themselves split apart – the invisible thread that binds them severed.

Set-free from her twin, Sarah builds a new life for herself, marries, has a daughter. But Susan’s life spirals further and further out of control.

And now Susan is back. And she’s determined to reclaim everything she feels Sarah has taken from her.

Her home, her husband…her life?

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction.
Jane’s books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.

Website Facebook Twitter
Instagram BookBub
Newsletter

My thoughts:

This book left me a bit confused, which twin was it? Who killed who? What exactly was going on? But I think that’s intentional as even they didn’t seem all too sure who was Sarah and who was Susan.

From a childhood of neglect to crime and drugs, then finally to safety in Cumbria, or not. When one twin comes after the other and no one else seems to be able to tell them apart (even Sarah’s husband and daughter struggle) then how can they know the truth?

Twisted and pretty dark, this is a very jarring story – as the secrets come out, the twins’ lives get bleaker and bleaker, no wonder Sarah doesn’t want her sister back in her life, she’s managed to lock all the awful things she went through away in her mind.

But that ending, very much a “who? What? Wait a minute?” reaction and I’m still not quite sure about a few things…

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Murder at the Gorge – Frances Evesham*

A joke? A prank? Or something more sinister?

When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

Amazon

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set in her home county of Somerset.

In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims.

She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch
of chillies in the other, her head full of murder―fictional only.

Facebook Twitter Instagram BookBub

Newsletter

My thoughts:

This was a fun, clever read, with entertaining characters and some definite red herrings that it takes till right near the end to clear up.

I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series, and it’s not vital to do so, but it will give a lot more background as there were a couple of moments where I went “who is this?” “what are they talking about?” but it does get explained a bit later, so if you can cope with waiting for answers (I have zero patience!) then you’ll be fine.

The locations in the book, especially the Clifton Suspension Bridge, become like extra characters, they’re so vividly described, and it makes you wonder about the dark side of Somerset, although more drinking of cider is needed! Those West Country stereotypes need reinforcing (my family are from Devon & Cornwall on my dad’s side and I like cider and clotted cream and also all the cheese!)

Max and Libby were interesting figures and I wanted to know more about the History Society and Libby’s chocolate making business, as well as the canine and feline supporting cast, they need their own book! So I’m going to be reading the rest of the series over Christmas.

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