blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Mexico Street – Simone Buchholz*

Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no suspect. Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty. The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan – is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide. Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation, which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random attacks, and there are more on the cards…

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

My thoughts:

This was not what I expected at all. It seemed like a straightforward police procedural, then the protagonist’s apartment talked. There were strange length chapters that seemed to be about something else, bits of plot that didn’t connect to anything.

I haven’t read the previous books in this series, and as with most crime series’ it wasn’t necessary in order to follow the case, but maybe would explain some of these odd bits. Or maybe not.

Either way it’s an interesting case, and just when you think it’s been solved and is all about a feud in a minority ethnic community, it turns out to be about something else entirely.

Though I still don’t know who is setting all those cars on fire…

*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

Cover Reveal: Death in Smoke – Barbara Elle

She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snowbank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?

Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart.

As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test.

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.

She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.

Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across time, challenging your assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.

Goodreads Amazon

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often traveling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Zodiac – Anamaria Ionescu*


When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with, and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation takes them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.

Amazon

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting, twisty, clever thriller. I really enjoyed it. One of the joys of translated literature is getting to read more widely but also see how tropes translate in other cultures. I’d really like to read more from this author, with her great grasp of narrative and suspense. It also gave me a tour of parts of Romania, which was really interesting too.

*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: Blackwood – Michael Farris Smith*

In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods.

The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who’ve held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county’s aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself — when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good.

The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts — of regret and violence — transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still.

Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who’s returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods — and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.

Michael Farris Smith is the author of The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. His novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have appeared with the New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.

My thoughts:

This was a strange book, in a good way. The blurb implies a straightforward crime thriller but it isn’t quite that.

Colburn has returned to the town his father died in, still dealing with his feelings about his parents.

Three strange drifters also arrive in town, never named, they live in their car till they, and three local residents, go missing.

It’s like a weird, anti fairy tale, with the creeping vines gradually eating up the town and its inhabitants. A town that’s slowly dying, with its empty store fronts and dwindling population.

The writing is lyrical, drawing you into the Mississippi haze.

*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 Prized Girl – Amy K. Green*

Days after a young pageant queen named Jenny is found murdered, her small town grieves the loss alongside her picture-perfect parents. At first glance, Jenny’s tragic death appears clear-cut for investigators. The most obvious suspect is one of her fans, an older man who may have gotten too close for comfort. But Jenny’s half-sister, Virginia—the sarcastic black sheep of the family—isn’t so sure of his guilt and takes matters into her own hands to find the killer.
But for Jenny’s case and Virginia’s investigation, there’s more to the story. Virginia, still living in town and haunted by her own troubled teenage years, suspects that a similar darkness lay beneath the sparkling veneer of Jenny’s life. Alternating between Jenny’s final days and Virginia’s determined search for the truth, the sisters’ dual narratives follow a harrowing trail of suspects, with surprising turns that race toward a shocking finale.
Infused with dark humor and driven by two captivating young women, The Prized Girl tells a heartbreaking story of missed connections, a complicated family, and a town’s disturbing secrets.My thoughts:This covers some dark terrain, and I don’t just mean murder. Both Jenny and Virginia live with secrets, and while Virginia is trying to find Jenny’s killer, she’s also unravelling her own past.The plot twists and turns, keeping you guessing right till the very end.For a small town there’s a lot of terrible people doing terrible things, reminding me of some recent Netflix binges, and that’s no bad thing.*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: Containment – Vanda Symon*

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins. Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead. What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea…

a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

About the author

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

My thoughts:

This was very twisty and turny with plenty of red herrings. Well written and gripping, showing the dark underbelly of the sunny New Zealand coastal towns.

I really enjoyed the way the author conjured up the landscape, even though I’ve never been to New Zealand, I could picture the ocean and the various buildings the characters enter. I could even imagine the differing officers and persons of interest quite vividly.

The plot is clever and the characters have nuance and shade, Sam’s a cop but not unwilling to colour outside the lines, making her feel more realistic and I liked her partner Smithy.

*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 Slaughterman’s Daughter – Yaniv Iczkovits*

When Fanny Keismann turns ten, her father, Grodno’s ritual slaughterer, gives her a knife, and she soon develops a talent for her father’s trade. But in nineteenth-century Russia, ritual slaughter does not befit a wife and mother, so when it comes time to marry and raise a family, Fanny abandons her work and devotes herself to raising her five children.

When Fanny’s older sister’s husband disappears, Fanny leaves her own family and sets out for the great city of Minsk in search of her wayward brother-in-law, armed with her old knife and accompanied by Zizek Bershov, who is either a sly rogue or an idiot. Fanny’s mission to help her sister turns into a misadventure that threatens the foundations of the Russian Empire. What began as a family matter in Motol, a peripheral Jewish settlement, breaks the bounds of the shtetl, pits the police against the Czar’s army, and upsets the political and social order they all live in.

My thoughts:

I’m entirely sure what this book is – is it straightforward historical fiction, a family saga, a crime novel?? It’s all of these and more.

The blurb doesn’t do it justice at all. There’s dozens of stories fitted into one over-arching narrative – that of Fanny Keismann looking for her errant brother-in-law in order to help her sister.

Almost every character’s entire life story will be told, battles will be conjured in the air, men and women will die, people will find themselves in strange situations and a very thin man will eat a lot of food.

The writing crackles and sparks, several languages are spoken by the characters and you wonder how they all make themselves understood – although misunderstanding is one of the books many themes.

The power of words is vital, from letters sent from the front, newspaper advertisements, the fact that a mixture of Yiddish, Russian and Polish are spoken, various polemics are written and ignored, the Torah gets quoted a fair bit, and everyone spends all their time exaggerating or not explaining.

For all that the action takes place in about a fortnight, it spans some characters’ lifetimes in explaining who they are and how they became mixed up in all the chaos Fanny is leaving in her wake.

This is an impressive, strong book about a remarkable woman, not just for her time and place, but for every reader who meets her.


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