blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Creak on the Stairs – Eva Björg Ægisdottir*

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.

When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area. Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel.

Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland. Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel.The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller.

Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

My thoughts:

What starts as a fairly straightforward police procedural develops into a complex and knotty plot, moving back and forth between the present and thirty years before as the detectives attempt to unravel the mystery of who would want this apparently unassuming woman dead and why.

Small towns hold many secrets and people have long memories, some with more to lose than others. As Elma and her team travel back in time and try to extract information from some very tight lipped people, they discover a tragic history, the kind you never really let go of.

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

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Cover Reveal: Sword – Bogdan Teodorescu

On the streets of Bucharest, a brutally efficient serial killer is at work. His targets: individuals from the Roma community with a criminal record. Each victim is killed with a single blow to the throat and tensions rise at the same rate as the body count. For not everyone disagrees with this vigilante killer.

With Presidential elections about to take place, and the police seemingly unable to track down the elusive assassin they’ve nicknamed Sword, the government struggles to keep control while other political figures try to stoke public resentment for their own ends.

The demons in Romania’s fractured society begin to resurface, as old distrust and prejudices grow with each new victim from the Roma community. The case is under the media’s relentless spotlight. Meanwhile, ruthless figures both inside and outside the government are manoeuvring to take advantage of the situation. But are they playing with political fire for their own purposes – are they in danger of sparking a vicious racial conflict?

Bogdan Teodorescu paints an acid portrait of a divided society in this powerful political thriller containing themes that will echo around the world.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Sister – Kjell Ola Dahl*

Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich.

In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

My thoughts:

What starts as a seemingly straightforward missing person’s case dives into the world of refugees and asylum seekers, people living in limbo as they wait to see if they can stay or will be sent away.

There are police cases, murders, “honour” killers, threats, secrets and lies ahead for police officer turned PI Frølich as he attempts to unravel the mystery hidden beneath all of the chaos he’s uncovered.

Clever, twisty, turny plotting that keeps you guessing, unreliable and untrustworthy characters, and new avenues that seem to pop up everywhere. Really enjoyable reading.

*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: Living Candles – Teodora Matei*

The discovery of a woman close to death in a city basement sends Bucharest police officers Anton Iordan and Sorin Matache on a complex chase through the city as they seek to identify the victim. As they try to track down the would-be murderer, they find a macabre trail of missing women and they realise that this isn’t the first time the killer has struck. Iordan and Matache hit one dead end after another, until they decide they’ll have to take a chance that could prove deadly.

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My thoughts:

This is a clever police procedural from Romania. The two detectives are smart and dedicated, despite the distractions of their private lives.

The plot leads you through the streets of Bucharest as they hunt for the killer of several red headed women over the years, tracing it back to the apparent suicide of one woman over thirty years before.

The writing is crisp and lean, with minimal unnecessary details and precise use of language. Giving it the feel of a tense episode of a TV drama and creating a sense of the claustrophobia of the crime scene.


*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: 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, 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: The Aosawa Murders – Riku Onda*

On a stormy summer day in the 1970s the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party in their villa on the Sea of Japan. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only family member spared death. The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. Inspector Teru is convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident. The truth is revealed through a skillful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbors, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.

Riku Onda, born in 1964, is the professional name of Nanae Kumagai. She has been writing fiction since 1991 and has won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers, the Japan Booksellers’ Award, the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Novel for The Aosawa Murders, the Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize, and the Naoki Prize. Her work has been adapted for film and television. This is her first crime novel and the first time she is translated into English.

My thoughts:

This took me a while to get into as the first person, half of a conversation, style it’s written in for the most part, felt quite jarring and I needed to adapt to the rhythm of it.

I still can’t quite work out whether Hisako was behind the murders of her family or not – it’s left slightly ambiguous.

I can see the influences of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood in the style and delivery of the various statements made by people involved with, and affected by, the murders.

This is a very clever book, toying with the reader, leading you off on various little detours into the lives of the different narrators. But always circling back round to the horrific events of that summer day.

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