In the mood for a mystery series? #kindledeals @JoffeBooks #crimefiction #mystery

Amazing deals to be had today for Kindle readers!

Check out these great deals! Seriously…. you can buy two complete series for less than $2.00  – includes 15 titles! (and NO, I am NOT affiliated with Amazon – I just love a good bargain and I like to share my book love)

.99¢ on Kindle:

    • Publisher: Joffe Books crime box set
    • ASIN: B088TV2GMY

I actually reviewed the first book in this series already.

Seriously folks this works out to about .15¢ per title.



A missing woman holds the key to a valuable inheritance
Florence Davenport hires Swift to find her missing stepmother. There are no leads and no suspects, but if the body is found, Florence will inherit half of a very valuable house.

Fifteen years ago a teenage boy, Teddy Bartlett, went to a woods on the outskirts of London and was beaten to a pulp and left damaged for life. The police never found who did it or why he was targeted.

A man stabs his girlfriend to death. Then hangs himself, leaving a note confessing to the murder. Open and shut case? Not for detective Tyrone Swift.

TWO YEARS AGO someone kidnapped Thomas Maddox’s six-month-old son. The case has never been solved and the boy has not been found.

Detective Tyrone Swift is hired to investigate the death of Kim Woodville. Two years ago, the young woman drowned in the lake by her family house. But there was bruising on her arms, and the prime suspect was let go because of police errors.

Pilot Greg Roscoe is found stabbed to death in his cockpit. His body has been mutilated. Detective Tyrone Swift is hired by the pilot’s mother to investigate the death of her beloved son. But Greg wasn’t who she thought he was. He had a tangled personal life, with three wives and a history of adultery and risk-taking.

Three sisters, Kelly, Faith and Orla. Two are attacked. Kelly drowns, Faith survives, Orla wants justice. Kelly and Faith Dwyer are attacked on a ferry crossing the Irish Sea. Faith can’t remember what happened. Orla asks detective Tyrone Swift to investigate. Swift starts in London, where it becomes clear that many people wanted Kelly dead.

Tyrone Swift is an ex-police detective who now works privately. He’s survived a stabbing and his fiancée running off with another man. Swift’s personal life is complicated. He is still involved with his ex-wife Ruth, who is expecting their child, but living with another man. And it’s just about the worst time to begin another relationship but he is tempted by the attractive police detective Nora Morrow.

The streets of London with their vibrant mix of nationalities, cultures, and rich and poor are beautifully evoked. From the quiet suburbs with their veneer of happy family life, to the bustling centre with refugees struggling to survive, to exclusive penthouses where the rich can have anything they want delivered.

.99¢ on Kindle:

  • Publisher: Joffe Books crime box set
  • ASIN: B087D92CLC

Seriously folks this works out to about .13¢ per title.


A young woman’s body is discovered on a deserted footpath in a Dorset seaside town late on a cold November night. She has been stabbed through the heart. It seems like a simple case for DCI Sophie Allen and her team to solve. But not when the victim’s mother is found strangled the next morning.

A young man’s mutilated body is found on top of the Agglestone, a well-known local landmark on Studland Heath.

Two women go away for the weekend, but only one comes back alive. Was it just the music they were into? And who was the man the victim met at the festival?

A devastating family secret unearthed. Sisters with a murderous rivalry.

Retired couple Sylvia and Ted Armitage attend the wrong funeral. It’s an honest mistake. But one month on, their bodies are found in their car, abandoned in the depths of a tranquil nature reserve.

A young man’s body is spotted in the stormy Dorset sea. Did he lose his footing and fall in? Or is there a more sinister cause of death?

An undercover detective disappears. A retired prison guard is found dead. Drugs and contraband phones are out of control in the local prisons. How are they getting in?

Detective Sophie Allen’s daughter discovers the body of a reclusive tramp out in the woods. Sophie and her team try to piece together something about his life, but progress is slow. NO ONE IS QUITE WHAT THEY SEEM.

DCI Sopie Allen is head of the recently formed Violent Crime Unit in Dorset. A beautiful English county which includes a stunning section of the coastline, but whose beauty belies darkness beneath the surface. She is 42 as the series starts, and lives with her husband and younger daughter in Wareham. Her elder daughter is studying in London. Sophie has a law degree and a master’s in criminal psychology. Her brilliant mind conceals some dark secrets from her past.

So there you have it!  FIFTEEN mysteries – TWO COMPLETE SERIES at bargain prices. I took advantage of BOTH of these bargains. Do either of them interest you? Let me know in the comments.

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“Killing Mind” by Angela Marsons – #BookReview #KillingMind @Bookouture @WriteAngie #NetGalley

D.I. Kim Stone – An acerbic, brusque, and driven young woman who works as a Detective Inspector for the West Midlands Police, the second largest police force in the country. She is socially inept, and has been known to break the rules, as well as to disregard instructions and protocols in her search for justice. An insomniac, she is fueled by nervous energy and lots of coffee, and is beautiful, but she works hard to hide it. She is 34 years old, brilliant, hot-headed, and damaged. As a child, she suffered horribly, and was shunted from foster home to foster home. Only once did she experience a nurturing, loving relationship – and that was very short lived…. Now, when not working, her favourite thing to do is work at restoring vintage motorbikes. Bikes are her passion, and she uses a Kawasaki Ninja as her regular form of transport.

Other than her second in command, Bryant, she is friendless. Her one real weakness is her fondness for her adopted dog, Barney.

“No matter what the day held, Barney’s welcome was enough to put a smile on her face.”

Her team respect her and are very loyal. And no wonder – Kim never asks her team members to do anything that she would not do herself. She is fiercely protective of people she cares about and has an overriding passion for her job.

Police team

D.S. Bryant, twelve years her senior, is Kim’s partner and dearest friend. Devoted to his wife and daughter, Bryant is the glue that holds Kim’s team together.  Their banter is a delight to read.
This time out, Bryant is woefully distracted by his involvement in a case from decades ago when he was a patrol copper.
Constable Stacy Wood, a diligent and hard-working local girl who excels at online research and data-mining which is often invaluable to the team’s success. Stacy is in a lesbian relationship and lives with her girlfriend. They plan to marry and in this novel Stacy is unsuccessfully trying to lose weight before her wedding.
D.S. Austin Penn, is the newest member of the team, but not a complete stranger as he has worked with them twice before for short terms. Penn arrives at work every morning carrying a ‘man-bag’ and a tupperware container of cakes. When not working, he cares for his mentally challenged brother because their mother is terminally ill. This time out, Penn is more firmly entrenched in the team’s dynamic.
D.C.I. Woodward (Woody) is Kim’s long-suffering superior. Like the rest of her team, he is loyal and stands up for her when the higher-ups would have her removed from the case. “He was a police officer at heart not a paper pusher, which made him an exceptionally good boss.”
Tiffany Moore, who we met when she filled the vacancy created by Penn’s partial absence in the last book, plays a larger role this time. Her innocent persona, sunny disposition and youthful looks is just what the team needs to infiltrate the cult. They enlist Tiff’s help…

Kim and her partner Bryant have signed off on what appears to be a tragic suicide. Upon further thought and acute powers of observation, Kim realizes that the supposed suicide is in fact a murder. A murder with ties to “Unity Farm” – a place that is reputed to be a ‘cult’ right in their midst!  Kim’s not sure at first that it is a cult, but the facts mount and it seems evident that the Farm’s leader uses emotional manipulation and coercion to further his own gains.

When people try to leave ‘Unity Farm’ they have a tendency to wind up dead…

Tied to their investigation into the cult is the enigmatic character of Kane. A large, muscular man dressed in black. Kim aims to find out more about him and just what part he plays in the bigger picture of recent events.

Then, Kim is filled with remorse when she realizes that she has inadvertently placed a police officer in mortal danger.

This is the 12th novel in the fabulous D.I. Kim Stone series. If you haven’t yet started the series…. why haven’t you?

Marson’s characters are becoming more and more like family to me. The series just seems to go from strength to strength. I highly recommend though that this series be read in order to fully realize its brilliance and appreciate the evolving dynamic between the characters.

This time out, the subject matter was particularly disturbing to me as any reference to ‘cults’ and any type of mind control or manipulation makes me unsettled and distressed.
Thankfully, Angela Marsons balances her disturbing subject matter with liberal lacings of witty sarcasm which I thoroughly enjoy.

As I devoured this 12th novel in the series, I felt even more invested in the characters than I was with the previous eleven titles. I will certainly recommend the series to all lovers of gritty crime fiction. I have read all twelve novels in the series, but have not yet read the prequel. I look forward to reading the future installments in this brilliant crime series. Oh, and in case you didn’t already guess… “Killing Mind” is very highly recommended by me.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley.

Publication date: May 13, 2020    Publisher: Bookouture

ISBN: 9781838887315   ASIN: B084VNRRD6     367 pages

Angela Marsons discovered her love of writing at Primary School. She wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner, she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries. She self-published two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
After many, many submissions she signed an eight book deal with Bookouture as their first crime author. Her D.I. Kim Stone novels have sold 3 million copies.

Angela Marsons is from Brierley Hill in the West Midlands and is a former security guard at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. She continues to live in the Black Country with her partner and their bouncy Labrador and potty-mouthed parrot.

Follow Angela Marsons on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, NetGalley, series to savour | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fictionophile’s May 2020 #BookHaul

My greed in amassing books for review continues at an alarming rate. I sacrificed my 80% NetGalley badge and downloaded TEN more titles from them. This was a tough decision, but I can rationalize it by saying I’ll never get my 500 reviews badge if I don’t continue to download from them. This, of course, is their evil plan. LOL

And… the fact that I have 101 more books to read/review for NetGalley doesn’t stress me out at all…. GULP!

The more positive news is that I’m doing well with my NetGalley Reading Challenge:


In total, I took on FOURTEEN more review commitments in May.

As usual, just click on the book cover to go to the Goodreads site for the title.


Here are the TEN titles I downloaded from NetGalley in May

The Whispering House” by Elizabeth Brooks

Freya Lyell is struggling to move on from her sister Stella’s suicide five years ago. Visiting the bewitching Byrne Hall, only a few miles from the scene of the tragedy, she discovers a portrait of Stella – a portrait she had no idea existed, in a house Stella never set foot in. Or so she thought.
Driven to find out more about her sister’s secrets, Freya is draw into the world of Byrne Hall and its owners: charismatic artist Cory and his sinister, watchful mother. But as Freya’s relationship with Cory crosses the line into obsession, the darkness behind the locked doors of Byrne Hall threatens to spill out.

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication date: August 6, 2020

One Step Behind” by Lauren North

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.
Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.
Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.
But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?

Publisher: Transworld
Publication date: September 3, 2020

To Tell You the Truth” by Gilly Macmillan

Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…
She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?
Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth.
Cross her heart.And hope to die.

Publisher: Century/Cornerstone/Random House UK
Publication date: June 25, 2020

Across the Water” by Ingrid Alexandra

Secrets can pull you under…
In a remote, boat-access only house, Liz Dawson’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she watches the people who live in the three identical houses that sit side by side across the creek. But it’s the middle house Liz finds herself drawn to most: the beautiful young mother, Delilah Waters, and her baby.
When Dee and her baby go missing, last seen by the murky waters of Myall Lake, it is a suspected murder-suicide. After all, it’s no secret that Dee Waters never wanted children. She wasn’t coping with the baby. Everyone in the town believes she leapt to her death, taking her child with her. Everyone except Liz.
Wrestling with her own demons, Liz risks everything to uncover a truth that becomes more complex with every twist. Of all people, Liz knows that just because someone is a reluctant mother, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their child. And it doesn’t mean they’re capable of murder… does it?

Publisher: One More Chapter/HarperCollins UK
Publication date: July 9, 2020

The Night Swim” by Megan Goldin

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.
The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication date: Aug. 4, 2020

Spring Girls” by Karen Katchur

Another spring, another dead girl pulled from a lake in the Appalachian foothills: the latest victim in a series of murders with few leads. But Detective Geena Brassard and her partner, Parker Reed, finally land a break when they receive a tip about a previously unknown survivor of the so-called Spring Strangler.
The survivor’s reluctant to help with the case for reasons that aren’t all clear. Even so, Geena uncovers a connective thread between the victims, and recently discovered DNA brings her closer to the killer’s identity. But Geena knows the survivor has the most to offer the investigation—if also the most to lose.
Geena is torn between securing the surviving victim’s help and protecting her from further danger. One thing is certain: Geena and Parker must find answers before the killer claims another life—or returns to finish off the one who got away.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication date: June 16, 2020

The Hidden Hours” by Sara Foster

Keeping her secret may save her family.
But telling it may save her life.
Arabella Lane, senior executive at a children’s publisher, is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the newest employee at Parker & Lane – the office temp, Eleanor.
Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in outback Australia, but now tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella’s death – memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.
As Eleanor desperately tries to remember her missing hours and uncover the events of that fateful night, her own extended family is dragged further into the dark, terrifying terrain of blame, suspicion and guilt.
Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor fears she can’t even trust herself, let alone the people around her. And soon, she’ll find herself in a race against time to find out just what happened that night – and discover just how deadly some secrets can be.

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication date: November 3, 2020

The House Guest” by Mark Edwards

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.
When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.
So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.
They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.
As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Publication date: June 3, 2020

“Long Shadows” by Derek Thompson

Detective Craig Wild couldn’t cut it in London. Now he must swap the Met for Mayberry, a sleepy Wiltshire backwater where ambition goes to die.
It was supposed to be a second chance. Then Wild is faced with the most baffling case of his career.
Eccentric farmer Alexander Porter is found shot dead in his own field. Everyone assumes it was suicide. But Wild knows there’s more to it than that.
Determined to uncover the truth, he teams up with plucky PC Marnie Olsen. They set off on a twisting trail.
The first suspect is Nathan Porter, Alexander’s tearaway son. Wherever Nathan goes, trouble follows.
Then someone else dies.
Wild and Marnie must delve into the darkest corners of the family’s history if they are to uncover the truth.
Can they unmask the killer before Wild’s own chequered past catches up to him?

Publisher: Joffe Books
Publication date: June 1, 2020

The Day She Came Back” by Amanda Prowse

When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.
As the two women get to know each other and Victoria begins to learn more about her past, it becomes clear that her beloved grandmother had been keeping life-changing secrets from her. Desperate for answers, she still struggles to trust anyone to tell her the truth.
To live a full and happy life, Victoria knows she must not only uncover the truth, but find a way to forgive her family. But after so many years, is trusting them even possible?

Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Publication date: July 7, 2020

Here are the THREE titles I downloaded from Edelweiss in May

The River Home” by Hannah Richell

In their ramshackle Somerset home, with its lush gardens running down to the river, the Sorrells have gathered for a last-minute wedding—an occasion that is met with trepidation by each member of the family.
Lucy, the bride, has begged her loved ones to attend—not telling them that she has some important news to share once they’ve gathered. Her prodigal baby sister, Margot, who left home after a devastating argument with their mother, reluctantly agrees, though their family home is the site of so much pain for her. Meanwhile, their eldest sister, Eve, has thrown herself into a tailspin planning the details of the wedding—anything to distract herself from how her own life is unraveling—and their long-separated artist parents are forced to play the roles of cheerful hosts through gritted teeth.
As the Sorrells come together for a week of celebration and confrontation, their painful memories are revisited and their relationships stretched to the breaking point.

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: August 4, 2020

Little Cruelties” by Liz Nugent

This story begins with a funeral. One of three brothers is dead, mourned by his siblings. But which one? And how? And, most importantly: why?
William, Brian, and Luke are each born a year apart in a lower middle class Catholic family in 1960s Dublin. William, the eldest, rises to the top of the heap in the film industry as a successful movie producer. Luke, the baby of the family, surprises everyone by morphing into a worldwide pop star. Brian, the compliant middle son, is the eternal adult in the room: the helpful, steady one, the manager of finances and careers.
But none of them is actually quite what he seems. Wounded by childhood, they have betrayed one another in myriad ways, hiding behind little lies that have developed into full blown treachery. With an unnerving eye for the complexities of families, Nugent delves into the secret life of a deeply troubled household and provides stunning insights into the many forces that shape us from childhood.

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press/Simon & Schuster
Publication date: November 10, 2020

The Book of CarolSue” by Lynne Hugo

CarolSue and her sister, Louisa, are best friends, but haven’t had much in common since CarolSue married Charlie, moved to Atlanta, and swapped shoes covered with Indiana farm dust for pedicures and afternoon bridge. Louisa, meanwhile, loves her farm and animals as deeply as she’d loved Harold, her late husband of forty years.
Charlie’s sudden death leaves CarolSue so adrift that she surrenders to Louisa’s plan for her to move back home. But canning vegetables and feeding chickens are alien to CarolSue, and she resolves to return to Atlanta–until Louisa’s son, Reverend Gary, arrives with an abandoned infant and a dubious story. He begs the women to look after the baby while he locates the mother–a young immigrant who fears deportation.
Keeping his own secrets, Gary enlists the aid of the sheriff, Gus, in the search. But CarolSue’s bond with the baby is undeniable, and she forms an unconventional secret plan of her own. How many mistakes can be redeemed?

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Publication date: August 25, 2020

And… last but not least, I received a title directly from the author David Rawding. I agreed to review his latest book because I have read his work before and enjoyed it. (Read my review of his “Taking on Water”)

Redemption Grove” by David Rawding

Twenty-one-year-old Chris Olson has hit rock-bottom. His addiction to painkillers has left him homeless and ruined. Hoping to give him a clean start, his sister, Aida, convinces him to move to Anchorage to live with her.
But trouble seems to follow Chris, and he brings it right to Aida’s doorstep. Faced with having to kick her brother out of the house, Aida enlists the help of her friend, Doctor Max Fitwell. Max, haunted by a recent personal tragedy, wants nothing more than to be left alone in his misery. But he reluctantly agrees to allow Chris to stay with him and to help build a cabin.
Chris and Max, two men who are each struggling to find their own reasons to live, navigate the wilderness of Alaska, where they’ll either become better men or die trying.

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Have you read any of these stellar titles yet?  Do you plan to?

Let me know in the comments. ♥

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 16 Comments

“The Fortune Teller’s Promise” by Kelly Heard – #BookReview @Bookouture @heardkj1

Also published under the title “Before You Go

“Predictions and nightmares, Dell often said, have exactly as much power as we give them and no more.”

The story flips back and forth between 1990 and 1991 with some back references to 1979.

Adella Shaw, our protagonist is the daughter of an estranged couple. Her father is loving but has distanced himself from his family by his addiction to prescription painkillers. Her beautiful mother who has left the family home, is selfish, aloof, and vain. She didn’t come to motherhood easily and insists Della call her Anita instead of Mom. When the teenage Dell is in her company, she introduces her as her younger sister.

Dell has an older brother, Scott, who now works on the town’s police force.

A traumatic incident in her early teens has scarred Dell’s psyche. She does her best to remain aloof, but when she does fall in love, she falls hard – and with the wrong person…

I have never read anything by Kelly Heard before, but this book has ascertained that I will search her work out in the future.

The writing was eloquent and I enjoyed the imagery. “The bruise on her temple didn’t look like an injury so much as some inner rottenness that had finally crept to her surface, like a soft spot on an apple.”

The Virginian Blue Ridge Mountains setting set the mood and the tone for the novel. The sometimes cloying aspect of small town America is evident – with all the pluses and minuses that that entails.

“People only wrote in ink with their lives here, and people talked before the ink dried.”

The protagonist, Dell, was a solitary, heartbroken, and heartbreaking woman who had received little maternal love in her life and therefore thought she couldn’t provide that love to her own child. The reader (and those characters she comes into contact with) can’t help but feel for her, even though she tries her darndest to remain aloof and self-sufficient.

This book reminds us that family and love comes in all shapes and sizes. That is is okay to need other people, and that motherhood is an inherent skill that most come by naturally. That loneliness, when chosen, can be a penance too great to pay.

I highly recommend this novel to all those who enjoy women’s fiction that expounds on family and motherhood, while telling a love story that is neither saccharine nor unrealistic.

4.5 stars rounded up for NetGalley, Amazon, and GoodreadsThis review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley.

Publication date: October 30, 2019    Publisher: Bookouture

ISBN: 9781838880057   ASIN: B07W6P1K7H     290 pages

Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Kelly Heard now lives in Richmond with her husband, spoiled house cat, and three-year-old daughter. She writes poetry, adult fiction, and creative nonfiction. When she is not writing or reading, Kelly enjoys spending her time gardening, cooking, and playing the ukulele for her toddler.

Follow Kelly Heard on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, Literary fiction, Love stories, NetGalley, Women's fiction | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge #20BooksOfSummer20

Once again, I plan to partake in the 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge created by Cathy at 746books.comHer rules are simple:

If you want to join in, just nab her Books of Summer image, pick your own 20 books you would like to read and link back to her Master post from 1 June to let her know that you are taking part.  She’d love your support and hopes some of you will join in the summer reading fun!

Choosing your list of books is half the fun, as is following along with everyone’s progress on this years new #20booksofsummer20 hashtag.

The challenge starts off on Monday 1 June and finishes on Tuesday 1 September.

Here are the TWENTY TITLES I plan to read for the challenge this year:

  1. Remain Silent” by Susie Steiner
  2. A Bad, Bad, Thing” by Elena Forbes
  3. The Sea Gate” by Jane Johnson
  4. The Invitation” by Rachel Abbott
  5. Nine Elms” by Robert Bryndza
  6. The Girl from Widow Hills” by Megan Miranda
  7. Weycombe” by G.M. Malliet
  8. Seven Lies” by Elizabeth Kay
  9. The Song of Hartgrove Hall” by Natasha Solomons
  10. The Bookshop at Water’s End” by Patti Callahan Henry
  11. Woman of the Dunes” by Sarah Maine
  12. The Island Child” by Molly Aitken
  13. Poor Little Rich Girl” by Phyllis Mallett
  14. Buried” by Lynda La Plante
  15. Rules for Moving” by Nancy Star
  16. The Second Home” by Christina Clancy
  17. The River Home” by Hannah Richell
  18. My Kind of People” by Lisa Duffy
  19. The Crossing” by Matt Brolly
  20. The Whispering House” by Elizabeth Brooks


Posted in 20 Books of Summer, Anticipated titles, reading challenges | Tagged | 33 Comments

“Death Deserved” by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst – #BookReview @OrendaBooks #DeathDeserved

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, …

translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce

This police procedural, set in Oslo, Norway, is the first to feature policeman Alexander Blix and blogger/journalist Emma Ramm.

Blix is a twenty year veteran of the Oslo police. Shortly after his career began he was involved in a fatal shooting that has now become part of the police academy’s syllabus.  Since then, his partner at the time, Gard Fosse, has risen through the ranks and is now Blix’s boss. While Fosse is a ‘by the book‘ type of policeman, Blix is more ‘by the gut‘. Blix is not ambitious for career advancement because he loves the investigative side of his work and would hate to leave that for a desk job.

On a personal level, Blix is divorced and the father of a twenty year old daughter who is presently starring on a reality TV show called “Worthy Winner” (a ‘Big Brother type show)

Blix has a new work partner, Sofia Kovic, who is twenty-six years old and has recently transferred in to their squad.

Emma Ramm is in her late twenties. A celebrity blogger/journalist for, she also has ties to Alexander Blix. Ties that make Blix feel somewhat responsible for her. Emma is an interesting character in that she keeps herself to herself and has a medical condition that she hides from everyone except her sister.

Emma is directly involved with the police’s latest case as she is directly approached by the killer/abductor and it is Emma who makes a crucial observation about how he is planning and conducting his nefarious plan.

Blix is removed from the case when his boss and nemesis discerns that Blix is the ‘leak’ who is letting know some vital details to the current case.

Emma and Blix put their heads together to solve the case and rescue Sonja Nordstrom.

I found that I immediately connected with both the protagonists in this novel so I was eager to follow their experiences in this very interesting serial killer case.

Blix was clever, a born copper, who follows his gut instincts to conduct his behavior at work. His workaholic mentality has jeopardized his relationship with his wife and daughter. Now divorced, he lives in an impersonal flat in which he spends as little time as possible.

I enjoyed witnessing the evolving work partnership between Blix and Sofia Kovic and look forward to reading about more of their endeavors in future books.  The cleverly orchestrated crime was a compelling read that had me avidly turning pages.

Emma, a driven and ambitious blogger journalist, is also very clever and presented as a sympathetic and empathetic character. Her childhood trauma and tragedy served to make her someone whom you just have to root for.

The book covers some fascinating themes such as moral integrity, celebrity, control, justice and regret.

I am eternally amazed when I learn that two authors have co-written a book. The fact that two minds can cause a seamless narrative is astounding. Add in the fact that this book is written by two authors AND is a translation, makes the achievement even more astounding.

Death Deserved” is an absorbing and engrossing crime thriller that I can highly recommend to all fans of the genre.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Orenda Books via Karen Sullivan.

Publication date: February 20, 2020    Publisher: Orenda Books

ISBN: 9781913193003   ASIN: B0815T9PLM     276 pages

Death Deserved” is the first crime thriller jointly written by two internationally acclaimed Norwegian authors.

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of five books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017. Rights have been sold to Germany and Iceland. Thomas Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

Follow him on Twitter @EngerThomas or on Facebook

Jørn Lier Horst is a former Senior Investigating Officer at the Norwegian police force. He made his literary debut as a crime writer in 2004 and is now considered one of the foremost Nordic crime writers. His William Wisting series of crime novels has been extremely successful, having sold more than 1 million copies in Norway. The series has also been translated into thirty languages. Dregs, sixth in the series, was published in English by Sandstone Press in 2011. The next book, Closed for Winter, won Norway’s Booksellers’ Prize in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Riverton Prize. The Hunting Dogs, won both the prestigious Golden Revolver, for best Norwegian crime, and The Glass Key, which widened the scope to best crime fiction in all the Nordic countries, in 2013. He has a beloved dog named Theodor.

Follow him on Twitter @LierHorst or on Facebook

Anne Bruce, who lives in Scotland, has a joint honours degree in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University. She has translated a number of books by Jørn Lier Horst and bestselling author Anne Holt.

You can follow her on Twitter @annembruce

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Nordic noir, novels in translation, Orenda Books, Scandinavian | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“The Split” by Sharon Bolton – Book Review

Felicity Lloyd – works as a glaciologist for the British Antarctic Survey. She is twenty-eight years old, beautiful, and is emotionally damaged by severe childhood trauma. Regularly based in Cambridge, England, she has accepted a two-year term position in the Antarctic to study glaciers and polar ice.  Her therapist, Joe Grant, does not think she should take this new position because her psyche is precarious and she often suffers from fugue blackouts, with no memory of the time she lost…

König Glacier

Joe Grant – a psychotherapist who has a tendency to become too close to his patients. In addition to his day job, Joe spends his nights watching out for the homeless people who reside in Cambridge. He befriends them and takes them food, etc.

Joe’s mother, Delilah, was quite an interesting character as well. She is overweight, has pink-dyed hair, and is a Detective Inspector with the Cambridge Police.

You always know that you are in for a thrilling ride when you read a book by Sharon Bolton. She is another one of those authors that I read automatically, without having to read the blurb first.

When it comes to settings, “The Split” delivered on two fronts. Firstly, one of the settings was one which I was completely unfamiliar with, so I learned a lot while reading. The inhospitable though coldly beautiful South Georgia Island locale added some unique atmosphere to the novel. The second setting, the university city of Cambridge, England, is one of my favourites. I’ve always wanted to visit and see it for myself.

Secondly, the protagonist, Felicity Lloyd, was an unreliable narrator. You know that if the protagonist is questioning their own actions that you’ll be doing double duty trying to figure out what is going on. I’m always up for a challenge.  I had great sympathy for Felicity as I was reading. She was afraid that she was going insane or suffering from early-onset dementia.  She had memory lapses, was sure that someone was in her house when she was at work who played tricks on her by moving her possessions about.  The character of Felicity’s therapist, Joe Grant, was also a sympathetic character, though he seemed weak at times.

As usual, the author has used short chapters which aids in the page-turning factor and moves the story along at a swift pace.

There was a twist in this book that came as an utter surprise to me, and I’m always delighted when that happens. As the ending neared, I found that there was one aspect of the plot that I found far-fetched which for me, detracted from the overall reading experience.  All in all, an absorbing thriller, but perhaps not my very favourite  by this author.  Recommended!This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Minotaur Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) via NetGalley.

Publication date: April 28, 2020    Publisher: Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 9781250300058   ASIN: B07S6J6T4N     400 pages

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton

Sharon (formerly S.J.) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer. She is the author of the bestselling Lacey Flint series, as well as a number of stand-alone thrillers.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

Follow Sharon Bolton on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers, Suspense | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Cover Love: part 89 – Car mirrors

In my 89th installment of ‘Cover Love‘, I thought I’d do a post about car mirrors on book covers.  An odd choice you’re probably thinking – Yet… there are more than I expected.  And once again, they are mostly in the thriller genre.

They say you can never have a second chance to make a good first impression. A book’s cover does just that – gives a first impression. A good cover can make a reader pick up a book. A bad cover can leave the book at the very bottom of a dusty pile.

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher ‘hooks‘ the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

These titles encompass a wide variety of genres with the majority in the suspense/thriller genre.  Enjoy!Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

Please let me know in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 88 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 17 Comments

New title for Agnes Ravatn! @OrendaBooks #SevenDoors #bookbuzz @simonschusterUK

As a book blogger, I am privileged to learn about new titles, often some months before they come out. This is a very pleasurable experience for a bookworm such as myself.
Once in a while however, you learn of a book that actually makes you very excited. Such was the case for me when I learned (via Jen Med’s Book Review blog) that Agnes Ravatn has a new novel coming out in September 2020.

This is her first novel since the fabulous “The Bird Tribunal” (my review here) which was published by Orenda in 2017. As it was my favourite read of 2017, I have been eagerly awaiting another book by her every since.

Well folks…. her new book is due out September 17, 2020 and the title is “Seven Doors

Seven Doors

written by Agnes Ravatn is translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda Books (17 Sept. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1913193381
  • ISBN-13: 9781913193386


Posted in Anticipated titles, Orenda Books, Scandinavian | Tagged , | 19 Comments

“Summerwater” by Sarah Moss – Book Review

We follow various people who are residing in a holiday park in the Trossachs.

Justine – middle-aged, married and the mother of two young sons.  Justine and her family have rented a cabin for two weeks away from their daily routine in Northern England. She is addicted to running and she leaves the cabin every morning before her family rises to run 12K around the loch before she returns home to make breakfast for her family. As she runs we follow her myriad thoughts and disjointed ruminations about her life.

Meanwhile, her husband introspectively reflects on what it means to be middle-aged.

David, a retired doctor and his wife Mary own their cabin and have been coming for years. They take a day trip from the cabin and travel by ferry across the loch to go to a cafe. Elderly now and increasingly infirm, they ruminate on aging, and lament on how things ‘used to be‘.  Change and increasing age can be bitter pills to swallow.

Milly and Josh, a young engaged couple are staying at the cottage of his parents. They are relishing their privacy and making love. We follow the young woman’s train of thought as she fantasizes about old film stars, warmth, and a bacon sandwich.

A chronically depressed, frazzled mother sends her two young children out to play in the rain so that she can get a bit of peace. We follow the daughter’s thoughts as she accompanies her young brother to the loch. There we learn that children can indeed be cruel…

Alex, sixteen and disgruntled that he had to accompany his family on holiday, escapes his parents, sister, and the confines of the cabin and takes the red kayak out on the loch. While alone, his musings turn to running away from his family and emigrating to another country, his future education, and his all abiding wish for privacy.

Becky, Alex’s sister is turning to suicidal thoughts cooped up with her family, sharing a room with her brother in the tiny cabin, and gasp… no internet!

A little girl named Izzie, her baby brother Patrick, their ever patient mother, Claire and their father, Jon. We are privy to Claire’s thoughts as she reflects upon her life and how she got to this day – in the rain – in a cabin with her family. Is she happy? Wouldn’t she just love some time to herself? What will her life be like when her children grow up? How she really cherishes this time when the kids are small.

Oh, and their neighbours in the cabin next door are partying all hours keeping all of them, especially baby Patrick awake…The ‘stream of consciousness‘ writing style might not be to everyone’s taste, but it works well here. You get inside the various character’s minds, not observing, but seeing their ‘secret selves’ – making the events come to life. The claustrophobic, ceaseless rain and wet – tarnishing what should be a welcome vacation break from their ordinary lives.

Sunshine would have much improved this cabin park in the Trossachs – though to be honest it would still be rather faded and the worse for wear. But these unfortunate souls chose the worse two weeks for their holidays. Unrelenting rain.  So much rain, drizzle, and dampness that I felt quite soggy after reading this captivating little book and should really check myself for mildew.

The writing was incredible. “The sky turned a yellowish shade of grey, the colour of bandages, or thickened skin old old white feet. Rain simmers in puddles. Trees drip. Grass lies low, some of it beginning to drown in pooling water…”

Because the narrative was divided in the manner it was, it reads almost like a collection of linked short stories. Linked in that the various residents of the holiday park all come together in the end in what was, for me, an ending that was both memorable and chilling.

Sarah Moss has granted us a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of various different people here. They are all very genuine and uncompromisingly ‘real’. Their stories portray the author’s keen understanding of human nature. Literary fiction that engenders empathy in the reader is to be recommended.  Well done!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Picador (an imprint of Pan MacMillan) via NetGalley.

Publication date: August 20, 2020    Publisher: Picador/Pan MacMillan

ISBN: 9781529035438   ASIN: B07RM6R4WL     160 pages

Sarah Moss is the author of seven novels and a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her novels are Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), Signs for Lost Children (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), The Tidal Zone (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and Ghost Wall, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019.

Sarah was born in Glasgow and grew up in the north of England. After moving between Oxford, Canterbury, Reykjavik and West Cornwall, she now lives in the Midlands and is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick.

Posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

“Death of a Mermaid” by Lesley Thomson – Book Review

“…even sinners love those who love them.”

It all started over two decades ago at a Catholic school. Four teenage girls who called themselves ‘Mermaids’.  When one of the Mermaids got ousted from their little friendship circle, bitterness remained. Now, with only three Mermaids, as they got older, two of them fell in love – with each other…  This relationship severed ties of family and friendship.

Several pivotal events in this novel took place at the Lunette Battery, Newhaven, East Sussex.

Lunette Battery

The characters in this novel are all in some way connected to a family business. Power Fisheries has been a prominent business in Easthaven for generations.

The Power patriarch has been dead for some years leaving the running of the family business to the two sons, Adam and Ricky. Freddie (Frederica), the eldest child, was thrown out of the family and the business by her father when she ‘came out’ to him about being a lesbian.  Now, Rennie Power, their mother, is gravely ill and Freddie returns home to Newhaven to see her Mum one last time….

The Mermaids are now all around the age of forty.

Freddie Power – daughter of the powerful Power clan, has just returned to Newhaven after two decades in London where she lived with her partner Sarah, a successful lawyer. Unhappy in her relationship, she leaves Sarah when she returns to her home town.

Karen Munday – thrown out of the mermaids when she bullied Toni, she now works as a fishmonger for Power Fisheries.

Toni Kemp – now a Detective Inspector with the Sussex Police in Newhaven. She is the girlfriend of Ricky Power.

Mags McKee – single, a librarian, and a devout Catholic, she was, and still is, the love of Freddie’s life.

I’m not sure if this novel is the beginning of a new series for Lesley Thomson – but if it is, it is a series I will be following.

Newhaven, East Sussex

I love a seaside setting, and this one, set on the Sussex coast is so vivid you can hear the seagulls squealing.

The protagonist(s) were very interesting characters, and you got to know them well over the course of the book. I particularly liked Freddie Power and enjoyed the scenes where she took up her late mother’s pet hotel.

The mystery element of the book was well plotted and it had me guessing ‘whodunnit‘ until near the end. I did guess at one plot element reveal, but don’t want to speak of it here –  so I won’t spoil it for any potential reader.

The cover is stunning and exactly fits the subject nature of the novel.

I was not at all surprised that I loved this book. I have read the first novel in the author’s ‘Detective’s Daughter’ series and thoroughly enjoyed that one as well. I will endeavor to read more in that series when time permits.

With themes of family loyalty, friendship, betrayal, Catholicism, homophobia, and avarice, this novel has a lot to offer the reader. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Head of Zeus (and their marketing manager, Vicky Joss) via NetGalley.

Publication date: May 7, 2020  Publisher: Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781788549721   ASIN: B07RM6R4WL     400 pages

Lesley Thomson grew up in west London. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won the People’s Book Prize in 2010. Her second novel, The Detective’s Daughter, was a #1 bestseller and the series has sold over 750,000 copies. Lesley divides her time between Sussex and Gloucestershire. She lives with her partner and her dog.

Follow Lesley Thomson on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, Head of Zeus, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Suspense | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

“Girl in the Middle” a short story by Evie Gaughan – Book Review

A quirky short story about a woman who discovers that not all heroes wear capes… some of them don’t even have a pulse. But they do have a name. Gerald.I learned about this little story from Nicki over at the Secret Library blog. When I found out it was free, I jumped at the chance to read it. I’ve read one other of her short stories, but as yet I’ve read none of her longer works.

Well, what a delight!

A very short story with a very big heart, a few laughs, and an underlying serious topic.

Reading this story and another short of hers called “Betwixt”  has made me eager to read some of this author’s longer works.

I purchased my copy of ‘Girl in the Middle‘ from in Kindle format for FREE!

Now, I’m even more looking forward to reading Evie Gaughan’s full length novel, “The Story Collector“. It has been on my TBR for a while now.

Evie Gaughan is a novelist and lives in the medieval city of Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland. Her books are an eclectic mix of genres, incorporating her love of history, folklore and finding magic in the everyday. She graduated from the Université de Paul Sabatier, Toulouse with a marketing diploma in 1996 and spent the next few years working abroad and discovering that she didn’t like marketing one bit. Evie abandoned the corporate world to follow her dream of becoming a writer and an artist. Since then, she has written three novels, The Heirloom, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, and The Story Collector. She also contributes articles to The Irish Times and Women Writers, Women’s Books.

Follow Evie Gaughan on Twitter and/or on Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Short stories | Tagged , | 3 Comments

“Catherine House” by Elisabeth Thomas – Book Review

“A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.”

Ines Murillo is a lost soul. She begins her three year term at Catherine House having little to lose after a traumatic and rather sordid event in her past. Her roommate is called Baby, a studious and serious girl. Ines on the other hand parties hard, misses classes, and finds herself lost, both physically and metaphorically.  Has she escaped her past? Or, has she run from the proverbial frying pan straight into the fire?

The first word that comes to mind after reading this novel is ‘Bizarre’. The vibe emitted by this novel is at once creepy and unsettling – you just know that things are not as they should be… Could Catherine House actually be a warped sociological experiment?

The insular setting, deep in the dark Pennsylvania forest, makes the reader uneasy. The students are not allowed to leave – for three years! They are encouraged to study hard and achieve academic acclaim while at the same time they are also encouraged to drink and have parties – parties that often get out of hand. Say what?  The gates are locked, and they don’t have recourse to contact their families or friends on the outside. They do not have access to the internet. Although they have shabby chic surroundings, Catherine House is a prison-like institution disguised as a place of higher learning. And weird… some of the students study ‘plasm’ and ‘new materials’.  The almost ‘cult like’ atmosphere puts great stresses upon Catherine House’s students.

I found that, despite by very best efforts I could not care about the protagonist or her plight in this surreal environment with these odd and suspect people. In fact, while reading, I found I could hardly wait to leave “Catherine House” with its brilliant though seriously messed up residents. Reality – a bizarre concept here… the whole thing was like a waking nightmare.

Recommended to readers who enjoy a touch of science fiction laced with creepy and other-worldly situations and environments.  I can honestly say that I will never read anything else by this author. Sadly, this book was not for me.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Custom House (an imprint of Harper Collins) via Edelweiss.

Publication date: May 12, 2020  Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780062905659   ASIN: B07WG8LXSD     320 pages


Elisabeth Thomas grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she still lives and now writes. She graduated from Yale University and currently works as an archivist for a modern art museum. This is her first novel.

Visit her website and/or follow her on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Edelweiss | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = FAMILY

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

I know there are hundreds of books with the word ‘FAMILY’ in the title, but I’m featuring a selection of 43 titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love.

As you view this post, I expect you are at home with your own family until this dreadful pandemic has run its course.

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

So many fabulous ones here. Which cover MOST APPEALS to YOU?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even ONE of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.


Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 8 Comments

“The Creak on the Stairs” by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir – Book Review

The Creak on the Stairs is the first in the electrifying FORBIDDEN ICELAND series

The Icelandic Police team of criminal investigators include:

Hörður Höskuldsson – leader of the Akranes Criminal Investigation Division. With many local connections, he is in charge of the entire Western Region of Iceland.  Hörður often cycles to work and is not famous for his punctuality.

Elma – Recently returned to her home town of Akranes after a traumatic break-up with her partner of nine years. She worked in Reykjavik in the CID and now joins the Akranes team. Despondent over her failed relationship, she is lonely and introverted, but is a brilliant investigator.

Sævar – A detective on the CID and Elma’s work partner. Sævar and Elma have both just ended long relationships.

Begga – verbose, single, and mother to an orange tabby cat, Begga adds some much needed levity to the serious nature of their profession. Begga befriends Elma, who would never have the nerve to make the first move in any friendship.

Elma’s new job begins with a murder. A body of a woman was found near the old lighthouse half submerged in the water. The body is that of a woman pilot, in her thirties, with two young sons. The investigation into her death will have many ties to the past.

Then skipping back to the past and the years 1989-1992 we follow the life of  Elísabet, a tiny girl living in Akranes. Elísabet‘s father was a fisherman who perished when his boat capsized in a storm. Bereft of her beloved father, this is only the first of a long line of losses for Elísabet. A beautiful child, friendless, she was also mistreated and criminally neglected.

The Old and New Lighthouses of Akranes

“In a small town like this, people are very protective of their reputations.”

First let’s discuss the title. ‘A creak on the stairs‘ could be either comforting or menacing. Comforting if you hear someone you love come home safely. Menacing if you don’t expect anyone and you’re all alone…  Of course, with this being the first book in a new Icelandic crime series, one would assume that we’ll go with ‘menacing’.

I’m always keen to discover new crime series and this one did not disappoint on any level. With a vividly described setting, this novel had a strong sense of place. Set in the author’s home town, and her affection shows.

If I had one quibble with the book it was the difficult Icelandic names. To my untrained English ear, I couldn’t even sound them out, which at times made it hard to keep some of the characters straight in my mind. This is entirely my own fault, and in no way reflects negatively upon the book. Names like Guðrún Snæbjörnsdóttir don’t exactly roll off the tongue…

The protagonist, Elma, was a sympathetic character, though she had her own flaws and baggage, as do we all. She seemed ‘down to earth’ and ‘what you see is what you get’. However even Elma has secrets…  I look forward to following her career in subsequent novels.

The murder investigation was a slow burn. Multi-layered, it exposed secrets, shame, and egocentricity. A small town mystery with myriad ties to past sins.  With themes of grief, loss, child abuse, and more, this story was well written and compelling with some secrets exposed near the end. The ending was both satisfying and poignant in equal measure.

Icelandic noir at its very finest!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Orenda Books via Anne Cater.Publication date: May 28, 2020  Publisher: Orenda Books

ISBN: 9781913193041   ASIN: B085H684B6     400 pages

Born in Akranes, Iceland 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.

Follow Eva Björg Ægisdóttir on Twitter.

About the Translator

Victoria Cribb studied and worked in Iceland for many years. She has translated more than 25 novels from the Icelandic and, in 2017, she received the Orðstír honourary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.

Posted in 1st in series, Blog Tour, Book Reviews, novels in translation, Orenda Books | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments