Blog Tour: The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today, I’m pleased to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl, published by Orenda Books and translated by Don Bartlett.

Blurb:

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The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir, and their new colleague has more at stake than she’s prepared to reveal…

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder.

With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

What I Say:

Dark, atmospheric and full of tense emotion.

Poor Lena, she’s dealing with a recent health scare which she is unable to put out of her mind and a struggling with new boyfriend, journalist Steffen Gjerstad who she suspects has tipped off her colleagues and misled her. Who can Lena truly trust? All this while trying to discover who the dead man is and why he had been murdered. Could it be for political purposes? Or financial reasons? Or is it something more sinister behind the murder?

I loved this detective story, it has everything you need – a sinister web of lies, treachery, superb characters and a twisty mystery.

I did feel really sorry for Lena as much as she tried she seemed to be blocked at every opportunity as she tried to unravel the mystery, but at least she had her colleagues Gunnarstrada and Frolich to help her. I loved their chemistry together and made them all not only likeable but made the story feel very realistic.

This is the first novel in the Oslo detectives series I have read but even so, I felt it could be read as a stand-alone as I was still able to follow previous events. Kjell Ola Dahl has been described as the godfather of Nordic Noir and I can see why. This is definitely a must read.

This is a dark, emotive and twisty mystery which has been tightly woven, full of surprises and lovable characters – such a fab treat for fans of Nordic Noir!

About the Author:

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One of the godfathers 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 sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.

 

The Ice Swimmer is out on Ebook now but will be released in paperback on 30th April 2018. It be ordered from Amazon here. Or preordered from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fab blog tour!

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Blog Tour: Class Murder by Leigh Russell

Today, I’m super excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Class Murder by Leigh Russell, published by No Exit Press.

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Blurb:

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he’s the boss.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

What I say:

This is the tenth novel in the Geraldine Steel series, I’m ashamed to admit I have never read any of Geraldine’s previous outings, but this was such a great introduction into the series!

Geraldine Steel has recently moved to York, after being disgraced and forced to relocate by the Met police after the events from the last novel. Geraldine is struggling with her recent demotion to DS while trying to fit into her new life, but undeterred Geraldine Steel throws herself into the investigation of a young woman’s murder.

It is mainly told from the point of view of Geraldine as she tries to unravel who the killer is while trying to stop the body count rising, but also follows the killer’s point of view as they plan who their next victim would be and plot their kills – which I weirdly enjoyed. I loved how warped the killer’s mind was and thought the author cleverly managed to drip feed this into the story.

I also loved Geraldine Steel – she is such an amazing character who just has so much gumption! Another thing which I loved was the opening of the story which kicked off with an absolute bang and didn’t let up.

Even though I haven’t read any of the other stories, I was still able to follow Geraldine’s backstory and the investigation itself is very self-contained, drawing both new and old readers into this story.

If you love a good action-packed crime novel, full of complex characters and unexpected twists this is one for you

About the Author:

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Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel
series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer
Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million
copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA)
John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA
Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes
with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize.
Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal
Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in
English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a
granddaughter, and lives in London.

To find out more about Leigh Russell follow her on twitter @LeighRussell.

Class Murder is out now on Ebook or released on 29th March in paperback and can be preordered from Amazon here.

Big thanks to Anne Cater and No Exit Press for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this blog tour!

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Blog Tour: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Today, I’m super excited to be kicking off the blog tour for The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton, published by Wildfire, part of Headline Publishing.

First up the Blurb:

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Meet Juliette. She’s intelligent, driven, committed – and in love.

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.

And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain….

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What I say:

There is not one word I can choose to sum up this novel and do it justice.

Juliette is a girl out to win her ex-boyfriend, Nate. She wants to be the perfect girlfriend to him and knows he is the one for her. So deciding to give Nate his space, she watches him from a close distance as she slowly manipulates and transforms herself into the perfect person she thinks he would fall in love with. Because Juliette is a woman scored and will show him what exactly he is missing. Nate shouldn’t have let her go, surely?

The novel is told from the perspective of Juliette, as she goes to great lengths to win Nate back. As the novel progresses, she slowly  adapts her plans to win back the love of her life, while showing us snippets of her childhood giving the reader a glimpse into what makes her tick.

I loved Juliette, even though she came across a psychotic and even catatonic at times her seemingly erratic behaviour made for breath-taking reading. I kept thinking surely this is it, she would get caught – I even read with my hand over my mouth at one point. Weirdly I rooted for her throughout the story, even after all the things she did. I could really empathise with her character, especially when her true motives are revealed (which quite frankly spun the whole story on it’s head). But I will say no more….

One of the stand out things for me is the setting of this novel, which was quite unusual having quite a bit of the action set on an airline and just showed the skill of the author who gave us a flavour of each different country Juliette visited, drawing me deeper into the story.

I mean this book was just hypnotic and actually really disturbing. The lengths Juliette would go kind of freaked me out as it felt very realistic, especially as I was reading this at night so I probably only had myself to blame.

This novel is packed full of pace, tension, disturbing characters filled with passion and psychotic love. What’s not to love? This was a stand out psychological thriller and would urge you to read. I am very much looking forward to seeing what else Karen Hamilton publishes in the future.

About the author:

Karen Hamilton

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy, and developed a love of travel through moving around so much. This led her to a career as a flight attendant, and it was in the air that she thought of the idea for her debut thirller THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND, which aims to explore not only obsession, but also the true faces behind those who go to work in uniform.

Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy, and has now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband.

To find out more about Karen Hamilton, follow her on twitter @KJHAuthor.

The Perfect Girlfriend is out now on Ebook or released on 22nd March in hardcopy and can be preordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Anne Cater and Becky Hunter for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

Don’t forget to fly over to the other stops on this blog tour!

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Chiller Review: The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst

Blurb:

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

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Bad things seem to follow little Ellie Atkinson around – dangerous things are happening to people who make her angry. Her teachers and fellow students believe she is evil and someone to be feared – but is there more to it?

Imogen Reid, a child psychologist agrees to take on the case of Ellie after recently moving back to her own town of Gaunt with her husband Dan. But as Imogen refuses to listen to people’s warnings about Ellie, she becomes increasingly more obsessed with her. But she hiding a secret of her own…

What I say:

What a wicked mind the author Jenny Blackhurst has!

This story had me gripped from the very beginning with a chilling opening and breath-taking twisty action which didn’t let up until the end.

The author does a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a troubled eleven-year-old girl, who slowly spirals out of control. Ellie is such a fabulous protagonist who becomes increasingly alienated for being ‘strange’ but as she fights back, the town has other ideas. Her voice is so compelling and quite frankly freaked me out. Some of the other characters in this book are just plain creepy and quite sadistic which just added to the horror elements in this story.

I particularly loved the setting of this book; the town of Gaunt, which Ellie is forced to live in and Imogen has moved back to. Gaunt is claustrophobic and suffocating, slowly forcing the characters to breaking point. Imogen is someone who views the town as a complete outsider, having escaped to London for years which gives the reader a glimpse into this creepy place.

The author manages to play with the readers misconceptions and stereotypes as the tale become darker and more terrible than even I could’ve guessed, showcasing the superb writing and wicked mind of Jenny Blackhurst.

The Foster Child definitely got under my skin and had me glued to the pages. This is a story full of chilling characters, a claustrophobic setting and a tightly woven plot full of twist and turns and a dash of horror mixed in. What’s not to love?

To find out more about Jenny Blackhurst follow her on twitter @JennyBlackhurst .

The Foster Child can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Millie Seaward and Headline for my ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Today, I’m super excited to host the next stop on the Blog Tour for Hydra by Matt Wesolowski, published by Orenda Books, where I have a reviewed this book.

Blurb:

In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

This is the second book in the ‘Six Stories’ series which sees Scott King back with a new podcast looking back into the case of Arla Macleod and whether she was really culpable for the massacre which took place on that fateful evening.

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What I thought:

Wow – this just blew my mind!

I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this as I loved the first book, Six Stories, from Matt Wesolowski and this didn’t disappoint.  Just like it’s predecessor, Hydra is told from the point of view of six people which are set out as podcasts. In this novel however, the author adds in an audio file at the end of each podcast which allows the reader to slowly delve deeper into the chaotic mind of Arla Macleod, which only added to the creepy atmosphere.

One of the things I loved about this story is the way the reader was able to see the vulnerable side of Scott King , as he is faced with his own Troll who seems to be not only stalking him online, but manages to find out details about him so they could threaten him personally. This gave the novel another layer of suspense along with the massacre at the heart of the story.

This tale was just so chilling and at times very disturbing which touches on the supernatural, particularly with the appearance of the ‘black-eyed kids’ which I must say gave me the heebie-jeebies.

This was a cross between a crime story mixed with horror which tackled the stigma around mental illness, particularly amongst teenagers as well as religion and the lengths some parents would go for their staunched beliefs.

I won’t say anymore about how phenomenal this book is as I think everyone should read it themselves. But, I must admit I may have scared myself by reading this book late at night, by lamplight, and my did my mind play tricks on me – I would advise you not to do that as I kept imagining black eyes staring back at me. And whatever you do Don’t Let Them In!

This is an original, chilling, and disturbing novel which will keep you awake at night! If you haven’t read any of this series I would highly recommend you do so immediately.

About the Author:

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Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North.

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous magazines and US anthologies.

Wesolowski was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015 and his short crime story ‘Tulpa’ was subsequently published in the Northern Crime One’ anthology (Moth Publishing 2015). Matt’s debut novel Six Stories was published by Orenda Books in 2017, with the follow-up Hydra published in 2018.

To find out more about Matt Wesolowski follow him on twitter @ConcreteKraken.

Hydra is out now and can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my ARC and invite to the blog tour.

As always don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour!

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Blog Tour Review: The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

Today, I’m pleased to be hosting the next stop on the blog tour for The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana, published by Mantle.

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First up the Blurb:

When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.

Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?

With that question comes the revelation that her biggest fear isn’t discovering the worst; it’s never knowing the answer. But is it too late for Anna to uncover the truth about Gabriella’s disappearance?

My thoughts:

The Missing Girl is a tale of a family who fall apart after Gabriella Flores suddenly goes missing as a teenager. The story is narrated through the eyes of Anna, both in the present day who has come home to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s death, and in 1982 as an eleven-year old girl leading up to the event when her sister disappeared.

I loved loved loved this story.  This is not your usual psychological thriller but is so much more. It does centre around the mystery of a missing girl but also has a moving story at it’s heart; a family who collapses in on itself as a way to cope with the loss. I especially loved the narrative which is set in 1982 where Anna is an inquisitive eleven-year old who seeks approval from her big sister, and wants to be the centre of her world. But when Gabriella starts pulling away and her parents whisper behind locked doors, Anna finds herself increasingly isolated from her family for reasons she cannot understand. This is a moving story of not only Gabriella’s disappearance but of Anna’s lost childhood.

The novel itself is very evocative and beautifully written, as well as being full of pace. I found myself drawn deeper into the world of Anna, her family and her pain which had me turning the pages as I was desperate to know what happened to Gabriella for as much as Anna’s sake as my own.

In this novel, the author does a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a young girl who looks up to her older sister vying for approval, while trying to understand what is going on in the world around her, without ever truly knowing.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves a compelling mystery with an emotive story at it’s heart.

About the Author:

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Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire, before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens and has also written books for teaching English as a foreign language, alongside her fiction book The Missing Girl. She is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. She now lives with her family in Berkshire.

Big thanks to Annabelle Wright and Mantle for my ARC.

The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is out now, published by Mantle in hardback and priced at £14.99.

You can order The Missing Girl from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about Jenny Quintana follow her on Twitter at @jennyquintana95.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this blog tour!

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Chiller Review: Shame on You by Amy Henydenrych

51Oo4snyfiLBlurb:

You think you know her . . .
Meet Holly. Social media sensation. The face of clean eating. Everyone loves her. Everyone wants to be her.

Or do they?

When Holly is attacked by a man she’s only just met, her life starts to spiral out of control. Was she targeted because of her online wellness empire, or is there a darker reason behind the attack? He seemed to know her – but she doesn’t know him.

Or does she?

What if Holly isn’t who she seems to be? What if Holly’s living a lie?

But surely we all lie a bit online, don’t we . . .?

Meet Holly Evans, a cancer survivor and celebrity health food blogger who has a army of social media followers. One late afternoon, she meets a handsome, mysterious doctor in a Starbucks and agrees to go on a date with him. But the night ends in the worst way possible when she is attacked. Her attacker seems to know her, but does she know him?

Wow! I really enjoyed this novel which really showed the extent of which we are willing to share our daily lives online and exist in a virtual world to ‘bare’ our souls, as well as the damage this could have on others.

I knew this story would be an absolute corker as soon as I started it – the opening scene really captured my attention and hinted at the dark crime at the centre of this story.

The story is told from Holly’s point of view as she struggles to both rebuild her life and discover why she had been attacked, and her attacker Tyler. As the story unravels it is difficult to decide who I have more empathy for, which just shows the captivating way the author tells the story.

I liked the way this novel played on modern online culture, focusing on the pit-falls of how we portray ourselves online which could lead us open and vulnerable to attack, and the way in which nothing is a secret anymore.

The author creates a beautifully claustrophobic way of telling the story, which is very descriptive and fast-paced with two very distinctive point-of-view character’s. It is also very dark and chilling in places, which I of course loved, and took me as the reader in a very surprising direction.

This is a claustrophobic psychological thriller with a fast-paced, tightly woven plot with two characters slowly spiralling out of control – a brilliant recommended read!

About the author:

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Amy Heydenrych is a writer and book blogger based in South Africa. She has been shortlisted twice for the acclaimed Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship. Her short stories and poems have published in multiple anthologies including Brittle PaperThe Kalahari Review and the Short Sharp Stories anthologies. When she is not writing her own fiction, she ghost-writes books and columns for global tech and financial companies. She is currently working on her second novel.

Big thanks to Emily Burns at Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for my ARC.

You can order Shame On You on e-book from Amazon here or preorder the paperback here.

To find out more about Amy Heydenrych follow her on Twitter at @AmyHeydenrych.