Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen, published by Orenda Books @OrendaBooks @annecater #GunnarStaalesen #review #blog

I was so lucky to receive an advance copy of Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen. A credible and dark page-turner with a relentless pace. Vivid, taut and evocative, this book had my pulse racing from start to finish.

Description:

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Vintage, classic Nordic Noir from international bestselling author Gunnar Staalesen.

Description: When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – the once-famous lead singer of 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship come to an abrupt end with a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

  • Paperback : 276 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1913193063
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1913193065
  • Publisher : Orenda Books (March 1, 2021)

PI Varg Veum reunites with a former friend Jakob at the funeral of Jan Petter in Bergen. The reunion brings back old memories of former classmates, some of whom have already died, but none, as it turns out, from old age.

Deciding to go for a pub crawl with their friend Paul Finckel, they reminisce about the past. There’s a melancholy mood to the opening chapters as if the ‘group’ are trying to reclaim their youth, trapped in an eddy of musical memories of The Harpers for which Veum was a roadie. They drink and carouse the night away, while ‘valleslette’ – sleet and biting winds and a few degrees above zero – sets the tone. Even though there is no life on the fjord there is always the Beetles…

Jakob asks Veum to search for his wife, Rebecca, a girl who grew up with Veum in Nordnes in the 60s. Thinking she may have run off with Johnny Solheim, Veum makes inquiries. But Johnny has a wife and claims he hasn’t seen Rebecca.

A few hours in another Sodom and Gomorrah type watering hole ‘where Caligula would have felt at home,’ Veum finds a heap of bad news outside. Holed up in a tight space and dreaming of the Rebecca he once knew, he is forced to answer a few questions. As another picture of an angel surfaces, Veum’s sharp instincts recognise the deaths may be connected. What did happened after the dissolution of the band? Someone is carrying around an awful secret and with Staalesen’s great sense of pacing, the reveal was phenomenal.

Fallen Angels is a remarkable example of its genre. The religious and psychological aspects bring deeper layers to the novel as told in powerful prose. It’s an elegant and complex thriller, meticulously laid out with a corkscrewing plot. The characters are well-drawn and mysterious, and the protagonist takes us on a wild ride with vivid scenes of Norway in December and its snowy, sleet-grey skies. There’s no doubt about it: Staalesen belongs on every crime fiction reader’s bookshelf.

My thanks to the publisher, Orenda Books, the author, Gunnar Staalesen and Anne Cater, blog tour organiser for the privilege of reading an advance copy of this book.

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Praise for Gunnar Staalesen

‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means “wolf ” in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin

‘The Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbø

‘Not many books hook you in the first chapter – this one did, and never let go!’ Mari Hannah

‘Staalesen continually reminds us he is one of the finest of Nordic novelists’ Financial Times

‘Chilling and perilous results — all told in a pleasingly dry style’ Sunday Times

‘Staalesen does a masterful job of exposing the worst of Norwegian society in this highly disturbing entry’ Publishers Weekly

‘The Varg Veum series is more concerned with character and motivation than spectacle, and it’s in the quieter scenes that the real drama lies’ Herald Scotland

‘Every inch the equal of his Nordic confreres Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo’ Independent

‘Mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland

‘One of the finest Nordic novelists – in the tradition of Henning Menkell’ Barry Forshaw, Independent

‘Masterful pacing’ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen published the first book in the Varg Veum series in 1977. He is now the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. 

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

Other Books by Gunnar Staalesen

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish @louise_candlish @simonschusterUK #blog #review #Thrillers #Mysteries

I was so excited to get a copy of The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish who has quickly become one of my favourite authors to date. I couldn’t believe anything after Our House could be quite as good, but this might have topped my 2020 reading list. It’s a corker of a book, wonderfully plotted, and a compulsive page-turner. I defy you to read anything better!

Book Description:

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF OUR HOUSE, WINNER OF THE CRIME & THRILLER BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD

The Other Passenger is just brilliant; gripping from the first page with an incredible first person narrative and a sense of place that pulls you through the pages fast enough to make your head spin. Louise Candlish just gets better and better, I love her’ Lisa Jewell, author of The Family Upstairs 

You’re feeling pretty smug about your commute to work by riverboat. No more traffic gridlock or getting stuck on the tube in tunnels (you’re claustrophobic). Now you’ve got fresh air, an iconic Thames view, a whole lifestyle upgrade. You’ve made new friends on board — led by your hedonistic young neighbour, Kit — and just had your first official ‘water rats’ get-together.

The day after the drinks, Kit isn’t on the morning boat. The river landmarks are all the same, but something’s off. When you disembark, the police are waiting. Kit’s wife, Melia, has reported him missing and another passenger saw you arguing on the last boat home after your drinks. Police say you had a reason to lash out at him. To threaten him.

You protest. You and Kit are friends — ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is pointing the finger? What do they know about your private lives?

No, whatever coincidences might have occurred last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.

Aren’t you?

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (25 Jun. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471183440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471183447

Advance Praise

Review

 

What a helter-skelter of a read! It doesn’t get twistier than this. It’s unusual to find such a deliciously well-plotted book with ‘real’ characters you actually care about. A book you can’t wait to dive into at the end of the day.

Jamie Buckby has been living with Clare for ten years rent free. His salary hardly compares to hers which creates its own set of problems from the start. After a dinner party with a younger couple, Kit and Melia, Jamie upgrades himself to a daily commute on the Thames riverboat. Probably a smart idea after his panic attack on a stifling and claustrophobic tube. Although the tube journey is familiar to me, taking a boat is something I’ve never done and the scenery and history of London buildings is beautifully illustrated.

Kit and Jamie hit it off from the start, although I found Kit’s flaky personality wearing at times. Certainly not off-putting but skilfully drawn to reveal his grating behaviour. When he disappeared, I was almost relieved. However, a disappearance requires a police investigation and Jamie is their number one man. He was the last person to have seen him and their parting was less than harmonious. With Clare playing a super-sleuth and Jamie digging himself deeper into a hole of his own making, the book keeps you hooked.

The story is told in dual timelines: Jamie’s interrogation later in the year with two detectives, and his initial meeting with Kit in January. It takes us on a capricious journey interspersed with so many misleading and cleverly disjointed paths, it left me breathless. Jamie is likeable, although easily-led, and I wasn’t surprised by his change of direction. The curiously seductive Melia has a turbulent relationship with Kit, although I found her the most interesting of them all. The police interviews, which confirm a high level of research for a book such as this, peel away the layers of an intricate plot. But in spite of everything, the gold nugget at the centre continues to evade us.

The ending was utterly shocking, and I have to say this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you like your books shaken and thoroughly stirred, with a twist of acerbic wit, then this is the book for you. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC, and to Netgalley and the author for an intense and dazzling read!

About the Author

Louise CandlishWINNER of British Book Awards 2019 Book of the Year – Crime & Thriller for OUR HOUSE

Hello and welcome! I am the author of thirteen novels, a fact I can’t quite believe myself. My thriller OUR HOUSE has sold over 200,000 copies in the UK and won the 2019 British Book Awards Book of the Year – Crime & Thriller. It was shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2019, the Capital Crime Amazon Publishing Best Crime Novel of the Year Award​ 2019, and the Audible Sounds of Crime Award 2019, and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018. A #1 bestseller in paperback, ebook and audiobook, it is now in development for a major TV series with Red Planet Pictures, makers of ‘Death in Paradise’.

THOSE PEOPLE, about the neighbours from hell, is also out now and is described by the Guardian as being ‘guaranteed to have you vibrating with impotent fury’. It recently reached #2 on the Sunday Times bestseller list and has also been optioned for TV.

Both books have been labelled ‘property noir’, ‘property porn lit’ and ‘crib lit’, but I prefer ‘suburban noir’ because it has that mood of longing, of broken dreams, that I love so much (but don’t let that put you off…)

I live in a South London neighbourhood not unlike the one in my books, with my husband, teenage daughter, cat and a fox-red Labrador puppy called Bertie.

Get up-to-date offers by clicking on the yellow ‘Follow’ button under my pic. For more bits and pieces, catch me on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at louisecandlish.com or facebook.com/LouiseCandlishAuthor. I’d love to hear from you.

Author photos ©Jonny Ring; ©Joe Lord/Archant

Other books by Louise Candlish

Louise Candlish

DEAD WRONG by Noelle Holton @KillerReads @HarperCollins #bookreview #vigilantejustice #crime

WOW! Another fabulous read from Noelle Holten. Dead Wrong is the second book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, a firecracker of a read and a solid page-turner.

Book Description:

Dead Wrong: A completely addictive and gripping serial killer thriller (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 2) by [Holten, Noelle]The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

Book Links:

  British flag UK here  US flag  US here

Publisher: One More Chapter (March 14, 2020)

Publication Date: March 14, 2020

Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

Review

In this second installment, the series starts with DC Maggie Jamieson’s new case involving a serial killer who has a penchant for drugging his victims and using dismemberment as a means to clean up his crime scene. Nicknamed “The Chopper,” his MO is strikingly similar to that of The Raven, someone Jamieson put behind bars a long time ago. But when another victim is found bearing his unforgettable hallmark, she doesn’t understand how he could be responsible.

There is so much wisdom in Holten’s writing. Her 18 years as a probation officer provide a good understanding of procedure and buffs up every twist and cliff hanger available. You feel as if you’re right there with Maggie and her team as she painstakingly pores through evidence, while The Raven, a monster and sadist, is appealing to be set free. You can’t help questioning whether Jamieson did, in fact, put away the right man. There are times when my brain started to work overtime, convinced that something wasn’t right. Who really is the master manipulator and who did commit these recent crimes?

Jamieson isn’t typecast. You can’t categorize her as a run-of-the-mill of crime fighter. She’s an independent, roll up your sleeves and get on with it type, even though there are small cracks in her armour. She is determined to crack a crime no matter what it takes, and with little home life to speak of, she is freer than most to achieve that goal. This characteristic is more common than people think for those working areas of justice and law enforcement. It require long hours and very little sleep, not something that pairs well with raising small children and nurturing a relationship. Without all that to clutter up the narrative, I found no distractions in the plot that other books of this type tend to use as fillers. Holten’s research and experience have given credence to the plot, giving the book the added depth most readers crave.

The support team working with Jamieson were invaluable. A special nod to Bethany, DI Rutherford, and DS Nathan. Although The Raven played Jamieson up to the bitter end, I was hoping with every page I turned that she’d have him in an arm-lock in the nick of time. Kudos to Holten for writing such convincing characters who don’t deviate from their distinctive and arresting personalities. (No pun intended.)

Overall tension is further enhanced by assertive writing, well-plotted twists and a few red herrings along the way. The ending will leaving you gasping for the next book.

Many thanks to the publisher, @KillerReads @HarperCollins and to Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. And thank you to @BOTBSPublicity for letting me be part of this fabulous Blog Tour.

About the Author:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK, an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:
Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/
Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

Other books by Noelle Holten

Noelle Holten

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb, published by Orenda Books #review #blog @OrendaBooks @crimethrillgirl, @Netgalley @AnneCater

WOW! Another white-knuckle read from this author. Unique premise, fast-paced, and easy-to-read makes this a fabulously memorable book. I finished it in one sitting. Sunday has always been my reading day, but today I was too engrossed to cook lunch! Sorry family.

Book Description:

Deep Dark Night (Lori Anderson Series Book 4) by [Broadribb, Steph]The fourth book in the award-winning Lori Anderson series, Deep Dark Night sees daring bounty hunter and single mother Lori Anderson journey from Florida to Chicago to take down a notorious crime family. Published to coincide with International Women’s Month, it will see the full series rebranded a fresh, contemporary new look.

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe,

Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the

Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with

Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary

blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

Links: US flag US here  British flag  UK here

Print Length: 320 pages

Publisher: Orenda Books (January 5, 2020)

Publication Date: January 12, 2020

Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC

ASIN: B07XW8SQL3

Review

Bounty-hunter and fierce in her pursuit of justice, Lori Anderson is no quitter. With her ‘use whatever you’ve got to get the job done’ attitude, she’s ready to play the game. With the Mob on one hand and the FBI on the other, it’s a very uncomfortable squeeze for Lori. She must survive, no matter what. But the assignment Munroe wants her to do is nothing short of frightening, and ramped-up by impossible odds.  Similar to the other books in the series, wiping the slate clean is all that Lori craves. If she fails, she loses Dakota and JT. I liked Lori instantly. Tough and resilient, she must think quickly on her feet. Improvising seems to be her gift. She’s definitely one to champion.

This time, a priceless chess set and a few tough opponents causes the adrenaline to run high. Lori must learn to play a high stakes game, but does she have enough time to prepare? What if Cabressa doesn’t fall for the plan? These were my questions as I read on. Lori’s best chance to keep Monroe off her back is to give him a watertight case against Cabressa. If she does exactly what he asks, then she’s free to live the life she’s always wanted to live. With her daughter and her man. What lady doesn’t have a few tricks of her own? Lori isn’t about to be cheated, after all, if things go south, she needs a fool-proof plan, even if it means withholding one tiny piece of it. With her type of street smarts, things could still get tricky.

Once past the security check, the penthouse is a quiet, intimate space, perfect for a small group. But as the game progresses, Lori is up against her worst fears. Having only played a few games prior to this, I’m amazed she can take on some experienced and hardened opponents. As the game draws closer to its end, Cabressa decides to up the stakes. A two week-old Rolls Royce worth over eight hundred grand for Lori’s chess pieces. The problem is, Lori has made an incomplete bet, and not only that, the whole of Chicago is suddenly engulfed in darkness. Nothing is going to plan and this is where the story takes a menacing turn. I’m not sure I’ve read a locked-room mystery quite like it. 10 people with loaded secrets and only one of them has a carefully guarded identity. It’s a guessing game that has tempers rising to record heights. But if they are to deactivate the lockdown protocols, someone had better guess right. When they do, there may be a price to pay.

I didn’t expect this author to allow her characters to have a clean run. But what I hadn’t expected was the level of skill she demonstrates with her plots. Taken from Lori’s point of view and written in first person, it’s easy to get into her head and understand what she’s going through. I don’t know how else to describe Lori except to say she’s genuine and extraordinary. I was very impressed at how Broadribb etched this character into my mind, so much so, it was hard to let her go after the last chapter.

It’s a definite five stars from me! I want to thank @crimethrillgirl, @OrendaBooks, @Netgalley and @AnneCater for an advance copy of this book and for inviting me to take part on this blog tour.

About the Author

Steph Broadribb Author Pic (2)

Steph Broadribb

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com

Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

Other books by Steph Broadribb

Steph Broadribb all books

Other links:

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Deep Dark Night BT Poster (2)

When Stars Will Shine: Helping Our Heroes One Page At A Time by Emma Mitchell (Editor) and Authors Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Louise Jensen, Alex Kane, Robert Scragg, Lucy Cameron, Mark Brownless #blog #Christmas @emmamitchellfpr

It is my absolute honour and pleasure to blog about this amazing book. Brought to us by freelance editor Emma Mitchell – and a whole host of fabulous authors – When Stars Will Shine is a must read at any time of year. Authentic detail and heart stopping narrative grips you from the outset, bringing stories from a host of bestselling authors at the top of their genres. A book for everyone and a solid five star read!

Amazon reviewers are quoted as saying:

The writing standard is superb and all the different styles and ‘ways’ seem to fit perfectly and flow even though all are different. Book Mark (Top 500 Reviewer)

Would I recommend this read? You bet your Christmas baubles I would! When Stars Will Shine is an anthology packed with twists, emotions and compelling tales to keep readers turning the pages – all the chills and Christmassy thrills to hook you in! Highly recommended!’  Noelle@Crimebookjunkie

What a truly AMAZING collection of stories. Welcome to When Stars Will Shine! 

Book Description

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist. 

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time. 

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!

 

When Stars Will Shine

Links:  US flag US here  British flag UK here

Print Length: 346 pages

Publication Date: December 9, 2019

Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC

Contributing Authors:

(Story descriptions taken from author Kerry Parson’s Amazon Review)

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman
Heart-wrenching and heart-warming.

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg
A very clever tale of revenge.

A Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff
Actually gave me goosebumps!

Believe by Mark Brownless
Creepy! I did not see that coming.

What Can Possibly Go Wrong? By Lucy Cameron
Quite amusing!

Mountain Dew by Paul T Campbell
Gave me goosebumps!

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson
A chilling mystery with a touch of romance.

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton
Heart-warming. Sometimes the kindest people are those who don’t have much themselves.

Free Time by Stewart Giles
Hard hitting. A split-second decision with devastating consequences.

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake
A very powerful and emotional story, beautifully written.

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jenson
Made my blood run cold!

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane
Terrifying!

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp
So sad, but full of hope.

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin
Heart-warming and heart-breaking.

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore
Spine tingling!

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen
Captivating and thought provoking with a heart-breaking conclusion.

Pivotal Moments by Anna Osborne
So, so sad. I can’t imagine feeling so helpless, but there is always something, or someone, worth living for.

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli
Just beautiful!

Time for a Barbecue by Carmen Radtke
Oooo, creepy!

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees
Lovely!

Inside Out by KA Richardson
So sad to think how much some people suffer from past traumas. This story is full of hope for a brighter future though and proof that just one person can make all the difference.

Penance by Jane Risdon
Oh my! Not what I was expecting at all. Very cleverly written,

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg
Another thought provoking tale and an important message to us all.

Family Time by Graham Smith
A tale of sacrifice and truly being the bigger person. Beautifully written!

What people are saying:


‘WOW! When Stars Will Shine is an anthology packed with twists, emotions and chilling tales to keep readers turning the pages – all the chills and Christmassy thrills to hook you in! Highly recommended!’ Noelle Holten, author of the DC Maggie Jamieson series.

‘I intended to only pick out a few of the stories to read, but once I picked it up I read one, and then another, and then another……and before I knew it I had read the whole book!’ Lorraine Rugman, The Book Review Cafe

‘When Stars Will Shine is a wonderful collection of short stories that are very readable. I have to be honest I didn’t think I would enjoy them as I’m more a romance reader but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each one I’ve read and I’m looking forward to continuing with the rest.’ Adele Blair, Kraftireader

‘If you are looking for a great collection of stories that will not only shock, cheer, chill and entertain, but give you that warm glow that comes from knowing you’ve helped a really worthy cause, this is the book for you.’ Jen Lucas, Jen Med’s Book Reviews

‘Frederick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman was a really touching story especially when you realise that it is actually about members of his family. It’s not always easy to convey everything you want to in a short story but this one was very well written and effective.’ Mandie Griffiths, Jen Med’s Book Reviews

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

Photograph Provided by Telegraph & Argus – See article here

As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

Where to buy the book

When Stars Will Shine is available to in digital and paperback formats and on Kindle Unlimited.

For more information, please contact Emma Mitchell: emmamitchellfpr@gmail.com

 

 

A Window Breaks by C.M. Ewan published by @panmacmillan #NetGalley @chrisewan #blog #review

I was absolutely thrilled to receive an advanced copy of A Window Breaks via Netgalley. It’s a fabulous read and one I would recommend to readers who enjoy fast-paced, high-octane thrillers that take you out of your armchair to a remote retreat in Scotland. It’s one of those books where you forget time, and you hope the family will survive before you bust another gut! I haven’t read any books by Chris Ewan before but this will be the first of many.

Hurry on over to Amazon. The kindle version is available here!

Book Description:

In C. M. Ewan’s thrilling novel A Window Breaks, can a family survive being targeted for death at a remote Scottish hideaway? Perfect for fans of T. M. Logan’s Lies and Mark Edwards’ The Retreat.

You are asleep. A noise wakes you.
You stir, unsure why.
You turn to your wife. Then you hear it.
Glass. Crunching underfoot.
Your worst fears are about to be realized.
Someone is inside your house.
Your choices are limited.
You can stay and fight. Or run.
What would you do?

 

 

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Pan; Main Market edition (February 20, 2020)

Links: US flag  US here  British flag  UK here

Review

Tom, a high powered lawyer, and his wife Rachel are separated. After losing their son in a car crash — a joyride which resulted in killing his passenger and their daughter being mugged at a gala event — their relationship, or lack of, is on a downward spiral. Rachel is well written as the grieving partner, and her stress evident by her mannerisms and behavior. The writing is impeccable, a style I really enjoy. Poetic descriptions which are not labored, but scattered throughout the prose to put you at every scene. All senses are catered for!

The upside of Tom’s day is an offer from Lionel he cannot refuse. Some time to build bridges at his secret retreat in Scotland. But the idyllic surroundings aren’t as idyllic as Tom had hoped. If a home invasion isn’t threatening enough, the internal struggles he senses even from the start reveal a much greater turmoil along with its terrible secrets. Tom must protect his family at all costs. I kept wondering if he was up for the challenge and whether he would win the love of his wife once more. But her attentions seem elsewhere. Small hints sprinkled along the way tell us all is not well with each individual, and perhaps someone knows more than they are telling. You hope at the halfway point that this book will be an emotionally resonant story of loss, grief, and renewal.

Sharply written with twists and turns, this story hurtles along at breakneck speed. The only nitpicks I had were the grief over Michael’s death wasn’t as deep for Tom as they could have been, at least it appeared that way. Maybe the extra layers shown in Rachel’s grief were sufficient and skillfully contrasted with those of Tom’s. He must keep a level head as the past trauma continues to shape his decision-making. His flashbacks about Michael’s death although vital, were distracting at times. It’s important to hear Tom’s internal monologue and show what may have happened in Michael’s last moments. But a divider to separate the time frames would have been an easier read. I felt it jumped around too much and I had to go back to read a few paragraphs to reorient myself. Some of the more dramatic scenes were slightly long-winded, but because of the pacing, you really can’t get there quick enough.

It’s a brilliant story and one I would recommend in any book club. An acutely observed family drama with bone-chilling suspense. Hard to put down and something you’ll enjoy diving back into at the end of the day. The personalities of each individual are so well drawn, you might think you’ve guessed the ending. But think again. CM Ewan has a knack of teasing out his twisty plot at just the right pace, leaving you on the edge of your seat.

This is definitely an author to watch!

Thank you Netgalley, the author and the publisher for allowing me an advanced copy of this book to review.

What others are saying:

Praise for A Window Breaks

Fantastic‘ – Lee Child

Totally addictive‘ – Ann Cleeves

‘A thrill a minute page-turner’ – Simon Kernick

‘If you only read one thriller this year read this‘ – C. L. Taylor

‘Smashed my way through this . . . nerve-shredding‘ – Tim Weaver

‘Brilliantly crafted, excruciatingly tense‘ – Sharon Bolton

About the Author:

Chris Ewan is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of many mystery and thriller novels. His work has been called “truly compelling” (Daily Express), “chilling and thoroughly enjoyable” (Observer) and “outstanding” (US Publishers Weekly), and his books have been hailed as “popular fiction at its best” (The Spectator) and “crime writing at its best” (Sydney Morning Herald). Writing as C.M. Ewan, his latest thriller is A WINDOW BREAKS.

He is also the author of THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO … series of mystery novels. THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM won the Long Barn Books First Novel Award and is published in thirteen countries. The complete series comprises THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO PARIS, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VEGAS, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VENICE and THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO BERLIN.

Chris’s first standalone thriller, SAFE HOUSE, was a number one bestseller in the UK and was shortlisted for The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. He is also the author of the thrillers DEAD LINE, DARK TIDES and LONG TIME LOST, and the Kindle Single short story, SCARLETT POINT.

Born in Taunton in 1976, Chris graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in American Studies with a minor in Canadian Literature, and later trained as a lawyer. After eleven years living on the Isle of Man, he recently returned home to Somerset with his wife and two children, where he writes full time.

Sign up to the Chris Ewan newsletter for regular updates, advance information about new books, competitions, giveaways and more. Receive your FREE copy of THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO MURDER when you join today! Here.

Other books by C.M. Ewan

Chris Ewan

Website: https://chrisewan.com/

Freya 800AD: Viking era by Jean Mead @jeanmeadauthor #review #blogger #historical #mystery

I am so excited to be featuring a book I absolutely love. Not only is the cover one of the best I’ve seen in this genre, but the deep layers of research and the history of the time make it a must-read for all historical mystery lovers.  If you enjoy Viking war heroes, this book will provide a window into the harsh Nordic winters and a remarkable woman called Freya. Be sure to check out More Exciting News after my review.

Book description

Freya 800AD: Viking era by [Mead, Jean]Viking Era Fiction – Freya Sigvat lived more than a thousand years ago at the beginning of the Viking raids on Britain. When her husband, and the men of the settlement, sail across the Norse Sea to wreak havoc on Britain, Freya is left to manage the almost deserted settlement. Knut, a man of the mountains with a warped and cruel mind crosses the threshold of her family longhouse with devastating consequences. In a cruel twist of fate, Freya is forced to desert those she loves to live in isolation. Surviving through a long dark winter with wolves and bears roaming the frozen wilderness. This is the story of a remarkable woman, her heroism and terrifying adventure. The drama of a family feud, romance, secrets and eventual betrayal.

Book Links: US flag US here  British flag UK here

Print Length: 267 pages

Publisher: Novel Publishing (October 6, 2014)

Publication Date: October 6, 2014

ASIN: B00O8VCKQO

Thriller & Suspense Action Fiction

Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction

Action Thriller Fiction

Review

Freya Sigvat lies awake in the longhouse dreading the coming day. The thought of her husband leaving for the wide open sea in his precious longboat is breaking her heart. Perhaps the next time she hears his voice will be in her head. Mead takes her readers back to the time of the Vikings, a time of hardship and restrained emotions, a time of war and heroes, where tenderness doesn’t belong. It’s easy to conjure scenes of ‘dark crests rising out of thin mists’ – slopes a myriad of greys, lilacs and blues and a dark peppering of oak and pine trees. You can even smell the smoldering moss of the fire and the honeyed mead.

Old Unnur has the ears of the gods and she can see into the future. With a good cup of mead she’s a hearty companion with a sharp mind full of memories. But Freya’s mind is hardly on the mead or the warmth of the fire. She thinks of Olaf, feels the pull of his spirit, whilst Olaf’s mind is on battle, his sword high over his head in the excitement of it all. My senses warn me his return will be anything but ordinary. Will these men conquer those far off lands? What plunder will they bring back?

Each chapter is laced with intrigue and when one danger is past, another slams full force into the community. There is no doubt this book has been well researched. It is poetically written, movie-worthy and one that will take you on an exciting journey providing a marvelous window into Norske society.

What people are saying:

Beautifully mastered historical fiction. I definitely recommend this book to all those who like historical fiction or can’t seem to get enough of Vikings!  – J.M. Northrup

A step back in time. Another compelling book by Jean Mead as she takes us back in time to life in a bygone age.  – Rosalie Marsh

If you want to know how life was in those times, look no further than this story of Freya. – Gunnardottir

A viking heroine! When I finished reading, I found the characters still inhabiting my imagination.  – Mary Rose

The characters are rich and complex, especially Freya. I was drawn into their lives and hungry for more. – Andrew Ternay

Jean Mead has researched thoroughly to create a novel that takes its reader to Ninth Century Norway – to a world of longhouses, sleeping benches, and Pictish hordes. – Amazon Reviewer

A gritty drama. With the ships movements I could easily have been onboard. – Amazon Reviewer

More exciting news!

Jean Mead has a new book coming out on 8th December with pre-order available mid November. You’ll find the blurb below on the back of this beautiful book jacket. Mark your calendars and reserve space on your book shelves, coffee tables and kindles. You won’t want to miss this one!

About the Author:

Jean MeadJean Mead was born in Warwickshire in England. Moved to Staffordshire at the age of seven and attended the Howard school in Elford. Later moved to a school in Tamworth. The family moved back to Warwickshire and at the age of thirteen Jean attended Sharmans Cross High for Girls.

Writing was always a favourite occupation. Many dozen of short stories were published in magazines in the UK, America, Ireland and Australia.

The Other Famous Five, a novel for children was her first book to be published. A contemporary novel written under another name followed. Eventually The Widow Makers and The Widow Makers:Strife were published.

Freya 800 AD is the latest book. This is the story of a woman living more than a thousand years ago at the beginning of the Viking raids on Britain.

A contemporary novel No Goodbye will be in bookshops early 2013.

Jean is now completing the 3rd book in the historical trilogy, The Widow Makers:Road’s End.

More books by Jean Mead:

jean meads books

 

Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir @OrendaBooks #review #blog #crime #thriller

Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir is a crime thriller, published by Orenda Books. With a quote by Val McDermid, I knew I was in for a treat! Told in multiple points of view, it’s an easy read with complex underpinnings that give the book that extra oomph!

About the book

Cage book coverDrugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue in Iceland rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy…

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.

Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home. At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.

With a shocking crescendo, the lives of these characters collide, as drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy. 

Book details:

Series: Reykjavik Noir trilogy

Paperback: 276 pages

Publisher: Orenda Books; None edition (April 1, 2020)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1912374498

ISBN-13: 978-1912374496

Book links:  British flag UK here  US flag  US here

 

Review

Agla is restless and sitting out a sentence for financial crimes. Unable to get over why her girlfriend Sonja left her, life on the inside offers plenty of distractions. An Islandic smelter scheme for one. With Maria nosing around on the outside, Agla soon realises she gets the information she’s looking for and Maria gets one hell of a scoop.

Agla comes across as brusque and rigid. With her history in an unforgiving financial environment, you can’t expect her to be anything else. Her kindness to pill-popping Elísa builds as the relationship deepens but life outside comes at a cost. Breaching probation conditions for one.

María Gunnhildur Jónudóttir, who was a former investigator at the special prosecutor’s office where Agla Margeirsdóttir had been a person of interest, now runs an online news outlet. But when she goes to see Agla in prison to ask about her links to Ingimar Magnússon and William Tedd — the Paris-based markets guru — she is denied visitation. But she doesn’t have to wait long. With the tenacity of a bloodhound, she is determined to get to the bottom of a conspiracy where a few greedy men could push their profit margins through the roof. But this settling of scores is detrimental.

Ingimar Magnússon, closely connected to Iceland’s business and politics, likes to play dangerous games. With a natural cold, ruthless streak, he’s rather good at it. He’s also good at infringing international regulations while staying just within the legal limits. Dirty tricks, blackmail and willing to hold a gun at anyone who stands in his way, this is a man you’d want Agla and María to steer well clear of.

And then we have Anton, a creative and dynamic individual, who has a project simmering in the cellar. Too much listening to Radio Edda makes him feel it’s time for action.  If he takes matters into his own hands, his plan could blow a hole in the stratosphere. But will such a rash decision be a hit with his beloved Júlía? I have to say I was floored by the outcome.

Including Sonja, all of these people are in a cage of their own making, and each with their own axe to grind. The chapters are compact and the pace, even when weaving from character to character, is rapid and full of intrigue. You can’t get enough. It’s one of those books that if you have to put down, you’ll still have each scene fresh in your mind, frantic to know what happens next. When all stories converge, it’s a thrill to learn who belongs where and how their lives might or might not be intertwined. About three quarters of the way through, I guessed a small portion of how the ending might play out. But certainly not all.

All in all, I gave it five big fat stars. The story-line shifted effortlessly between each point of view and spun a complex tale of murder, revenge and betrayal. Flawlessly paced and painfully gripping.

Bonuses:

A map: Found in the front matter to show us the region and setting. Major plus!

Book cover: One that will definitely stand out on bookshelves.

Writing style: Relaxed and comfortable, with visceral descriptions.

About the Author

lilja+webphoto+2+f+liljawriter.jpgIcelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir is an award-winning playwright who has written four crime novels. The previous titles in the Reykjavik Noir series are Snare and Trap, which was a Guardian Book of the Year. The film rights for the series have been bought by Palomar Pictures. Quentin Bates is the author of a series of Icelandic crime novels that include Frozen Assets and Cold Comfort. He has translated all of Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.

More books by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Lilja Sigurdardottir

Webpage

Amazon 

Queen of the Warrior Bees by Jean Gill @The13thSign #bookreview #newrelease #teen #YA #magicalrealism

From multi-talented, award-winning author Jean Gill, author of The Troubadours Quartet, comes Queen of the Warrior Bees. Book 1 in the Natural Forces Series, is a Number 1 New Release on Amazon in  Teen & Young Adult Environmental Conservation & Protection eBooks. Hardly surprising when you see not only a heart-stopping cover, but the quality of the writing itself. One of those books I couldn’t wait to read, below is my review and book description:

Description:

Queen of the Warrior Bees: One misfit girl and 50,000 bees (Natural Forces Book 1) by [Gill, Jean]Epic eco-fantasy from the award-winning author of The Troubadours Quartet 
One misfit girl and 50,000 bees. Together they must change the world. As the Mages of the Citadel fight amongst themselves and prepare for war against the Forest, Mielitta, a despised servant, has her own battle to face. Bastien and Jannlou, the boys who terrorised her as a child, have grown into their status as Mages and she cannot escape them forever.

In desperation, she flees to the forbidden Forest and its dangerous attractions. Her scent angers thousands of bees and, although she survives their attack, she has changed. A strange bee symbol glows on her thigh and her senses are altered. She learns that her connection with bees enables her to summon their aid and gives her the power to shift shape.

This new-found bond works both ways and the bees need Mielitta’s help as the rift widens between Forest and Citadel. Can one girl and a colony of bees reunite Man and Nature, or is the split irreversible?

Block Nature out and she’ll force a way in. 

Print Length: 308 pages

Publisher: The 13th Sign (June 7, 2019)

Publication Date: June 7, 2019

Links: US  US flag  here     UK  British flag  here

 

Review

There are so many things to love about this book. Bees, a warrior girl and the fight for survival.  The premise is unique and sure to summon a wide audience of fantasy and conservationists alike. Written by an author I have followed for her historical Fiction Troubadour series, I thought I’d give this new genre a whirl. I particularly enjoyed the sensitive and thoughtful dedication to another great author with a love of forests.

Written in the author’s distinctive voice, I was drawn right in from the start. It’s not hard to see why this book has so many good reviews and has stayed at #3 in its category since publishing. With a few hives of her own, Gill is definitely qualified to write it.

Right from the beginning, Mielitta is out of the ordinary, looked upon like ‘a specimen in a school study’. A foundling, her upbringing is not as clear-cut as the other children in the Citadel—a place of privilege and excess—and she is destined to be rejected and despised. I was already hooked to her plight and wanted to know how she could duck and dive from the clutches of Jannlou and Bastien, (apprentice mages raised to those positions because of their fathers) and how, if ever, she could fight back. Tormented and victimized, she is forced outside the Citadel to the forbidden Forest — a place no one speaks of.

When stung by a swarm of bees, a startling and rather exciting metamorphosis begins. Equipped with a hive mind, her weaknesses soon become her strengths. She’s no longer alone, no longer an outcast, but she must learn new skills if she is to overcome the muscle of the mages. Terrific world-building, underpinned with political intrigue, there is so much at stake for this feisty heroine who seeks the help of those who need help themselves.

There are so many clever observations, (too many to name) but one did stick out: ‘The bees puzzled over the concept of overcrowding and gave up on it as bizarrely human.’ Fresh and ingenious descriptions of the forest and the creatures themselves are ones you won’t forget. A veritable feast of colour and phosphorescence, like tiny little glow sticks in the night.

Gill’s characters are always robust with great mental discipline and dreams of accomplishing the impossible. The first instalment leaves a few tantalizing questions for readers to be desperate for the next book. I know I am.

Thank you to the author, Jean Gill and the publisher, The 13th Sign, for an advanced copy of this fabulous book.

About the Author

Jean GillJean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour’, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.

Sign up to Jean’s special readers’ group at http://www.jeangill.com for exclusive news, offers and a free book. If you review one of Jean’s books you can add a dog to Jean’s Readers Dogs Hall of Fame on her website jeangill com where you can contact her – she loves to hear from readers.

Other books by Jean Gill:

Jean Gill Books

 

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware @PutnamBooks @Penguin @simonschuster @RuthWareWriter

I’m always excited when a great author comes out with a new book. I’ve been a Ruth Ware fan for several years now and love the crisp, clean prose and unique plots. The tension and intrigue is unlike other books in this genre and a book that’s bound to keep you flipping the pages well past bedtime.

Book Description:

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s fourth novel, “her best yet” (Library Journal, starred review).

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by [Ware, Ruth]On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

 

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (May 29, 2018)
  • Publication Date: May 29, 2018
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Book links:  US here    UK here

Review

I’ve enjoyed several of Ruth Ware’s books and decided to give this one a whirl. I liked Hal from the very beginning because she’s a realistic character trying to make ends meet. Living in the cold and damp with hardly a penny to rub together, you find yourself inside Hal’s world, running away from a crooked money lender. It’s hardly surprising then that when she receives a letter that may be the answer to prayer, she chooses the only way out. But there is a slight hitch and you’re never entirely sure whether she can pull it off. The funeral, the family and the old house are full of lies and secrets that are sure to turn her world upside down.

I agree Ware’s novels are somewhat Christie-esque. Everybody is a suspect and the books carry that British cozy mystery mood despite the modern setting. The prose is straightforward with a focus on plot and dialogue and where hints and suspicions are assembled from conversations and plot twists. Every character abounds with secrets and resentments so you’re never quite sure who’s done what. The protagonist, in this case Hal, stumbles into an adventure where she must solve a crime putting many of Ware’s books into the super sleuth category: One I absolutely love.

We see a large house, a little worse for wear, and a housekeeper and family reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. The pace, in parts, is wild and unwavering, and I couldn’t help feeling as if I was inside the brooding house—another character in the book with its stairs and attic room—but also inside Hal’s anxious and curious mind. Why is she given such a claustrophobic room? Why is it so cold and dark? The effect is almost palpable and I could feel goose bumps near the end when the snow is falling and there is no way out but back. But where Christie’s characters often get picked off one by one, in The Murder of Mrs. Westaway, Ware’s characters disperse and return to their normal lives, leaving Hal to the mercy of the lake and the boathouse where it all began.

If you haven’t sampled any Ruth Ware, I would start with Woman in Cabin 10 to get a ‘feel’ for fine writing and unique plots. All her books are strong and surefooted with tons of thrills along the way. Crime novel and psychological suspense fans will love this creepy puzzler of a mystery. Five fat stars for another marvellous read.

About the Author

Ruth WareRuth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs Westaway have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times, and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family.

Visit http://www.ruthware.com to find out more, or find her on facebook or twitter as @RuthWareWriter

Other books by Ruth Ware: Order here

Ruth Ware books