~Blog Tour Ellen’s Review~ Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Hi all,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, and I get to share her review with you all!

About the book:

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After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Published by Orenda Books, click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

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Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Ellen’s Review:

 If you had told me before I started this book that I’d be rooting for the drug smuggling protagonist Sonia all the way through, I don’t think I would have believed you. They’re the root of all evil right? The heart of the problem? Yet in Snare, Lilja Sigurdardottir has achieved this. Sonia is such a rounded, likeable character and is doing what she does out of desperation and for the love of her son Tomas. That she has the drug smuggling down to such a fine art was fascinating to read; my heart was pounding every time that she went through customs yet her icy cool professionalism kept coming up trumps.
 
I also loved Bragi, the customs officer who observes Sonia’s frequent travels and begins to get suspicious of her actions. Another character trapped by his life and trying to make the best of things; close to retirement and with his beloved wife in a care home he is determined to solve this particular case. It’s very unusual for me to be rooting for both sides of the criminal fence to succeed in some way!!
 
If there was a person I wasn’t that enamoured of it would have to be Agla, Sonia’s love interest and her ex-husband’s colleague. She is being investigated for fraud following the Icelandic bank crash, on top of that she is struggling with her feelings for Sonia and even in denial about them. I found her to be selfish, spoilt and manipulative. Perhaps this will be resolved in the next book; will she overcome her personal demons?
 
All in all an enjoyable read and I was pleased to discover it is the first in a trilogy as I want to know what is next for everyone. This book would make a fantastic film/TV series and I love the cover. Go dip your toes in the icy waters of Nordic Noir – you won’t be disappointed!

 

Follow the blog tour:

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~Blog Tour Ellen’s Review~ The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith @GrahamSmith1972 @Bloodhoundbook

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s turn to take part in the blog tour for The Kindred Killers, and I’ll be sharing her review with you in a bit, but here’s the all-important bookish information first!

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About the book:

Jake Boulder’s help is requested by his best friend, Alfonse, when his cousin is crucified and burned alive along with his wife and children. As Boulder tries to track the heinous killer, a young woman is abducted. Soon her body is discovered and Boulder realises both murders have something unusual in common.

With virtually no leads for Boulder to follow, he strives to find a way to get a clue as to the killer’s identity. But is he hunting for one killer or more?

After a young couple are snatched in the middle of the night the case takes a brutal turn. When the FBI are invited to help with the case, Boulder finds himself warned off the investigation. When gruesome, and incendiary, footage from a mobile phone is sent to all the major US News outlets and the pressure to find those responsible for the crimes mounts. But with the authorities against him can Boulder catch the killer before it’s too late?

Get your copy HERE!

About the author:

A time served joiner Graham has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and now two books in the crime series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor/?fref=ts

https://www.grahamsmithauthor.com/

https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972?lang=en-gb

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491159376&sr=8-1

Ellen’s Review:

Watching the Bodies was one of my top reads of 2017 so I jumped at the chance to review the next in this new series from Graham Smith! It was fantastic to get reacquainted with Jake Boulder and his particular brand of law enforcement.

Jake is really pushed to the limits this time when he is involved in a spate of what appear to be hate crimes in his hometown. The first of these are close to home as the victims are relatives of Alfonse; Jake’s friend and sometime business partner. Now I’m a pretty hard-core reader when it comes to gruesome deaths and torture but even my stomach of steel rolled at some of the murder methods described. It was a difficult read in places but only highlighted what is sadly occurring in the world right now to some extent and I think we all need a dose of reality with our fiction to keep it current.

 

In The Kindred Killers we get a little more understanding of how Jake is made up thanks to his psychologist Dr Edwards; I loved their relationship and how Dr Edwards traded his insight on the case with Jake in return for answers on his personal issues. It was also nice to see Jake finally (possibly,maybe!?) settling down with someone, much to the chagrin of book bloggers around the world who hold him dear as their fictional love interest!

 

Although this is the second in the series it could be read as a standalone but why deny yourself the joy of Jake!? Five shiny stars from me and I look forward to the next!

Make sure to catch up with the blog tour:

BLOG TOUR (3)

Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson ~ Translated by Quentin Bates


*Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my review copy*

About the book:

Product Description

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

Published in ebook on September 15th by Orenda Books, you can get your copy by clicking the link below:

Whiteout (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jónasson

About the author:


Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 15 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

About the translator:

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Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England. He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as one novel (Gudlaugur Arason’s Bowline).

My thoughts:

I have been waiting (im)patiently for Whiteout ever since I finished reading Rupture. I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now how much of a big fan I am of this series. So you can imagine my absolute glee in getting to read Whiteout before publication 😊

In Whiteout, we are back with Ari Thór and Tómas, both of whom are tasked with investigating the circumstances in which a young woman ends up at the bottom of the cliffs at Kálfshamarvík. Only a couple of days before Christmas, the men must work quickly and effectively to try to find out what has happened and how the woman ended up dead.

Whiteout is a really well-written mystery. With a large cast of characters, it really makes the reader work hard to try to figure things out alongside Ari Thór. I love Ragnar Jónasson’s writing style. There is something almost poetic in the way he describes the Icelandic location. The stunning visual imagery is second to none in terms of creating a clear location in the reader’s mind.

The author has assembled a really interesting cast of characters for this one. There are many of them, all with their own secrets that they are holding close to their chest. I found myself suspecting everyone at one time or another, such is the unreliable nature of the narrative Jónasson has created in Whiteout.

There is a haunting element to Whiteout as well. The cliffs, the lighthouse and the old abandoned house almost seem to become characters as well due to how well the author describes them. This creates a sense of foreboding as the reader gets drawn more into the story. It is quietly chilling and there seems to be a sinister element in the background when they are investigating in and around Kálfshamarvík.

I don’t want to say any more because the joy of reading these books is often found in unravelling the mystery alongside Ari Thór. Whiteout is another superb instalment in the Dark Iceland series. It has left me wanting more, and has also made some questions arise. So Ragnar, if you’re reading this, you and I need to have a bit of a chat 😂

I cannot recommend this series, and this book highly enough. Always atmospheric, often chilling and with plenty to keep the reader turning the pages, Whiteout is definitely a book to add to your TBR. The whole series is though, to be honest. If you haven’t read them, then you really should get on it!

I could keep rattling on about how much I enjoyed Whiteout. And the whole series in general. But I would be here all day, and still not do justice to my fave Icelander and his awesome books.

So yeah, Whiteout is all kinds of brilliant. Great characters, a gripping plot and a hauntingly atmospheric location. Another book added to my all time favourites list.

Highly recommended.

All the stars, always.

#AriThór

 

Previous reviews:

Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson

Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson 

Blackout by Ragnar Jónasson 

Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson

Review~ Rubicon by Ian Patrick and Author Q&A!

About the book:

Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is a corrupt undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Published by Fahrenheit Press, you can get your copy here.

About the author:

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Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I spent many of my, younger, years travelling as my father was in the forces. My secondary education was in Nottingham where I scraped through the education system and left school at sixteen. After a short spell in the Civil Service I moved to London, aged nineteen, for a career in the Metropolitan Police. I spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. I had a varied career mainly investigating sexual offences within Operation Sapphire, child protection and, pro-active, paedophile investigations. I retired as a detective sergeant. I now live in rural Scotland with my family enjoying life by the beach!

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I’ve written for fun for over twenty years. A life in policing is a life of writing! I had never considered turning my hand to novel writing until a few years ago. Rubicon is my second book, I have another one down, but unsure whether it will see the light of day.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Life. I have seen so many sides to the human psyche that it became impossible for stories to cease arising in my head.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Raw. I seem to have found a voice that I enjoy writing in and wish to develop this as far as I can. I don’t dwell on unnecessary description. I know readers want concise language not words for words sake. As a reader it’s something I notice, so figured my writing would reflect that. I also like a book to keep me gripped. It’s my hope my writing will achieve this goal, but I will have to await the response from those reading it!

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

I have a love hate with social media. I have returned to Twitter after deleting an old account that just seemed to draw me in too much and detracted me from writing. This is a personal thing though. I tend to operate in extremes and need to find a middle way with it. I really enjoyed being back on Twitter for publication day and it’s great connecting with readers here. It has to help in drumming up publicity but I do believe in moderation and not ramming your book down people’s timeline every few tweets. That becomes tedious and unnecessary.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

 

I have been in public service since I was sixteen and see this as another branch of it. The best thing for me is that I can, hopefully, give people a break from everyday life and immerse them in a decent read. We all need space every now and then to just enter an alternative world.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

I haven’t found one yet! Being an author is a privilege and I feel very humbled to have the chance to be one.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 

Great question! One of my old DCI’s asked the same thing when I was accepted onto a child murder, investigative, team. I was always looking at the next way I could develop as a detective and I wish to see how much I can develop my writing over this time. It’s a major achievement to be taken on by Fahrenheit Press. If I can still be with this publisher in five years time then I’ve done very well as he doesn’t take on poor writing regardless of whether you’re an author with him or not.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’m working on the next Batford novel and at the editing stage of a first draft.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

You can’t write unless you voraciously read. I read a book a week and that’s voracious enough for me. I read across genres although I draw the line at romance! I love books that make you want to invest your time in connecting with the pages. If I don’t like a book I’ll stop reading it. I’m not one for carrying on in the hope it gets better. I love books by Cormac McCarthy, Ed McBain, Phillip K Dick and George Orwell. Sven Hassel was my favourite author as a youth. I read Epiphany Jones by Mike Grothaus, recently, and really enjoyed his writing.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy followed by Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

The Road. An incredible book that evokes fear, and anxiety, with every page. A superb example of human struggle and love. McCarthy defies convention in the way he writes. Be your own voice.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

I have a young family so they’re a priority. We have a springer spaniel that requires a significant amount of attention too! We live on the coast so walks are a joy.

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

 

I’m passionate about photography so indulge in this whenever I get the opportunity. I never leave the house without my camera; it’s become a part of me.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

I loved going to Bali. Such a beautiful place, and full of culture. I can recommend Scotland too.

 

Favourite food?

 

At the moment it’s the venison meatballs at The Clachan Inn in Dalry.

 

Favourite drink?

 

Coffee!

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I had to retire from policing due to a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. This is a rare, degenerative, disease that affects the muscles. Aside from mobility problems it comes with fatigue and pain that can mean a day in bed. At these times I found that if I didn’t have a decent book to read, the pain was worse. You’re focused on the pain and not distracted by words. I chose to write in the hope that my writing will provide some escape for those having a bad day and just want to escape into another world and spend some time there.

*Huge thanks to Ian for answering my questions! 🙂


My thoughts:

I don’t know where to start with this review to be honest. I’ve written and deleted it more than once. Not because I didn’t enjoy Rubicon, but because I couldn’t put the bloody book down once I started it, I was hooked!

Rubicon is quite a book. It is dark, gritty and packed with action. The main characters, Sam Batford and Klara Winter are like chalk and cheese, so I really enjoyed their brief interludes during the course of the story. Both after the same thing, but for wildly different reasons, their story arc was really fun to read!

Batford is an undercover officer, corrupt as you like, and not one bit sorry. This attitude translates really well into his story as it makes him almost a bit of a lad, in terms of his cockiness and general devil-may-care approach to certain things. He’s a bit of a renegade, let’s be honest, but he is also my favourite part of the story!

I really enjoyed reading Rubicon, not least because the author’s previous experience in this line of work really shines through, but also because it’s not my usual kind of crime read. I tend not to read these gangland-y (not a word, I know!) books but I am SO glad I got to read this little gem.

Ian Patrick has a great writing style. Short, pacy chapters mean you’re constantly turning the page to see what the hell Batford is going to do next, and because he’s a bit of an asshole, you know he’ll be up to no good. Can’t wait to see where the author takes us with his next one.

Highly recommended!

 

~Blog Tour Review~ Fateful Mornings by Tom Bouman

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Fateful Mornings by Tom Bouman and I get to share my review with you all!

About the book:

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In Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, Officer Henry Farrell’s life is getting complicated. Widowed and more traumatised than he cares to admit, he is caught up in an affair with a local woman, and with helping out his friend’s barn construction job – on which the clock is ticking. When a troubled old acquaintance of theirs becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend, it becomes increasingly clear that something seriously dark is at large in the woods that surround them.

Against this old and strange landscape – where silence rules – a fascinating and troubling case ensues, as Henry struggles for his very survival.

For fans of James Lee Burke and Cormac McCarthy, Tom Bouman is the new must-read author exploring the outer darkness of contemporary America.

Published by Faber and Faber and out now, click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

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Tom Bouman is a former book editor and musician who lives with his wife and daughter in northeastern Pennsylvania.

My thoughts:

Fateful Mornings is the first book I’ve read by Tom Bouman, but I’ve had Dry Bones in the Valley on my bookshelves since it came out, just waiting to be read. I’ll definitely be picking it up at some point having read this one.

In Fateful Mornings, we meet Officer Henry Farrell, the central character in these books. Struggling after the death of his wife, he is carrying out an illicit affair with a married woman. Along with this, there is trouble in Wild Thyme. When he is called on to investigate the disappearance of Penny, the girlfriend of an old acquaintance, things take a turn for the worse for Officer Farrell.

Situated on the edge of the woods, Penny’s home is on the precipice of a place where there is most definitely something sinister going on. When Farrell starts to nose around, he ends up finding more than he bargained for.

I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving anything away. Fateful Mornings is a slow and intricate book, with a great sense of location and a wide-ranging cast of characters. The author has an excellent eye for detail, and his prose is second to one. I read Fateful Mornings is a day as it was a compulsive and enveloping read.

Recommended!

Catch up with the blog tour:

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~Mini Review~ Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy*

About the book:

In a city divided and broken, this revelation will set it on fire…

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Little Boy Lost. Its short chapters make it very easy to speed through half the book without realising it. I am a fan of legal thrillers, and this one was no exception.

There is so much more going on with Little Boy Lost though. Racism, politics, bullying and murder can be found in this book, and the author handles every theme quite sensitively.

I found that at times the flow of the book felt a bit off, in that there was time skipped and I wondered what was missing, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Packed with great characters, and with some very current themes, it’s a very good read! 

Recommended!

The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy!*

About the book:

When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the murder site is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene meticulously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found.

Detective Mia Krüger is a woman on the edge – she has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.

But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team are unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.

Published in April 2017, click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Samuel Bjørk is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and has since written two highly acclaimed novels, released six albums, written five plays, and translated Shakespeare, all in his native Norway. Øien currently lives and works in Oslo.

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I had been waiting to read The Owl… since I turned the last page in I’m Travelling Alone as it was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Something about the authors writing really captured my attention with the first book, so I was really hoping that they would be able to do the same with the second in the series.

In The Owl… we’re back with Holger and Mia. When the body of a troubled teen runaway is found posed on a bed of feathers in the forest, Holger and Mia are called in to investigate the apparently ritualistic killing. What follows takes the whole team off down a very dangerous path.

In this book, Mia is very troubled. Still struggling with her demons after the events in book one, she throws herself into this case in a bid to get herself back on track. Burying herself in solving the case seems to be the only way Mia is able to expend all of her nervous energy. Thanks to this manic energy, she manages to spot vital clues throughout the investigation.

Holger is also having a bit of personal trouble in this one, yet he still manages to keep the investigation moving forward. His daughter, Miriam, also features prominently in The Owl… She has met an activist and seems to be veering away from her marriage towards something that she does’t understand. It turns out to be bigger than anyone could have anticipated.

The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a suspenseful and gripping slice of Scandinavian crime fiction. Packed with creepy and unusual ritualistic elements, with a very dark undertone, it is a crcking follow-up to I’m Travelling Alone.

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork