~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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~COVER REVEAL~ Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

OMG YOU GUYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYS!!!!! Have I got an awesome cover reveal for you today 🙂

With thanks of course, to the publishing powerhouse that is Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for trusting me with this beaut!

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Not only have I got a cover reveal for you all, but I have a GIVEWAY too! Matt has got ONE ticket for his event at BLOODY SCOTLAND to give to one lucky person. More details on that at the end of the post!!!! 

*Ideally though, this prize would suit somebody who is planning on attending the festival.*

 

If you follow me on Twitter, chances are you’ve seen me rave about Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories (read that review HERE) more than once. So you can imagine my sheer joy to hear that a) my fave goth black heart buddy has a new book coming out, and b) I get the pleasure of sharing the cover with you all!!! 🙂

Who wants to know a little about Matt?! 

Here he is, modelling this seasons Moody Lucifer look…*

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*I’m sorry. I’m actually not sorry, because I LOVE this photo an I am just super GIDDY to be sharing this awesome Orenda stuff!

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller Six Stories was an Amazon best seller in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

And here’s some need-to-know info about Hydra….

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west
of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother,
father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked
attack known as the ‘Macleod Massacre’. 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. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust
into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the
mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far
beyond the delusions of a murderess…
Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery
and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places
you may never, ever want to see again.

Doesn’t that sound AMAZING? I genuinely cannot wait for Hydra. It sounds like such a creepy book, so I’ll be reading it with the lights on for sure!

Do you want to see the cover?! Have I made you wait long enough yet?!

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How about now?? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKAAAAAAAAY….. I guess its only fair to share the #booklove… Take a look at this absolutely chilling cover for Hydra….

 

 

 

 

 

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You guys see what I’m seeing right?! That eye?! CREEP FACTOR!!!! But I love it. It’s not even my book and yet I can’t stop looking at it!

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know when its out and how can you buy a copy right!? Well you’re in luck!

Published by Orenda Books on January 15th 2018, you can click the link below to pre-order your copy!

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Matt, you absolute legend. I wish you every success and more with Hydra.

 


 

GIVEAWAY

TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE OF WINNING A TICKET TO MATT WESOLOWSKI’S EVENT ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 10TH AT BLOODY SCOTLAND (BROCHURE HERE) , ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST.  IT IS THAT SIMPLE! 

*WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM

*COMPETITION CLOSES AT 6PM ON WEDNESDAY THE 6TH OF SEPTEMBER, WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED BY 10PM 6/9/17 AND DULY CONTACTED

*WINNER MUST BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE EVENT IN SCOTLAND ON 10/9/17

 

 

~Blog Tour Q&A~ The Other Twin by L V Hay

Hey everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the final stops (along with Tony over at Mumbling About…) on the mammoth blog tour for The Other Twin by L V Hay and I get to share a Q&A I did with Lucy recently, First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

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When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth …

Published by Orenda Books, The Other Twin is available NOW, and you can get your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

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Lucy is an author and script editor, living in Devon with her husband, three children and six cats. Lucy is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015) both starring Danny Dyer. See Lucy’s IMDB page HERE and other movies and short films she’s been involved in, HERE.

In addition to script reading and writing her own novels, Lucy also blogs about the writing process, screenwriting, genre, careers and movitivation and much more at her blog Bang2write, one of the most-hit writing sites in the UK. Sign up for updates from B2W and receive a free, 28 page ebook (PDF) on how NOT to write female characters, HERE or click the pic on the left.

For more scriptchat, leads and links, join Lucy’s online writing group, Bang2writers. See you there!


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

Hi! My name is Lucy V Hay (sometimes LV Hay!) and I’m an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers. I’m owner of the writing tips and networking blog www.bang2write.com, which was shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards this year, as well as named Feedspot’s number 1 screenwriting blog in the UK (tenth in the world).

 

As a script editor, I’ve been privileged to work on a number of fab and award-winning British projects, both feature and short film. I’ve written books about screenwriting, plus I’m also a novelist – my crime debut is out now with Orenda Books and is called The Other Twin.

 

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

 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a little girl. I wrote my first ‘book’ in the middle of my Maths homework book when I was about eight. It was called DUSTCART GEORGE and it was about a girl who ran away from home and had her own dustcart sweeping up the streets in London. I did my own illustrations too! Needless to say, my Maths teacher was not very happy though she did say she enjoyed the story, so job done.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Everywhere, both in real life and online. There’s always new perspectives and ideas and thought patterns … This is why I love social media so much. There’s always someone sharing their POV, or a snippet from their lives, or a character from history … Whilst it’s true social media can be an extended whingefest and full of people’s pictures of their dinner, I make sure I follow the ‘right’ people … By ‘right’ I mean anyone who might challenge my little bubble and make me think of something differently, rather than abject trolls!

 

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

 

I would call it ‘dark and lyrical’. Dark, because I am obsessed with the reasons people do and say terrible things to each other; no one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I will be as evil/careless/selfish etc as possible”. I’m also interested in notions of redemption and whether it’ possible to be ‘good’ after being ‘bad’ – and whether society will let you!

 

Lyrical, because I am also obsessed with the craft of writing, right down to what words are chosen. I want my work to be literary, but also accessible. I want to bring forth visual tales like my hero, Doris Lessing who was so skilled at ‘word pictures’. That’s the dream.

 

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

 

Absolutely. Blog tours, tweets, author spotlights, Instagram features, Facebook Q&As, guest posts … they all work in getting a book out there to the readers. The important thing to remember is they are cumulative. In marketing, it’s said the average consumer is exposed to a product like a book four times before they buy it. Also, referrals are so important – people buy your book if they see people they like/follow endorsing it, whether that’s another author or a book blogger (preferably both). This notion you tweet a few times and get an Amazon bestseller simply doesn’t add up!  

 

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

 

Writing. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love as my actual job.

 

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

 

Writing. I hate it so much! (haha). As you might guess, I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on here.

 

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

 

I would love to have had a number of bestselling books and hopefully, a movie or TV adaptation of at least one of them. I’ve also always wanted to write a dystopian series for teenagers. But really, more of what I’m doing now: writing, workshops, blogging, etc!

 

What’s next for you?

 

Book 2 for Orenda. No title yet and still working on the rewrites. Also, my latest writing book this September, WRITING DIVERSE CHARACTERS FOR FICTION, TV AND FILM, which will be published by Oldcastle Books as part of its Creative Essentials range. This will be my third in the series, but my first where I include novel writing too rather than just screenwriting.  

 

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

 

I adore reading; I try to read at least one book a week. I think it’s really important writers read – I would even wager real money that the best writers (in a craft sense) are the most well-read (whatever that means). I also think the best writers are the most open-minded and challenge themselves the most in terms of what they read. It can be tough to read outside of your comfort zone, but very rewarding. For this reason, I try to set myself pledges on what to read.

 

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

 

Argh, I have so many favourites … and so many fave 5s! I suppose the book that changed my life was probably Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

 

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

 

So many. But I wish I had written GONE GIRL, if only to get a naked Ben Affleck in the shower.

 

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

 

Spending time with the kids. Reading. Baking. Going for drive, watching movies, hanging out. Nothing earth shattering but it’ the little things I think.

 

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

 

I like to take pictures, especially of nature and my 5 cats.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

I love Harlyn Bay, in Padstow. The beach is gorgeous and I love standing out on the headland there and watching the tide come in.

 

Favourite food?

 

Depends on the day! But overall, probably chocolate. All of it. Give it to me!

 

Favourite drink?

 

Booze! At the moment, gin. Though it goes through phases … Ale is a favourite, being a Devon gal.

 

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

 

Well I was a teacher for a bit. I’ve also worked in other places like telemarketing, supermarkets,  cafes, waitressing, even marketing via sandwich boards and in a giant bear costume! Writing wins hands down over all of these.


Many thanks to Lucy V Hay, Anne Cater and Orenda Books for having me on the blog tour for The Other Twin!

Catch up on the blog tour with all of these wonderful blogs:

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~Blog Tour Review~ Dying to Live by Michael Stanley

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Dying to Live, the latest in the Detective Kubu series, by Michael Stanley. I’ll be sharing my review with you all further down, but first, here’s all of the important bookish information that you need to know!

About the book:

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The sixth mystery in the beloved and critically acclaimed Detective Kubu series. Kubu and his colleague Samantha Khama track a killer through the wilds of Botswana on their most dangerous case yet.

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author(s):

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Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers award

 

My thoughts:

Having read and loved the previous books in the series, Deadly Harvest and A Death In The Family , I was thrilled to hear that Dying To Live was on its way!

In Dying to Live, Detective Kubu gets involved in the investigation into the death of a Bushman whose body was found near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. During the course of his investigation, Kubu begins to learn that all is most definitely not what it seems.

Parallel to this, a prominent witch doctor is reported missing. This in turn leads to Kubu wondering if both incidents are related. There seems to be more questions than answers to be found. Kubu and his team find themselves in the midst of something much darker than they could have anticipated.

Kubu is by far one of my favourite characters to read about. I smile when I start these books because he is just such an affable and genuine character. I love how he’s also very family-oriented. This is really cemented in Dying to Live when he and his wife, Joy, have to deal with some issues at home.

I don’t want to say anymore because this book is full of mystery and I’d be afraid to give anything away. Its always better to let the reader enjoy the story and untangle the writer’s web of deceit!

Gripping, mysterious and full of excellent characters, Dying to Live is another perfect example of Sunshine Noir.

Highly recommended!

Follow the blog tour:

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~Blog Tour Review~ Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

Hey everyone,

Today I’m one of two stops (Check out Meggy’s review HERE on Chocolate’n’Waffles!) on the blog tour for Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen and I get to share my review with you all. First though, here’s the all-important bookish information that you need to know!

About the book:

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Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material … and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet.

To get your copy, click here!

About the author:

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Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further seies is being filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen.

My thoughts:

Varg Veum is back in another installment in the series and Wolves in the Dark deals with some very dark subject matter this time.

Veum is suspected of being part of a paedophile ring after incriminating traces of child pornography are found on his computer. Thrown into a prison cell, Veum tries to think of anyone from his past who would harbor enough of a grudge to frame him for this truly heinous crime.

While in prison, Veum gets a chance to escape, and he takes it! What follows is his quest for the truth, to find the perpetrators, and to clear his name. Life on the run is hard for him, and dangerous to those closest to him. Veum must work fast to try and get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding his arrest.

Wwolves in the Dark delves deep into the dark and seedy world of pornography and paedophilia. It addresses the deceit that keeps it going and the lengths to which people will go to keep it hidden.

A really complex story, with many different threads, Wolves in the Dark is a gripping crime thriller. If you enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction, especially Nnordic Noir, then this is definitely one to add to your list. Staalesen is undoubtedly one of the best authors in this genre!

Highly recommended!

 

Previous reviews:

Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

Follow the blog tour:

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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

 

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*Many thanks to Orenda Books for my review copy!*

About the book:

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops … Or does it?

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

My thoughts:

Exquisite is a long-awaited domestic noir thriller published by Orenda Books. In it, we meet Bo Luxton and Alice Dark, both of whom share a common interest in writing. Bo is a bestselling author, and Alice has aspirations to write a book. Meeting eachother at a writers retreat ends up with some interesting consequences. 

I had been really looking forward to reading Exquisite. It ticks all the boxes in terms of the kinds of things I enjoy in books. Dark, unreliable narrator, secrets and lies, so I was eager to get stuck into it when I picked it up last month. 

It’s very hard to discuss Exquisite without giving away anything in terms of the plot. There is no denying Sarah Stovell is a superb writer. The prose and cadence in Exquisite is beautiful. Even the mundane is made exceptional, and that’s all down to how well the author writes. 

If you enjoy clever domestic noir, then Exquisite is the book for you. Compelling, menacing and fraught with tension, definitely one to add to your list!

Recommended! 

~Blog Tour Review~ Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

Hi everyone,

Today I’ll be reviewing Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson as part of the blog tour, with many thanks as always to Orenda Books for the opportunity.

About the author:

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Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

About the translator:

Maxim Jakubowski is a crime, erotic, and science fiction writer and critic.

Jakubowski was born in England by Russian-British and Polish parents, but raised in France. Jakubowski has also lived in Italy and has travelled extensively. Jakubowski edited the science fiction anthology Twenty Houses of the Zodiac in 1979 for the 37th World Science Fiction Convention (Seacon ’79) in Brighton. He also contributed a short story to that anthology. He has now published almost 100 books in a variety of areas.

He has worked in book publishing for many years, which he left to open the Murder One bookshop[1], the UK’s first specialist crime and mystery bookstore. He contributes to a variety of newspapers and magazines, and was for eight years the crime columnist for Time Out and, presently, since 2000, the crime reviewer for The Guardian. He is also the literary director of London’s Crime Scene Festival and a consultant for the International Mystery Film Festival, Noir in Fest, held annually in Courmayeur, Italy. He is one the leading editors in the crime and mystery and erotica field, in which he has published many major anthologies.

About the book:

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Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Buy the book:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

My thoughts:

I genuinely don’t know how to describe Block 46 without giving anything away. It is an absolutely stellar addition to the Orenda Books catalogue. Gripping, haunting and so completely evocative, it is a superb read.

Following the discovery of Linnea Blix, who was found mutilated and murdered, a body of a young boy is also found in London. The reader is then taken on a journey along with those tasked with finding out the truth. This investigation takes place over many locations, with many different characters taking part, and all of these different threads are woven together brilliantly by the author. 

This is the second book I’ve read recently to have been set in Buchenwald. These parts are not easy to read. The author has done a great job of writing sensitively around an extremely harrowing subject though. Capturing the atmosphere can’t be easy, but I felt the most emotion while reading the chapters set there.

Block 46 is a murder/mystery in theory. But it is honestly so much more. It delves deep into people’s character, how they behave and react in certain situations and this is expertly written by the author. It’s not often I find myself struggling to find the words for a review. But I am with this one. Block 46 is brutal, honest and emotionally harrowing but it’s so worth reading! 

Highly recommended!

Follow the blog tour:

 

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