Category Archives: Orenda Books

The Books that made my year – 2018

2018.jpg

As another year comes to a close we look back on 2018 and the news might be full of bad news but in the world of books it has been another great year. Sales are continuing to grow in both physical hard copy but audio books are also booming. This really is great news and added to this more independent books shops have opened during the year with the trend set to continue. With the high street struggling like never before it is just heartening to see the growth of sales in books. Just a few years ago some were saying the days of the hard copy book were doomed.

2018 will be a year that I will remember for years to come. So many great books have been read some sadly I have not had time to read and will miss this end of year review. I look back with great memories to take away from this year whether it the honour of being asked blog about some of the books and authors for The 2018 Jewish Book Festival to being invited to assist with a very special book On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders a day surrounded by some of the bravest men and women. Real heroes. Also to be involved with The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize a book prize that is dedicated to books on natural history and the great outdoors. Then of course there was The Lost Words project I launched for Somerset Primary Schools in August which is still going to this very day. The generosity of many that made this a success. To those behind the scenes who helped and are still helping I could not have done this without you. To the many radio interviews not just in Somerset but across the UK and also in Europe. In the early part of the Summer I was invited to take a tour of The London Library which turned out to be an incredible experience a very special place that holds over one million books on over 17 miles of shelving. You walk in the footsteps of literary giants.

Books 1

So this brings me to my 15 books of 2018. The books that made my year. This was incredibly hard as so many could have made it in.

The choices are in no particular order so there is no number one book just the best of the year.

OUR HOUSE.jpg

Our House – Louise Candlish

(Simon & Schuster) 5th April 2018

Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house. The terror of knowing your life is about to be turned upside down and all the possessions of your life with Bram have gone and who are these people moving into the home they never had any intention of selling. Bram has made a dreadful mistake and there is a price to pay. Now there are score to settle. Both have secrets that they kept from each other.

Our House is a gripping domestic noir read that I recall racing through and kept up long into the night.

ALL AMONG THE BARLEY.jpg

All Among the Barley – Melissa Harrison

(Bloomsbury) – 23rd August 2018

With memories of The Great War still in the minds and memories of the community it casts a shadow across the fields as the autumn harvest approaches. It is 1933 the glamorous Constance arrives from London to write about the traditions of the Suffolk farming community. For Edie Mather adulthood is approaching and the arrival of Constance is seen by Edie to be everything she longs for. But there is something more to Constance than Edie thinks. This is a remarkable and powerful novel from the Costa Shortlisted author of Hawthorn Time.

three-things-about-elsie.jpg

Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon

(The Borough Press – 11th January 2018

With a Battenburg cover Three Things About Elsie is just a wonderful and delicious story. 84-Year-old Florence has had a fall and as she lies there waiting for help to come she wonders if some part of her past is come back. Florence lives in a flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly and she wonders if the new resident is who he claims to be as he died sixty years ago. It is a beautiful, charming and profound novel from the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Three Things About Elsie was longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018.

 

COVER.jpg

Something of His Art – Horatio Clare

(Little Toller Books) – 11th October 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

The year is 1705 and the yet unknown Johann Sebastian Bach is earning a living as a teacher and organist sets off on more than a 250 mile walk from Arnstadt to Lübeck to visit a composer. This was to be a pivotal time for the young J.S. Bach and this short book tells of his walk and Horatio Clare walks in his footsteps and re-traces that walk that was to change Bach’s life. Based on the BBC Radio 3 series of the same Horatio talks of the walk, the sights, and sounds and natural history that would have accompanied Bach on this epic adventure that would see him become the greatest composer.

LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF.jpg

The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Helen Cullen

(Michael Joseph) – 12th July 2018

William Woolf works for the Dead Letters Depot in East London were he spends his days solving mysteries that include terrible hand writing, missing post codes, torn packages to name but a few. Then he discovers letters addressed to ‘My Great Love’ and suddenly life for William Woolf takes on a whole new perspective. These letters written by a woman to a man she has not met yet, and William now starts to think that he could be the man the letters are meant for. Now he must take on his biggest mystery to follow the clues in the letters and solve the biggest mystery of all. The human heart. This is a charming and romantic novel a wonderful debut. Shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year – Irish Book Awards.

THE WOOD.jpg

The Wood: The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood – John Lewis-Stempel

(Doubleday) – 8th March 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed a mixed woodland of three and a half acres that is Cockshutt Wood and raised cows and pigs that had free reign through these woods. This is John’s month by month account of his last year managing the wood. Through the lives of the trees and the birds and animals that made this wood their home a sanctuary for the wildlife and also for the author. You are there through the changing seasons through to the final days of John’s management of the woods that became his spiritual home. This is a man in tune with the natural world and one of the country’s finest natural history writers. Longlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018.

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL.jpg

Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

(Simon & Schuster) 11th January 2018

A scandal that will rock Westminster. This is a high profile marriage and James has been accused of a shocking crime and his wife Sophie believes in him and will protect the family. Kate on the other hand is the Barrister who believes he is guilty and will make sure he pays for the crimes he has committed.

This is an explosive thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their chair until the very end. Superbly written with great characters. A story of marriage and power and who has it and how they use it. Totally absorbing and gripping.

THE LAST WILDERNESS.jpg

The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell

(Tinder Press) – 8th February 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

Nature and solitude. Neil Ansell has spent the best part of his life walking the remote parts of Britain but here in The Last Wilderness he takes on the part of Scottish Highlands but doing so as he talks of his hearing loss and hoe this affects his love of the great outdoors and the birds he loved to hear that have now become silent. To be in the wilderness is to be at one with nature. It is indeed a love letter to both the wilderness and to the Highlands of Scotland. The wonderful rich writing of Neill Ansell almost makes you believe you are there walking in his footsteps. A treasure of a book. Shortlisted for The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018.

I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH

I Love You Too Much – Alicia Drake

(Picador) – 8th February 2018

A novel based in Paris and centred around Paul a quiet and lonely boy who is unloved. He spends his time watching those in his family and his rather glamourous mother Séverine and her musician boyfriend Gabriel. For a boy who closely observes his family and their daily lives, you just know one day he will see something he is not supposed to see.

Paul seeks the friendship of the not so quiet Scarlett and the patisseries of this part of Paris. Paul is crying out to be loved but what if love does not come his way. What then? This is a book I totally loved and still do to this day. So deserving to be read by a wider audience. It is deft and intelligent and so beautifully told. One book I would I would recommend.

 

COVER

Erebus: A story of a Ship – Michael Palin

(Hutchinson Books) – 20th September 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

Michael Palin tells the story of the ill-fated journey of HMS Erebus and its crew that set sail for the arctic in search of the North West Passage. In 1845 it disappeared with HMS Terror along with their crews. What really happened? A story of the ship and its crew as Palin recounts the adventure and ultimately the biggest naval disaster. Together with photographs this makes for a remarkable read for anyone who has an interest in the sea or adventures.

DARK PINES.jpg

Dark Pines – Will Dean

(Point Blank) – 14th June 2018

An impressive debut by Will Dean. Dark Pines is dark, chilling and atmospheric. Set in an isolated Swedish town. An unsolved murder from two decades ago a deaf reporter trying to find a story that could make her career. Now Tuva needs to find the killer before she becomes the killers next target. But there are secrets in the pine woods were Tuva must venture. If she solves the crime she could find a way out of the small of Gavrik and finally make a name for herself. Dark Pines is the thriller that really beats all thrillers in 2018 and is the first in a series with Red Snow about to be released in January 2019. If I had to choose my book of the year Dark Pines would be that book. If you have not read Dark Pines and thrillers are your genre, then read it now!

OWL SENSE.jpg

Owl Sense – Dr Miriam Darlington

(Guardian Faber Publishing) 8th February 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

I have been fascinated by Owls all my life and have been lucky to have travelled and seen many species of Owl in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean and I loved Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington she takes walks with her son seeking species of UK Owls. Then she travels into Europe from France to Spain, Serbia and Finland and close to the arctic lands of snow and ice. But this book not only is a story of a quest for Owls but her son Benji becomes very ill and then suddenly it is also a quest for a cure. Owl Sense brings to life the mysterious lives of Owls and what we are so fascinated with these mysterious birds.

The-Lingering-cover.jpg

The Lingering – SJI Holliday

(Orenda Books) – 15th November 2018

This dark and creepy ghost story is best read during the dark hours as it really sets the tone. Though you might not want to switch the light off after.

Jack and Ali move have moved into a self-sufficient commune set in Rosalind House, the local village it is said is were witches roamed and the home itself has a dark and sinister past. But it is not long after they arrive that things start to happen. Now the residents and locals are nervous, something or someone is seeking retribution. But why? Terrifying and unnerving. The Lingering really had me spooked. Superbly written and a storyline that holds until the very end.

TAKE NOTHING WITH YOU.jpg

Take Nothing With You – Patrick Gale

(Tinder Press) – 21st August 2018

Set in the 1970’s West-Super-Mare and only son Eustace has been signed up for Cello lessons by his mother. Music is an escape for Eustace and his lessons from his teacher he cannot get enough of. But it is his mother that is not sure of the glamorous teacher. Soon though it is lessons in life and love that take on whole new meanings for Eustace. This is beautifully told story of coming of age and finding out who you really are told with real compassion. A truly wonderful read.

THE LOST WORDS.jpg

The Lost Words – Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris

(Hamish Hamilton) – 5th October 2017

(Non-fiction choice)

After everything this year, I could not leave The Lost Words out of my selection for the year. It has been the bedrock of my year.

Imagine a world where children no longer talk of Heron’s, Otters, Bluebells, Acorns, Conkers, Dandelion, Bramble to name but a few. Well there are around 50 words that The Oxford Dictionary for Children removed. What they did not reckon on was Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane. Here is the most beautiful book imaginable. In words spoken as Spell-Poems and paintings by the amazing Jackie Morris they both bring these words back to life.

Many people across the country have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring this book in into Schools, care homes and hospitals. Even today many more are planned to launch. A truly remarkable book that has a life all of its own. And this story for Somerset has only just begun.

And so there we have it. As the old year ends and a new one is about to begin and so it starts all over again. It has been a pleasure and an honour to work with such incredible writers and publishers and I thank them all for their incredible work.

In 2019 I have some great plans ahead I am honoured to have been asked to be an official blogger for The Jewish Book Festival in early March. I will be podcasting through the year and hope to take the podcast on the road to talk to writers and may be a few publishers. I will be doing my usual book giveaways when time permits and also there will be The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize.

Have a happy and peaceful 2019 and remember “We read to know that we are not alone”. Books take us to places and to escape all the bad news of the day.

John

The Last Word Book Review

 

Advertisements

Good Samaritans – Will Carver

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.indd

Good Samaritans – Will Carver

Well now here is a new literary name for me and Will Carver’s latest novel Good Samaritans really has left its mark in more ways than I can express here.

Meet Seth Beauman, he really has trouble sleeping and he spends his long sleepless nights randomly calling strangers, for what purpose you might ask. Without trying to give and real spoilers away Will Carver has created a small cast in this dark and sexy novel that will keep you up in the night.

AUTHOR.jpg

First up we meet Hadley Serf a woman who is deeply troubled and very suicidal. Feeling like the walls around her are closing in and totally un-noticed in life. She is desperate. She decides the only way is the Samaritans and ends up in speaking with Seth who actually is not a Samaritan and their telephone conversations take place after Seth’s wife (Maeve) goes to bed. Soon both Seth and Hadley start to meet face to face.

Meave is all too aware of what her husband is up to late at night and actually gets something from this. There is in this story an actual Samaritan and this is Ant and he is still trying to recover from the loss of his best friend who was killed while touring Australia.

In the story we also meet Detective Sergeant Pace who has the grizzly task of trying to find a serial killer of young women. But this killer has a gruesome trademark. Once he kills the women he then bleaches them to leave no trace and buries them knowing one day very soon some poor unsuspecting sole will find the body. For DS Pace he too has a past and what does Meave find so fascinating about him? What is their relationship?

This is a really compelling and gripping read that gets your attention in many ways from the relationships between the characters and then the murders to bottles of bleach. There is also sex thrown in and I don’t just mean a little hanky panky here, I am talking hot and steamy and at times rampant. This is a thriller that is somewhat comical but will also get your pulse racing. The book seems to gather pace as go get further into the storyline. Will Carver you have written one hell of a thriller with more twists and turns than you can keep up with. *BRILLIANT*

 318 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan for the review copy of Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Good Samaritans by Will Carver was published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

The Lingering – SJI Holiday

The-Lingering-cover.jpg

The Lingering – SJI Holiday

Last Christmas I read the much acclaimed The Deaths of December and what a festive feast it was. Now Susi Holiday is back with The Lingering which is a dark and twisty spine chilling ghost story that is also the perfect thriller.

Susi-Holliday-Author-Pic-1.jpg

SJI Holiday has managed to write a creepy story that really seeps into your pores of your skin and haunts you long after you have finished the perfect book for the dark autumn/winter evenings.

The centre of attention is Rosalind House a home that was once a psychiatric home that is now a commune. Jack and Ali arrive as they seek to find themselves. Many of the people now at the commune are escaping the day to day rat race of city life. The area has been known in the past for stories and myths of witches. Even Rosalind House itself has a pretty scary history.

Soon after Jack and Ali arrive things really start to happen and the reader is sucked into the scary history of the home. Pretty soon history is starting to repeat itself and something or someone is hell bent of some form of pretty scary vengeance. Now everyone at the commune is getting freaked out.

Was it Jack and Ali’s arrival that sparked the latest creepy goings on. They both have something in their personal lives that seems to brings things to the boil. There are really two stories here, Jack and Ali and then the darkness of the world we don’t want to see. Bit by bit the pair are coming undone and with it the secrets that they have been keeping to themselves. The characters that come together in The Lingering will keep you page turning all the way through page after page. There is among them a ghost hunter and she is single minded and is sure there is something that is haunting Rosalind House but she is in for something much more than she expects and what a character SJI Holiday has created. A cracking spine-tingling story that is just perfect for this time of year. Dare you turn the lights off when you put the book down. Highly Recommended.

256 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Lingering by SJI Holiday

The Lingering by SJI Holiday was published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Trap – Lilja Sigurdardóttir

TRAP cover.jpg

Trap – Lilja Sigurdardóttir

If you read Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, then you must head off to your local bookshop and get yourself a copy of Trap (Orenda Books) which is the second in the Reykjavik Noir Series. This I raced through in one day it was that gripping. One book I knew when I started there was no way I was going to put this book down.

Lilja author photo.jpg

Sonya is trying to make a new start and escape the world of drugs and is happy in Florida, the sunshine state. What could possibly go wrong. Her life is Thomas her son but when he is taken, Sonya’s life falls back into the chaos and hell of the past and this will include heading back to Iceland a country she thought she had seen the last of.

Back in Iceland is her shocking husband Adam who is behind her son’s kidnap. He is desperate to get Sonya and bring them back to Iceland. Now Sonya is back and back into the world she tried to escape from a world of drugs and drug lords. Sonya wants her son back but things are about to get raw and nasty. Firstly, there is her ex in Adam but then there are a few seedier and creepy characters that threaten Sonya’s life and that of her son.

In the strong storyline there is financial misconduct that involves Sonya’s lover Agla, but there is real tension between them both now. Agla owes big money to a group of men who want their money back and they will do what it takes to make sure they get it back.

We also meet more of the characters from the first book including Bragi who is the customs officer who is not far off retirement, for Bragi he is ticking off the days and caring for is very sick wife. Sonya will always be able to count on Bragi for help in her quest despite everything that Bragi has to cope with in his life.

Sigurdardóttir has written a very strong second book in Trap. This is a real page turner strong on characters and is dark and leaves you with punch in the gut feel as the storyline gets darker and chilling and has left me hoping there is to be a book three. Highly Recommended.

 230 Pages.

#Trap @lilja1972     @OrendaBooks

@annecater     #RandomThingsTours

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (orenda Books) for the review copy of Snap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir and also to Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for arranging the Blog Tour.

Snap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir was published by Orenda Books and was published on 18th October 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Follow the Snap – Blog Tour

Trap First BT Poster

Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AW.jpg

Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen

No secret here, I really enjoy Nordic Crime Noir and also Antti Tuomainen’s books so I was delighted when his latest landed on my doormat a while back. Palm Beach Finland (Orenda Books) Still contains the added humour that makes Tuomainen’s thrillers so good.

Antti Tuomainen.jpg

Our intrepid detective Jan Nyman of the Covert Operations Unit of the National Central Police is now investigating the somewhat strange death of a man in a quiet and unassuming seaside town. But there is a holiday village here that has quite a boast. The ‘hottest beach in Finland’. Complete with a shocking plastic Flamingo. (That would put me off visiting) But the money is rolling in and the characters are arriving in their droves to holiday here. Now all the Jan has to do is solve the mystery death.

Straight off Jan has one prime suspect and that is the owner of the house were the man died and that is Olivia Koski. But Koski has a strong alibi and that she was not there at the time. There is the usual mix of characters who all have their own stories to tell yet this is what makes Toumainen’s books so good and so brilliantly readable. One of THE great characters of this book is the owner of the holiday village Jorma Leivo. He is one character to keep an eye on.

Sometimes when you have a host of characters in a book it can be easy to lose track of who is who and doing what. But this is why I really enjoy reading Antti Toumainen. He makes his books so readable and this is a book were time will pass you by very quickly. If you like your crime novels with added wit and humour, then Palm Beach Finland is one book you will love. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

304 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen is published by Orenda Books and is published on 18th October 2018 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

Follow the Palm Beach Finland Blog Tour

First Palm Beach BT Poster.jpg

 

Do No Harm – L V Hay

D0_NO_HARM_COVER (1).jpg

Do No Harm – L V Hay

I loved The Other Twin, which was the stunning debut novel by L V Hay last year. Now Hay is back with another gripping page turner. Do No Harm (Orenda Books) and is just a wonderfully crafted psychological thriller that will have readers glued to every page.

Lucy Hay Author Pic.jpg

Lily has left her husband Maxwell after what was a pretty awful marriage and she has taken their son Denny. She has been in a relationship with Sebastian and now the wedding is about to take place and better life. Well you would think so wouldn’t you? That is for happy endings in other novels. Not this one. For Hay now takes the reader on a twisty journey were you just do not know what is going to happen next. Happy honeymoon later they couple return home, but when they arrive home they find one hell of a mess. The house has been ransacked. Nothing is working. What has happened. The memories of a happy wedding and honeymoon now fade as their lives are literally turned on their head.

Throw in Sebastian’s mother, and a long standing friend Triss and an ex jealous husband who wants to win back his family at any cost and you have the recipe for a superb knife edge thriller being played out right in front of your eyes.

For Lily and Sebastian, the fight is on to save everything they both wanted which was a happy and peaceful life. We get to hear from three people in the storyline two I am sure you can already guess but who is the third person. This you can decide for yourself. It is so brilliantly character driven and Hay’s writing is enough to keep you guessing and gripped. I felt so badly for Lily out of a disaster of a marriage and wanting the perfect life but someone wants their marriage to collapse. Ordinary people leading ordinary lives then all hell is breaking loose. Riveting stuff unless it is happening to you. You will be hooked.

300 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater for the review copy of Do No Harm by L V Hay

Do No Harm by L V Hay was published on 20th July 2018 by Orenda Books and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

#DoNoHarm @lucyvhayauthor @orendabooks

Do No Harm – The Blog Tour

FINAL DO NO HARM BLOG TOUR POSTER.jpg

 

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

KEEPER COVER COVER AW.jpeg

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

One of last year’s books I really enjoyed was Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Johana returns with a gripping and bloody page turner in Keeper (Orenda Books). Sometimes a book will come along and the cover will tell you what to expect and with Johana’s latest it really jumps out at you and so it is that Keeper is just an incredible and compelling. A novel that delves into London’s Whitechapel area of 1888 and Jack the Ripper is terrifying London. Fast forward to 2005 and the Tower Hamlets area of London and a series of murders. It is now 2015 and actress Julianne Bell has been taken. This after a number of murders in London and Sweden that all seem so similar to the murders of 2005. But there is man already charged and jailed for these 2005 murders. So who is now behind these latest copy-cat abductions and murders? Stand by for a thriller that has many twists. Just when you think you have solved the crime, Johana Gustawsson will make you think again.

Johana Pic 

With the murders of 2005 in the Tower Hamlets area of London seeming so similar to the horrific murders of Jack the Ripper. Is there now a serial killer on the loose in 2015? Was the man charged and jailed the right man or did he have an accomplice who has now struck? Julianne Bell was just getting into her car and now she has gone missing. In Falkenberg, Sweden a woman’s body is found and the murder is a copy-cat style murder from London in 2005.

Two investigators Alexis Castells who is crime author and Emily Roy working for Scotland Yard are in a race to find the killer before he strikes again. They have to find Julianne Bell before it is too late.

Throughout Keeper there are flashbacks to 1888 and the reign of terror by Jack the Ripper who preyed on women who worked as prostitutes in the poorest areas of the East end of London, and his murders were nothing short of gruesome. I just have to mention how Gustawsson really manages to capture the historical true-life crimes and weaves them into a modern day crime novel, and is more than enough to keep you awake at night as it really did for me. A well thought out and plotted novel that deserves many plaudits and accolades. The characters of Castells and Roy we have met before in Block 46 and make a welcome return here along with some new characters that really add to the thriller. I am not going to give any spoilers as to what happens next in Keeper as this is superb edge of your seat read that deserves to be read. I make no apologies in saying you are going to have to go and buy a copy and see for yourself. There are many twists and turns to keep you guessing.

I am a big fan of Johana Gustawsson’s writing and cannot wait to see what we have coming next. Keeper I am delighted to highly recommend Keeper and this will be right up there come the end of the year in my best of the year books.

300 Pages.

Thank you Karen Sullivan for the review copy of Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson is published by Orenda Books and is published on 28th April 2018 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and your local independent bookshops.

 

How to follow the Keeper by Johana Gustawsson Blog Tour

FINAL Keeper blog poster 2018.jpg

 

 

We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard

COVER.jpeg

We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard

Translated by David Warriner

Congratulations Karen Sullivan and Orenda Books, yet again you keep delivering some of the best books of the year and here with We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard is another example. To start with, the cover is just incredible it is eye catching and also ties in with the storyline. I just love this book. When I head to the sea in the summer this book is coming with me it needs to be read with the smell of the sea and wind in your hair. The writing is just incredible it sails beautifully, as Roxanne Bouchard describes the landscape and the sea. You can almost taste the salty sea air as you read the amazing prose.

 

AUTHOR.jpg

More a crime and also a mystery novel that I think makes this book stand out. Set in Canada and in the sleepy fishing village of Gaspé Peninsula. Catherine Day has left her home in Montreal to this fishing village to try and find her mother but a dead woman identified as Marie Garant is pulled from the sea. Now Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales new to the area has to solve the mystery of the death of Marie Garant. A woman who was beautiful yet both liked and also mistrusted by the local fishing community, and a death at sea always shakes the village but the death of Marie Garant has rocked this sleepy fishing village.

For Catherine Day who is seeking to find her mother, she soon realises that all is not well as the locals seem to have taken a dislike to her mother. But Catherine is looking for something more than just her mother, she is looking to find something else answers deep within herself she seems a soul lost. There was something about Catherine that I really liked and just the way that Roxanne Bouchard creates characters and brings then alive, to me really makes this a stand out novel. Character creation in any novel is really important and Roxanne seems to have found a way of weaving a story of the sea and clever interplay between them.

This may be a crime and a mystery novel but here is a book that actually really got to me, at times I was so consumed by the writing and also the story really touched me. The story flows like a calm sea and the translation by David Warriner is just outstanding. We Were the Salt of the Sea is another Orenda Books success story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

300 Pages.

Thank you Karen Sullivan for the advanced review copy of We Were the Salt of the Sea.

We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard is published by Orenda Books and is published on 30th March and will be available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.

 

How to follow We Were the Salt of the Sea Blog TourWe Were The Salt of the Sea BT Banner .jpg

Killed by Thomas Enger

LARGE COVER IMAGE.jpeg

Killed by Thomas Enger

They say all good things have to come to an end at some point but this is one end I never wanted to come. So it is that we have reached the finale of one of the great crime series. The last in the Henning Juul series. But what a finale. Superbly crafted and delivered. Killed by Thomas Enger delivers a final punch that is a must read for all lovers of Nordic crime noir.

Thomas_Enger.jpg

I did say this was a book worthy of reading. Be prepared as your senses and your emotions will be tried and tested. For Henning Juul life was over after his son was killed. Opening with a step back to thirteen years previous. Our crime investigative journalist Juul is on the trail of his son’s killer. Juul is scarred deeply and life seems to offer nothing more for him except to find whoever murdered his son and he will do whatever he needs to make that happen. But who can he trust now?

He knows that there are dark forces at large out there and that not only his life but the lives of those he loves will be at great danger the closer he gets to the truth. And the truth is out there. All I will say at this point is that some people are going to die in the process of seeking the truth. This is one of the most explosive and emotional rollercoasters I have been on when it comes to reading and reviewing crime novel. It is impossible to review too much without giving a lot away. This final book in the series just explodes in your hands. The pace leaves you breathless. Then the ending will have you reeling and numb.

Just imagine you are Henning Juul and you want answers regardless of the consequences. Your life is over so you have not a lot to live for. Find the truth even if it means dying in the process of seeking answers and finding those who killed your son.

Thomas Enger has delivered a finale that will make you feel you have been hit by an express train. Killed is not just brilliant it is totally outstanding and worthy of hitting our small screens. My advice is simple. Cancel all your plans with this book and ignore the phone and lock yourself away as you will not put this book down. Killed is breath-taking. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 276 Pages

My thanks to Karen Sullivan and also Anne Cater for the review copy of Killed by Thomas Enger.

Killed by Thomas Enger is published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th February 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops

COMPETITION TIME:

For one lucky reader I have a copy of Killed by Thomas Enger to giveaway. Head over to my Twitter page @thelastword1962 and Follow and Retweet the prize draw Tweet to enter.

This is UK only prize draw and the entries will close at 6am Monday 26th February 2018. Good luck.

How to follow the #Killed by Thomas Enger Blog Tour

Killed Blog Tour Poster .jpg

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Hydra LATEST COVER .jpg

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Matt Wesolowski’s debut novel Six Stories was just incredible a real thrilling crime novel based around six podcast interviews. It was in the end in my selection of one of my best books of 2017. Matt Wesolowski returns with his follow up crime novel Hydra.

 

Matt W Picture 2 .jpg

One very cold night in November 2014, 21-year-old Arla Macleod murdered her mother, younger sister and also her stepfather. All bludgeoned to death. The question is why, what provoked Arla to murder her own family?

What follows is nothing short of extraordinary piece of writing, as Arla now incarcerated in an institution. She now is shut up and drugged up. But she will not speak to anyone about what happened that night. That is with the exception on one person and that is Scott King. Readers of Six Stories will instantly know who Scott King is. King runs a series of Six Podcasts and interviews six people closely connected to the crime.

Here in Hydra Scott King follows creates the next set of six podcasts around interviews as he delves deep into the case. What was the motive for the crime? Through the six podcasts Scot tries to get under the skin of the complex and chilling case and find out what the motive for the horrific crime. Now as we move from one story to another as he interview witnesses something begins to emerge and a story starts to takes shape. Arla never disputes the murders, but what drove her to wipe out her family that cold November night?

Scott manages to interview Arla herself, each podcast was like listening to a thriller in itself I was totally gripped with suspense and wondering what each of the guests. We knew the murderer that was never in question but the five other guests held me in complete suspense.

The real beauty of Hydra is the way that Matt Wesolowski has created his own unique genre around crime solving that involves using podcasts. Scott King is an intriguing chap. Not much is known about him and this just adds to the mystery of these stories. One aspect of Hydra I will not get out of my mind is that of the “black eyed kids” this was straight out of a black and white horror film. It was beyond creepy. I went cold when they were first mentioned. I am a massive fan of Matt Wesolowski and his incredible writing skill that has you on the edge of your seat. It is just innovative and new. If you read Six Stories, then Hydra should be on your to be read pile. A real contender for one of the books for 2018. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

320 Pages

My thanks to Karen Sullivan for the review copy of Hydra by Matt Wesolowski.

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski is published by and is published on 15th January 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops

 

How to follow the Hydra Blog Tour

Hydra blog poster 2018 FINAL.jpg

%d bloggers like this: