BLOG TOUR EXTRACT: BLUE NIGHT By Simone Buchholz, translated By Rachel Ward

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Blue Night by Simone Buchholz , published by the wonderful Orenda books this month

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After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…

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I’m happy to bring you an extract from this exciting read…

 

 

Always follow your heart. Or bury it at Wounded Knee.

My dad liked to trot that one out whenever I asked him what I should do. An old Native American proverb, I guess those boys had a snappy one-liner for every situation.

My heart says: Sit down and hold his hand. He doesn’t look as though he’s got anyone else to do it. I can recognise a lonely face from ten miles off.

The hand is warm and dry, and surprisingly soft for its size – it’s a proper paw. I try to put both my hands round it. Ridiculous.

He was brought to the ward in the early morning, just after four. There are multiple fractures to his arms, legs and ribs; his right clavicle is smashed. There’s a thick bandage round his right hand. The nurse says he’s lost his index nger, but you can’t just lose an index finger. He has no head injuries and his lungs aren’t damaged. His kidneys are swollen but basically working. There’s a single main doorway in his neck. That’s where the drugs go in – the glittering disco stuff from the bags hanging on the drip stands. He’s getting something to make him sleep and presumably all kinds of stuff for all kinds of pain. It’s clearly working ’cos he looks strangely peaceful, and his face is unscathed, apart from a few scratches from the asphalt.

Forensics took his clothes; he had no papers on him.

He’s really tall: with all the splints on his arms and legs he hardly fits the hospital bed. His hair shines silver-grey and it’s close-cropped at the sides, a bit longer on top. His face is one of those angular models that men only grow into at a certain age. I’d put him at early- to-mid fties. A man in his prime, if he weren’t so broken.

Yeah, if he weren’t so broken, he’d look a bit like a tall George Clooney.

The machines on the wall behind his bed start beeping. A nurse comes in and presses a few buttons. She smiles sympathetically around the room, as if I were a relative, even though she knows I’m not.

That keeps happening to me.
I don’t always react to it very well.
‘What was he wearing?’ I ask her. ‘Before the gown, I mean?’ She switches to her smile, question marks blinking dully in her eyes.

OK. Sorry.

‘Where was he found?’
‘I don’t know exactly,’ she says. ‘Somewhere near here.’
Her stare is getting harder.
She seems to resent me: even if I’m not a relative, I could at least act like one.
She idly moves a few things from one side of the bed to the other, then hastily leaves the room before I can ask any more impudent questions.

I stay beside the tall, sleeping man and look at him.

I stay by him until the clouds finally seize power in the sky and it grows gradually dark; then I head home.

As I get out of the taxi in my road, cold rain falls on my head. Yellow light rolls from Klatsche’s window..

Simone Buchholz Picture

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Don’t forget to check out more reviews on the tour

BLUE NIGHT Blog Tour Poster

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: KILLED By Thomas Enger, Translated By Kari Dickson

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Killed by Thomas Enger, published by the wonderful Orenda books and available Feb 28, 2018. 

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Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

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Killed is the fifth and final installment in Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series and one I’ve been highly anticipating since the jaw dropping conclusion to last year’s Cursed . This series is some of the best Nordic Noir I’ve read and Henning Juul is one of my favorite protagonists. I first met Henning in the second book , Pierced, when he was still recovering from the aftereffects of being burned in a fire at his apartment – one in which his young son Jonas tragically died.

Killed continues with Henning’s long search to uncover and make pay those responsible for setting the fire and he’s ever so close to getting those answers. After years of using and honing his investigative journalist skills, Henning has managed to piece together most of the puzzle but time is running out because those he seeks also want to get to Henning and silence him once and for all. As you can guess, Killed is a skillful game of cat and mouse which kept me in suspense while shocking me with twists, surprises, and yes deaths of people I didn’t see coming! Thomas Enger really held nothing back in this story and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Of course, I won’t give anything away in regards to plot and the ending but I will say that while the author does a wonderful job of bringing new readers up to speed with the finer details of the story, I still highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series with either Burned or Pierced and continue in order to fully immerse yourself in the backstory as well as getting to know Henning. I did miss reading book 3 (Scarred) and I have a feeling that’s why I was a little confused about a particular aspect in Killed. That being said, if you like Nordic Noir and you haven’t yet tried this series, by all means give it a try, I think you’ll be happy you did.

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Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about

the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

For more information about KILLED or to book an interview with Thomas Enger, please contact Karen Sullivan: Karen@orendabooks.co.uk, 07702 628 230 or Sophie Goodfellow: SophieG@fmcm.co.uk, 07719 007146.

Don’t forget to stop by and check out other reviews on the tour!

Killed Blog Tour Poster

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: WOLVES IN THE DARK By Gunnar Staalesen

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves in the Dark, published by the wonderful Orenda books and available now as an ebook and Oct 1 in paperback

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About the book

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 pedophile 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. Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

REVIEW

Well, this is my second foray into the world of Varg Veum and I have to say I’ll officially follow him wherever he goes! I first met Varg in Where Roses Never Die (review here) and there was just something so compelling about his character that by the end of that book I felt like I’d found a new friend. I know many of you may see that this book is #21 in the series and may think you’re too far behind to give it a try but you can most definitely pick this up as a standalone as the author does a brilliant job of providing enough backstory for new readers as well as enticing established readers with a different side of Varg.

When Wolves in the Dark begins, Varg is in a much better place emotionally and physically than when we left him in Where Roses Never Die. After having been consumed by his grief over losing his love Karin, Varg had sought to drown his sorrows with copious amounts of alcohol, often blacking out and losing large chunks of time. In Wolves in the Dark, he’s in a stable relationship, sober, and feeling like he’s got a reason to be happy again. This new found happiness is short lived, however, as Varg soon finds himself implicated in a web of internet child pornography so intricate that he may never get himself out and clear his name. Who hates him so much they’d set him up in such a despicable way?  I absolutely loved how the author set this all up. In order to sift through possible suspects in terms of who had it in for Varg, he revisits some of his old cases which was a perfect way to help orient new readers to the bad guys from Varg’s past. Needless to say, there are plenty and soon we have many viable suspects. I have to say a quick point here about the subject matter involved in this story: child pornography. Now, part of me dreaded reading this because I didn’t know how I would get through those details and while it was certainly hard to read certain bits and pieces, overall the author kept the details to a minimum, allowing the subject matter to stay on the periphery of the story.

In terms of the pacing, I really loved how Staalesen upped the action in this story, especially about a third of the way in when Varg makes a snap decision to take matters into his own hands, going rogue so to speak! I loved this aspect as it made for suspenseful, action packed reading. Make sure to pay close attention though, as this is an intricate puzzle of a mystery that had me completely in the dark as far as ‘whodunit’ which, by the way, is exactly where I like to be. If you like gritty, noir mysteries with compelling, layered characters I think you should definitely put this book, or any of the other Varg Veum’s at the top of your tbr.

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About the Author

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 four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Many Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy and for inviting me on the blog tour! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Varg in the future

Be sure to stop by the other fantastic blogs on the tour!

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BLOG TOUR & GUEST POST: WATCHING THE BODIES By Graham Smith

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Graham Smith’s new crime novel Watching the Bodies available now from Bloodhound Books. I’m thrilled to share with you this awesome guest post from the author. Enjoy!

 

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Book Description:

When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

Guest Post by Graham Smith

Is violence on the page entertaining or gratuitous?

This is a debate that’s as old as the hills or at least the debate about using clichés in writing.

Let’s be clear from the start; violence of any kind towards a human being or another living creature is abhorrent.

Yet as a writer, I love the elements that violence puts into my toolbox.

First and foremost, violence or the threat of violence, is a major driver of stories. Once our hero, Clint Squarejaw, has been established as a decent person we need to have something for him (or her) to do.

As someone who writes at the darker end of the spectrum, I’m not going to have Clint looking for a lost wedding ring or kidnapped cat. I’ll give him a task I find more interesting.

In my hands he’s basically going to be tasked with one or two scenarios. He’ll either be investigating an act of violence or trying to prevent one. It could be a single murder or a plot to kill millions.

Sometimes I’ll use both methods. In the case of a serial killer, the first murders are being investigated in the hope future ones will be prevented.

Now that I’ve established my jumping off point, I think it’s fair to point out that my stories include a lot of violent acts. In a different series, I have had someone executed with a nailgun, another person lost a limb to a blowtorch and naturally, I had to decapitate another character.

The issue I always have with violence is striking the balance between using it to drive the story and writing gratuitously visceral scenes. As a reader, I have read about torture as it happens and have read passages which had me wincing and shifting my eyes from the page every few lines.

I’ve never wanted to have my readers doing the peek and wince method so I keep most of my violence off the page. This is especially true for the more brutal murders which my villains tend to commit.

I’m very much of the opinion that Clint Squarejaw’s imaginings of the vicious murders is far more palatable than me writing page after page of some poor character being killed, dismembered, raped or otherwise hurt. The aftermath is always a more fertile playground for me and I can toss in a little forensic detail, some mysterious element and a sense of angst for poor old Clint.

Another facet to this, is that I firmly believe my readers are more interested in my characters than the random acts of brutality which litter my stories. Once in a while I will show some violence on the page and it will usually involve my hero fighting those who are guilty or are trying to hurt him.

For me this is acceptable violence to show; as however violent my hero may be when the need arises, he’ll never cross to the point where he’s being brutal for the sake of it. Sure, he may kill people and dish out a generous helping of retribution from time to time, but he’ll never be sadistic for the sake of it.

Any violence I do put onto the page which involves my villains harming their victims will always be done with the minimum of detail and will often focus on the emotional implications rather than the physical ones.

This is my outlook on violence in crime stories, but please comment below or look me up on social media as I’d love to hear what other writers and readers deem acceptable.

Wasn’t this interesting? Thank you Graham for sharing your thoughts on violence in novels. I for one appreciate the violence being left off the page and not the focus of scenes! 

 

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Author Bio:

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he 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 one book, in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

“Watching the Bodies is a storming addition to the action thriller genre, and Jake Boulder a new tough guy to root for. Be under no illusion, Boulder is no Jack Reacher or Joe Hunter c

Be sure to stop by these other fantastic blogs on the tour

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Links:

Facebook

Author Website

Twitter

Amazon

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: FAITHLESS By Kjell Ola Dahl

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl, available now and  published by the wonderful Orenda Books

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From Goodreads
Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back and this time, it’s personal… When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he ponders the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda investigates a disturbingly similar cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway and Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again. 
 

Review
 
Faithless is the fifth book in the Oslo detectives series and yes, I’ve once again jumped into a series mid-way. If I didn’t know it was a series though I’m not sure I would’ve realized it because it very much reads as a standalone. I’m sure there are character threads woven throughout but I can’t say I noticed that I was missing anything.

The story begins with a stakeout and right away we meet Frank Frolich who’s staking out the house of a suspected robber. When a lady (Veronika Undset) leaves the house and he’s sent to follow and subsequently question her, several plot pieces are set in motion. It’s not long before Frank realizes his past seems to have firmly planted itself in his present, making him somewhat uncomfortable and on guard. Then a murder is committed leaving Frank stunned and searching for answers.

Frank’s comrade and fellow Oslo detective, Gunnarstranda, is investigating the disappearance of a University student so we are privy to 2 separate investigations which may or may not have connections. I found Gunnarstranda to be an interesting character as he sought to solve his case using old-fashioned detective work. His disdain for all the modern technology like CCTV’s was apparent and amusing. Then there’s Lena, a female colleague, who I have to say I never quite decided if I liked or not and then later in the story when she goes rogue and puts herself in a very precarious situation, I really thought that perhaps she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

Faithless is classic Nordic Noir in that the pace is slow, the clues are layed out gradually, and the detectives work fairly methodically. The sentence structure was often short and choppy which did take some getting used to on my part. One thing I really appreciated, however, was the linear timeline. The story progresses in a straightforward manner…no flashbacks!   Something that was missing for me in this book though was a sense of place. I never felt like I could picture the surroundings and the atmospheric details I’ve come to enjoy in other Nordic Noir novels weren’t there for me in this one. I did find the characterization to be strong and while the resolution of one of the mysteries seemed to be pretty lackluster, the other one was a surprise. I always love to be fooled and the author managed to pull one over on me in terms of the murder.

Many thanks to Karen Sullivan for my copy of Faithless and Anne Cater for inviting me to be on the blog tour. I’m happy to provide an honest review.

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About the author

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

Be sure to stop by the other fantastic blogs on the tour 
 
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Faithless is available now for ebook and paperback in the UK. Publication for print in the US is Sept 1 or you can order now through Book Depository