Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Drowned Boy – Karin Fossum

Crime Fiction 3*s
Psychological Thriller
3*s

This is my second read in the Inspector Sejer series of which this is the eleventh in the series and after reading The Murder of Harriet Krohn last year, I had high hopes.

The story starts strongly with Inspector Sejer visiting a young couple whose sixteen month old son Tommy has drowned in a pond at the bottom of their garden. Tommy had been sat naked, one hot August day. His nineteen year old mother Carmen was busy preparing lunch and attending to household chores while his twenty year old father Nikolai was in the basement fixing bicycle. While Carmen was rinsing socks in the bathroom Tommy used his new-found walking skill and toddled to the water’s edge, by the time Carman located him he was in the water and despite the couple’s best efforts to revive him, he was dead.

Inspector Sejer relies on his intuition and although the mother, Carmen, weeps copiously and her husband Nikolai is in shock, much quieter, but clearly devastated, he suspects there is more to the accident than Carmen is letting on and is determined to find the truth.

I’m not sure whether it was the translation or the original writing but this story felt a bit flat to me with the limited outcomes to the story being obvious from the start and the characterisation simply didn’t shine through as they had in her previous novel (the translator’s for each book were different.) This wouldn’t have been a problem, as I think this author’s style is far more of the ‘slow burn’ variety but with no real depth to the characters, I felt that the powerful nature of the story didn’t come through as strongly as it could have.

The underlying premise of the book examines the ripple effect of a tragic incident. Not only for the parents, Carmen’s devoted father Marian, the police and to some extent everyone who crossed the path of this family were touched by the tragedy. It also examines our expectation of parenthood. Tommy had been born with Down’s syndrome and part of Sejer’s investigation led him to question himself and his Christian colleague Skarre on whether they would want a pregnancy to continue if tests indicated this before birth. These are huge questions and uncomfortable ones. The discomfort only gets worse when we witness through the words of her diary Carmen’s own reaction to her son’s disability, making this a difficult read.

The book is set over a number of months following the incident with the focus being on a court case where Carmen’s account will be judged to see if she was negligent or perhaps worse that day or will the outcome be as she expects and she is exonerated of any wrong-doing on that bright sunny August morning.

For those of you like me that haven’t followed this series from the beginning, don’t worry, this book can be enjoyed in its own right as a stand-alone read.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Random House Vintage imprint for allowing me to read a copy of this book for review purposes ahead of publication on 4 June 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (May 27)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum

The Drowned Boy

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post

I have recently finished Falling by Emma Kavanagh, a wonderful multi-viewpoint book written following a plane crash.

Falling

Blurb

A moody, intense debut psychological thriller by a former police psychologist, this debut novel explores four lives that fall apart in the tense aftermath of a plane crash, perfect for fans of Tana French, S. J. Watson, and Alice LaPlante. Unravelling what holds these four together is a tense, taut tale about good people who make bad decisions that ultimately threaten to destroy them. Debut author Emma Kavanagh deftly weaves together the stories of those who lost someone or something of themselves in one tragic incident, exploring how swiftly everything we know can come crashing down. NetGalley

my review will follow soon

Next I plan to read The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson

The Other Me

Blurb

Eliza Bennet has the life she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from. NetGalley

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 26)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My current read is The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum which will be published on 4 June 2015 by Random House UK

The Drowned Boy

Blurb

He’d just learnt to walk,’ she said. ‘He was sitting playing on his blanket, then all of a sudden he was gone.’
A 16-month-old boy is found drowned in a pond right by his home. Chief Inspector Sejer is called to the scene as there is something troubling about the mother’s story. As even her own family turns against her, Sejer is determined to get to the truth.

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter 1
The dizziness hit him in short, sharp bursts that overwhelmed him, and even though he fought against it, he lost his balance. This is not good he thought, in desperation, this is it. He tried as best he could to stay on his feet, managed somehow to get over to the mirror on the wall and studied his face with keen eyes. No, I can’t ignore it any more, it must be a tumour, why should I get away with it, I’m no better than anyone else, not in the slightest. Of course it was cancer. That’s what we die of these days, one in three, he thought, even one in two, if we live to be old enough. And soon I’ll be an old man, I’m halfway to a hundred. But I’m probably going to die now.

This is the eleventh in the Inspector Sejer series and a new one to me. This opening doesn’t have any direct correlation to the synopsis but would you keep reading?

Do you want to know more?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comment box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (April 25)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Oh dear, I feel that I ought to stand up and say ‘My name is Cleopatra and I am a bookaholic’ because for some reason I seem to have been on a NetGalley binge and all those lovely publishers out there enable me by approving my requests! Well here goes:

I have a copy of The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum, an author I first ‘met’ last year by reading The Murder of Harriet Krohn, a quietly brilliant book. This is the eleventh in the Inspector Sejer series so I hope that it works as a stand-alone and isn’t so good that I feel I have to purchase the previous ten!

The Drowned Boy
Blurb

He’d just learnt to walk,’ she said. ‘He was sitting playing on his blanket, then all of a sudden he was gone.’
A 16-month-old boy is found drowned in a pond right by his home. Chief Inspector Sejer is called to the scene as there is something troubling about the mother’s story. As even her own family turns against her, Sejer is determined to get to the truth. NetGalley

The Drowned Boy will be published on 4 June 2015

I also have a copy of In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, a book that is due to be published on 30 July 2015.

In a Dark Dark Wood

Blurb

Someone’s getting married. Someone’s getting murdered.
In a dark, dark wood
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
There was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong.
And in the dark, dark room….
NetGalley

… and I have a copy of If She Did It by Jessica Treadway which was published on 10 March 2015

If She Did It

Blurb

What if you began to suspect your child of an unspeakable crime?
When Dawn introduces her family to her new boyfriend, Rud, they hide their unsettled feelings because they’re glad that Dawn, always an awkward child, seems to have finally blossomed.
Then Dawn’s parents are savagely beaten in their own bed, and though Hanna survives, Rud stands trial for Joe’s murder. Claiming her boyfriend’s innocence, Dawn initially estranges herself from everyone she knows, but when Rud wins an appeal, Dawn returns home saying she wants to support her mother.
Hanna knows that if she could only remember the details of that traumatic night, she could ensure her husband’s murderer remains in jail. But Hanna hadn’t realised that those memories may cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter… NetGalley

I lay the blame for requesting this next book firmly at Lady Fancifull’s door as she wrote such a brilliant review of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald and mentioned two other favourite books of mine; 84 Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, that I simply couldn’t resist requesting a copy for myself!

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Blurb

Warning: once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it’s time. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind.
But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it’s almost beyond repair are all the people she’s come to know through Amy’s letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy’s guarded nephew Tom.
Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop. NetGalley

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is due to be published on 18 June 2015

Finally Mel Sherratt contacted me to see if I wanted a copy of Only The Brave, well there was only one answer to that question! This is the third in the Allie Shenton series and I certainly can’t stop now.

Only The Brave

Blurb

When one of the notorious Johnson brothers is murdered and a bag of money goes missing, a deadly game of cat and mouse is set in motion.
DS Allie Shenton and her team are called in to catch the killer, but the suspects are double-crossing each other and Allie has little time to untangle the web of lies.
As she delves deeper into the case, things take a personal turn when Allie realises she is being stalked by the very same person who attacked her sister seventeen years ago and left her for dead.
Set over forty-eight tension-filled hours, Only the Brave is the latest gut-churning police procedural from acclaimed author Mel Sherratt. NetGalley

Only The Brave is due to be published 26 May 2015

Any of these take your fancy? What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Murder of Harriet Krohn – Karin Fossum

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

Charlo Olav Torp is in debt, actively hunted by his creditors to pay back the money he owes. Following the death of his wife Inga Lill he has become estranged from his teenage daughter Julie, their only contact reduced to long letters from father to daughter, one of which sets the tone for this novel.

So Charlo comes up with a plan to solve his biggest problems; pay off his debts and to persuade Julie that he is a changed man now that he has stopped gambling which is why on 7 November he is out in the cold weather, feet cold from the falling sleet putting his plan into action and this plan leads him to Harriet Krohn’s front door.

This book is one of the Inspector Sejer series written by Karin Fossum although this is the first book I’ve read by this author. I was surprised at how little exposure the Inspector gets in this outing. The first quarter of the book details in minute detail the night of the murder and its immediate aftermath and I have to be honest, I nearly put this book aside, irritated at the pace and feeling very little of any emotion for Charlo, but I read a few more pages and became hooked. The realisation dawned that this clever author had persuaded me to sympathise to an extent, with a man who had done a terrible deed. When Inspector Sejer makes an appearance it soon becomes apparent that he is of a very different mould to many British detectives, very thoughtful, compassionate but incredibly tenacious.

An unusual reading experience, on the one hand the start was too slow but without the layering of the details of that cold night and the self-pity of Charlo to appreciate the story of a man who is living with guilt. There is a scene where he moves coffee beans into piles to try to work out if he can ever make up enough good deeds to balance out the bad that was done that night, which led me to think about the larger philosophical questions, not bad for a detective story!

I will definitely be looking out for more by this author, I enjoyed the sensitivity of the writing, the way the author elicited not just sympathy, a part of me wanted Charlos to do well, to atone for his terrible actions and have a long and loving relationship with his daughter.

I would like to thank the publishers Random House Vintage for allowing me to have a copy of this book ahead of publication on 5 June 2014 in return for this honest review.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (May 28)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum which is written from the unusual perspective of the murderer.

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

I have recently finished reading Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey narrated by dementia sufferer Maud who is trying to solve the mystery of two women spanning seventy years.

Elizabeth is Missing

My Review of Elizabeth Is Missing

 

Next I am planning on reading Now That You’re Gone by Julie Corbin.  This author first came to my attention with her debut psychological suspense novel, Tell Me No Secrets.

Now That You're Gone

Blurb

When the body of Isla’s brother, an ex-Marine and private investigator, is pulled from the River Clyde, she is convinced he was murdered. When the coroner declares Dougie’s died of accidental drowning and rules out foul play, the police are happy to close the case. But Isla has other ideas.
Determined to find out what really happened the night Dougie died, and why he was even in Glasgow, she starts looking into his unsolved cases. What she finds will put her in grave danger and force her to question everything she thought she knew about those closest to her . . . Amazon

Please share your reads with me in the comments below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Tuesday Teaser (May 27)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to

My Teaser this week is from The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

Charlo Torp has problems.
He’s grieving for his late wife, he’s lost his job, and gambling debts have alienated him from his teenage daughter. Desperate, his solution is to rob an elderly woman of her money and silverware. But Harriet Krohn fights back, and Charlo loses control.
Wracked with guilt, Charlo attempts to rebuild his life. But the police are catching up with him, and Inspector Konrad Sejer has never lost a case yet.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterwards?

My Teaser

He gazes up at the large H&M posters. They cover the front of the block on his right. How strange, he thins, that the buxom girl in the lacy underwear is naked on a bleak evening like this. She looks relaxed in spite of it all, though he is wet and chilled, but this is hardly something that troubles him.

Please share your comments or links below.

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (May 21)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing
Blurb

How do you solve a crime when you can’t remember the clues?
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Back home she finds the place horribly unrecognizable – just like she sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.
Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.
Everyone, except Maud. NetGalley

I have just finished reading Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

My review will follow shortly.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can’t keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

Next I will be reading The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

On a wet, gray night in early November, Charlo Torp, a former gambler who’s only recently kicked the habit, makes his way through the slush to Harriet Krohn’s apartment, flowers in hand. Certain that paying off his debt is the only path to starting a new life and winning his daughter’s forgiveness, Charlo plans to rob the wealthy old woman’s antique silver collection. What he doesn’t expect is for her to put up a fight.
The following morning Harriet is found dead, her antique silver missing, and the only clue Inspector Sejer and his team find in the apartment is an abandoned bouquet. Charlo should feel relieved, but he’s heard of Sejer’s amazing record — the detective has solved every case he’s ever been assigned to.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterward? Goodreads

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (April 18)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

First up today is The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar, I really enjoyed her last novel Accidents Happen and her debut The Playdate so I’m hoping this will be equally good.

The Hidden Girl

Blurb

Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start. Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream. Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will’s behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust. Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she’s ever wanted at risk. But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her . NetGalley

If this sounds good to you too it is due to be published on 22 May 2014 by Macmillan

I have also got a copy of The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum. I’ve not read anything by this author before so this will be a new to me read.

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

Charlo Torp has problems.
He’s grieving for his late wife, he’s lost his job, and gambling debts have alienated him from his teenage daughter. Desperate, his solution is to rob an elderly woman of her money and silverware. But Harriet Krohn fights back, and Charlo loses control.
Wracked with guilt, Charlo attempts to rebuild his life. But the police are catching up with him, and Inspector Konrad Sejer has never lost a case yet.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterwards? NetGalley

This is due to be published 5 June 2014 by Random House Vintage.

Next is a book by Sabine Durrant, Remember Me This Way. Her previous book Under Your Skin has been on the TBR for a long while so if I enjoy this I will have to read that one too.

Remember Me This Way

Blurb

Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.
A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.
At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.
Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.
But she’s starting to realise she didn’t really know him.
Or what he was capable of . . . Amazon

Due to be published on 17 July 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton.

I Read Novels has a great review of The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay by Andrea Gillies, another author whose debut novel, The White Lie, hit all the right spots is firmly on my TBR

The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay
Blurb

Nina Findlay, alluring, accomplished, deluded, always the heroine of her own life, has found an irresistible safety in being adored by two men, brothers she’s known since childhood. But when her sister-in-law becomes gravely ill, the triangle that Nina’s depended on becomes catastrophically unstable. The life she’s known begins rapidly to unravel, and odd things begin to happen which those around her insist are all in her mind. Separated from her husband, she goes on holiday to a tiny Greek island, the honeymoon island of 25 years earlier, and is involved in a serious road accident. There, while recuperating, she becomes close to her doctor, who’s also on the point of divorce. A new relationship seems possible – but what’s real in the situation, and what’s imagined? Pressed in at all sides by other people’s truths, how can Nina be sure of identifying her own? A diary that was her mother’s proves to be a turning point. Perhaps romantic love is always a kind of undiagnosed madness. Face to face with the facts behind her assumptions, the time has come for Nina to unravel the taut knot of her past. Amazon

My resolve weakened and I bought a copy of Snarl by Celina Grace, the fourth in the Grace Redman Mystery series.

Snarl
Blurb

A research laboratory opens on the outskirts of the West Country town of Abbeyford, bringing with it new people, jobs, prosperity and publicity to the area – as well as a mob of protestors and animal rights activists. The team at Abbeyford police station take this new level of civil disorder in their stride – until a fatal car bombing of one of the laboratory’s head scientists means more drastic measures must be taken…
Detective Sergeant Kate Redman is struggling to come to terms with being back at work after a long period of absence on sick leave; not to mention the fact that her erstwhile partner Mark Olbeck has now been promoted above her. The stakes get even higher as a multiple murder scene is discovered and a violent activist is implicated in the crime. Kate and the team must put their lives on the line to expose the murderer and untangle the snarl of accusations, suspicions and motives. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?