Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Legacy – Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Crime Fiction
4*s

Well this new series was my introduction to Yrsa Sigurðardóttir the Icelandic author who has come highly recommended. I wouldn’t say I’m an out-and-out lover of Scandi Noir, as some of it is a bit too dark for my tastes, but here goes, here’s  what I thought.

The book opens with a deeply sad meeting of the equivalent to Social Services where three young siblings are separated to be adopted, ‘the only way to give them all a chance says the director, ‘they can’t stay together’.

The story then moves to 2015 when two young boys alert their neighbour because they’ve been unable to wake up their mother. There’s a reason for that, their mother is dead, brutally murdered by someone who has taken killing to a whole different level. Please dear readers, if you are particularly sensitive and prefer your murders to take place ‘off page,’ avoid this book. That said, this isn’t a book where you are bludgeoned by horrific images on every page there is too much else to be absorbed with.

The woman’s seven year old daughter Margret had seen the murderer and she is taken to the Children’s House, a centre where children who have been abused or otherwise caught up in a crime are treated and questioned, to give a witness statement there. The highly trained team which includes child psychologist Freyja, who I suspect may be the link we follow throughout the series. Freyja is compassionate without being overly sentimental and dealt predominantly in common sense which is how I prefer my protagonists to be.

Meanwhile the local Police force has been under fire with many of the lead detectives needing to keep a low profile in both the press and community and so it is that the newly promoted Detective Huldar leads the investigation into the murder of the young mother. He’s aware that should he fail, that will be the end of his career but when he quickly establishes that his victim seemed to have no enemies, he is struggling for a lead. Our Detective Huldar clearly considers himself a bit of a ‘lad’ but since it’s obvious he is so far out of his depth and he gained my sympathy as he kept on turning over those stones in order to solve the mystery. I actually think the better side of his character is shown by his pairing with his partner Rikhardur. He is not the sort of man to heap the awful jobs on someone else, he purposely watches the post-mortem as he understands his position.

In between the scenes at the Children’s House where Freyja attempts, fairly fruitlessly to coax some details from young Margret we meet a group of young men who are friends because of their interest in listening to short wave radio and it seems to one of the group, Karl that the mysterious numbers broadcasts are a coded message meant for him.

With so much going on, I became completely absorbed by this rich complex tale and never forgot that sad opening but struggled to find a link in the main body of the story. Instead the strands here, which all seemed to be diverging in different directions were skilfully nudged into place within the last portion of the book to bring the tale to its stunning conclusion.

I will be looking out for the next book in this series although I hope to explore some of Yrsa Sigurðardóttir back catalogue before then too.

I was lucky enough to be sent this book by Amazon Vine on behalf of the publishers Hodder & Stoughton and this unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 23 March 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
No of Pages:  464
Genre: Crime Fiction – Scandi Noir
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (March 8)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsyy 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

March reading has started well with a couple of cracking books that will be published later this month but my This Week in Books is starting with a break from the new and shiny and making sure I keep reading those from my (extensive) pile of books that I have bought with my hard-earned pennies!

I am currently reading Cut Short by Leigh Russell which I purchased on 16 February 2014 – yes three patient years it has been waiting to be chosen!

Blurb

When DI Geraldine Steel relocates to the quiet rural town of Woolsmarsh, she expects to find her new home to be somewhere where nothing much ever happens; a space where she can battle her demons in private. But when she finds herself pitted against a twisted killer preying on local young women she quickly discovers how wrong she is…

By day, the park is a place for children’s games, for people walking their dogs or taking a short cut to avoid the streets. But in the shadows a predator prowls, hunting for a fresh victim. When an unwitting bystander comes forward as a witness she quickly becomes the next object of his murderous obsessions. . .

DI Geraldine Steel is locked into a race against time, determined to find the killer before they discover yet another corpse. But can she save the lives of the town’s young women – or will Geraldine herself become the killer’s ultimate trophy? Amazon

I have just finished the deeply disturbing Anne Perry and The Murder of the Century by Peter Graham, in it the author grapples to find an explanation why two teenage girls would murder one of their mothers.



Blurb

On June 22, 1954, teenage friends Juliet Hulme–better known as bestselling mystery writer Anne Perry–and Pauline Parker went for a walk in a New Zealand park with Pauline’s mother, Honorah. Half an hour later, the girls returned alone, claiming that Pauline’s mother had had an accident. But when Honorah Parker was found in a pool of blood with the brick used to bludgeon her to death close at hand, Juliet and Pauline were quickly arrested, and later confessed to the killing. Their motive? A plan to escape to the United States to become writers, and Honorah’s determination to keep them apart. Their incredible story made shocking headlines around the world and would provide the subject for Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-nominated film, Heavenly Creatures.

A sensational trial followed, with speculations about the nature of the girls’ relationship and possible insanity playing a key role. Among other things, Parker and Hulme were suspected of lesbianism, which was widely considered to be a mental illness at the time. This mesmerizing book offers a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial and shares dramatic revelations about the fates of the young women after their release from prison. With penetrating insight, this thorough analysis applies modern psychology to analyse the shocking murder that remains one of the most interesting cases of all time. Amazon

Next up something gentle? No, but it is something that looks very good indeed; The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Blurb

The murder was meant as a punishment – but what sin could justify the method?

The only person who might have answers is the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she’s not talking.

Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children’s House for their expertise with traumatised young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased. But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.

It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio. He’s telling a dark and secret story – but how can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next? Amazon

So even for me that is a week full of murder and mayhem!

What are you reading this week – do share in the comments below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 14)

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.

Happy Valentines Day everyone I’m sending you all lots of book love!

My opening paragraph for this week comes from The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir which will be published in the UK on 23 March 2017.

the-legacy

Blurb

The murder was meant as a punishment – but what sin could justify the method?
The only person who might have answers is the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she’s not talking.
Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children’s House for their expertise with traumatised young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased. But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.
It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio. He’s telling a dark and secret story – but how can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next? Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter 1

Thursday

It takes Elisa a moment or two to work out where she is. She’s lying on her side, the duvet tangled between her legs, the pillow creased under her cheek. It’s dark in the room but through the gap in the curtains a star winks at her from the vastness of space. On the other side of the bed the duvet is smooth and flat, the pillow undented. The silence is alien too; for all the times it has kept her lying irritably awake she misses the sound of snoring. And she misses the warmth that radiates from her permanently superheated husband, which requires her to sleep with one leg sticking out of the covers.
Out of habit she’s adopted that position now, and she’s cold.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is my first Yrsa Sigurdardottir book and having heard high praise of her books, I think I’m going to enjoy this one.

What do you think?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 18)

Weekly Wrap Up

Sadly the memo that Christmas is coming hasn’t reached my workload so I’ve had another stupidly busy week trying to do the job I’m paid to, as well as all those other bits that need to be attended to at this time of year – hey ho!

I did manage to catch up with the last part of Rillington Place on BBC iPlayer yesterday, I now need to see the film, 10 Rillington Place starring Richard Attenborough to compare.

This Week on the Blog

My first review of the week was for The Stepmother by Claire Seeber, an author I have followed since her debut book Bad Friends which was published in 2008, my conclusion, this was her best book so far.

On Tuesday my excerpt came from The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer, a cracking read with one of the best child narrators I think I’ve come across. My full review will follow soon!

In something of a parenting heavy This Week in Books I also featured A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer.

Thursday’s review was for The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle which had the intriguing premise of a husband, having died in a plane crash. If that wasn’t bad enough his wife thought he was headed for another destination entirely.

On Friday I reviewed what is most likely to be my last non-fiction read of 2016, and guess what? It was all about poisoners; first published in 1993 A Gallery of Poisoners by Adrian Vincent takes us on quite a tongue-in-cheek tour around thirteen poisoners covering over 120 years.

Yesterday I finally reviewed the last of my reads that I’d picked out for the 20 Books of Summer 2016 – better late than never is my motto! Standing in the Shadows is a crime fiction novel written by a resident of Jersey Jon Stasiak and set here on the island too. For that reason alone I persevered despite the paranormal aspects and I’m glad I did, the finale was worth it.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner which was published in February of this year. The start of a new crime series written by a former journalist and commissioning editor at the Guardian. DS Manon is a likeable if slightly abrasive detective who is part of the team who investigates the disappearance of Cambridge graduate Edith Hind. Refreshingly we get a glimpse of the other ongoing cases giving a realistic feel to this new series. You can read my full review here

Missing Presumed

Blurb

A MISSING GIRL
Edith Hind is gone, leaving just her coat, a smear of blood and a half-open door.
A DESPERATE FAMILY
Each of her friends and relatives has a version of the truth. But none quite adds up.
A DETECTIVE AT BREAKING POINT
The press grows hungrier by the day. Can DS Manon Bradshaw fend them off, before a missing persons case becomes a murder investigation? Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Well the first addition is fairly placed on fellow blogger’s head – you know who you are FictionFan because I was very taken with her excellent review of Black Widow by Chris Brookmyer, as I haven’t read any of these books. She kindly pointed out that if I wanted to try Want You Gone is on NetGalley. So I now have the eighth book in the Jack Parlabane series which is due to be published in April 2017.

want-you-gone

Blurb

What if all your secrets were put online?
Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister with learning difficulties when their mother goes to prison and watching her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her online, drawing her into a trap she may not escape alive.
Who would you turn to?
Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile source on the wrong side of the law. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything.
What would you be capable of?
Thrown together by a common enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they have more in common than they realise – and might be each other’s only hope. NetGalley

In the post I received The River At Night by Erica Ferencik from the publishers Bloomsbury, the first of a range of titles for their new imprint Raven.

the-river-at-night

Blurb

‘A thought came to me that I couldn’t force away: What we are wearing is how we’ll be identified out in the wilderness.’

Win Allen doesn’t want an adventure.

After a miserable divorce and the death of her beloved brother, she just wants to spend some time with her three best friends, far away from her soul-crushing job. But athletic, energetic Pia has other plans.

Plans for an adrenaline-raising, breath-taking, white-water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. Five thousand square miles of remote countryside. Just mountains, rivers and fresh air.

No phone coverage. No people. No help… Amazon

My last new title is from Amazon Vine by an author I’ve been keen to try for a while so news that she was starting a new series meant this was impossible to resist; The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir is Iceland’s outstanding crime novelist so I’m hoping to be impressed. This book will be published in the UK on 23 March 2017.

the-legacy

Blurb

The murder was meant as a punishment – but what sin could justify the method?
The only person who might have answers is the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she’s not talking.
Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children’s House for their expertise with traumatised young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased. But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.
It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio. He’s telling a dark and secret story – but how can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next? Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have read 4 books and I gained 3 so this week my TBR has dramatically fallen to 176 books, the lowest it has been since mid-September
95 physical books
69 e-books
12 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (March 28)

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 this week is a book that I am picking which I will probably save for my holiday The Peacock Emporium by the inspired Jojo Moyes. Bibliobeth has written a fantastic review of this book which I highly recommend you read if you fancy this one.

The Peacock Emporium

Blurb

Athene Forster embraced the Sixties like few others. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she was spoiled, beautiful, and out of control. And within two years of her marriage, the rumours had begun again.
Thirty-five years on, Suzanna Peacock finds refuge from her mother’s shameful legacy in her shop, the Peacock Emporium. Within its magical walls she discovers not just friendship, and an escape from her troubled marriage, but the first real passion of her life.
But the spectre of her mother still haunts Suzanna, setting in place a series of dramatic events. Only by confronting the past will she finally be able to face the future . . .

Next is a multi-layered crime novel that I found on Rebecca Bradley’s blog, Someone to Watch Over Me by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Someone to Watch Over Me
Blurb

Berglind hurried to her son and pulled him forcefully from the window. She held him close and tried at the same time to wipe the windowpane. But the haze couldn’t be wiped away. It was on the outside of the glass. Psi looked up at her. ‘Magga’s outside. She can’t get in. She wants to look after me.’ He pointed at the window and frowned. ‘She’s a little bit angry.’ A young man with Down’s Syndrome has been convicted of burning down his care home and killing five people, but a fellow inmate at his secure psychiatric unit has hired Thora to prove Jakob is innocent. If he didn’t do it, who did? And how is the multiple murder connected to the death of Magga, killed in a hit and run on her way to babysit? Amazon

I purchased (for free) a copy of Ghost in the Machine by Ed James after seeing a great review of the author’s latest book Bottle Neck on the blog There’s Been a Murder
Ghost in the Machine

Blurb

Detective Constable Scott Cullen of Lothian and Borders has only been three months in CID as a full DC. He is assigned a Missing Persons case which has stretched his uniform colleagues. Caroline Adamson – a young, recently divorced mother from Edinburgh – has disappeared whilst on a date. The more Cullen digs into her disappearance, the more he unravels her private life. Who was she on a date with? What happened during her divorce from Rob Thomson? As Cullen’s own private life gets messier and the relationship with his DI deteriorates, Caroline’s body turns up and he finds himself hunting for a ghost in the machine. Goodreads

From NetGalley I have received a copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam, I had to request this for the title alone! This debut novel is billed as a gripping read laced with mystery, secrets and love

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House

Blurb

It’s 1965 and eighteen year-old Rosie Churchill has run away to the beautiful but run-down Castaway House in the seaside town of Helmstone. But when she uncovers a scandal locked away in the walls of the old house, she soon comes to realise that neither her own troubled past nor that of the house will stay buried for long. . .
In 1924 fresh-faced Robert Carver comes to Castaway House to spend a languid summer in the company of his much wealthier cousin, Alec Bray. But the Brays are a damaged family, with damaging secrets. And little does Robert know that his world is about to change for ever.
As Rosie begins to learn more about Robert, the further she is drawn into the mysterious history of the house, and their stories, old and new, entwine. NetGalley

This is due to be published on 28 August 2014 by Penguin Books (UK)

What have you found to read this week?