Black Reed Bay (Detective Casey Wray 1) by Rod Reynolds @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks #BookReview

Title: Black Reed Bay (Detective Casey Wray 1) by Rod Reynolds

Date Published: 28th May 2021

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

When a young woman vanishes from an exclusive oceanfront community in the middle of the night, Detective Casey Wray’s takes on a case that leads her in chilling, unexpected directions … A twisty, breath-taking police procedural. First in a heart-pounding new series.

Don’t trust ANYONE…

When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.

Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…

And then the first body appears…

For fans of Susie Steiner, Peter Swanson, M J Arlidge, James Lee Burke and Tana French.

Review:

I want to thank the TBC reviewer group and Orenda books for providing me with a copy of Black Reed Bay in exchange for an honest review.

Rod Reynolds has been on my radar for a while now, but this is actually the first book I’ve read by him, but it certainly won’t be the last!

A young woman makes a 911 call and seems to vanish. The people of the wealthy neighbourhood that she went missing from claim to have no clue where she went or why she was so distressed. Casey Wray is put on the case and is the only person intent on finding her. Then a body turns up and Casey realises there’s something more sinister going on than she first thought.

Black Reed Bay was one of those books that really kept me on my toes throughout, with plenty of twists and shocks along the way. 

I loved Rod Reynolds’ writing style. Descriptive and evocative without bogging you down with too much detail. Added to that, a cleverly concocted mystery and realistic characters, making it a really entertaining read.

Casey Wray is a fantastic character that I really rooted for. An older officer, she’s worked hard to become a detective and still at times struggles with it all. It’s her sheer determination and need for justice that seems to drive her on. 

Black Reed Bay is a tense and atmospheric police procedural that kept me gripped throughout. I will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

About The Author:

Rod Reynolds is the author of five novels, including the Charlie Yates series, the standalone Blood Red City and the forthcoming Black Reed Bay.

His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books published his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City, which was a Summer 2020 pick in the FT. In 2021, he again turns to the US, this time to present-day Long Island, with Black Reed Bay.

Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in Novel Writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and children and spends most of his time trying to keep up with them.

Contact him:

http://www.rodreynolds.com

twitter: @Rod_WR

facebook: @RodReynoldsBooks

#TheGreatSilence by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #RandomThingsTours

Title: The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone

Date Published: 19th August 2021

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Thriller

Description:

From the discovery of a human foot in a park, to the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband… the stakes have never been higher for the Skelf family

Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.

‘Compelling, compassionate … just brilliant. This series gets better with every book. I cannot get enough of the Skelfs’

Mark Billingham on The Big Chill

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this book tour and Orenda books for providing me with a copy of The Great Silence.in exchange for an honest review.

Ah, it’s lovely to be back with the Skelfs again, it’s a bit like visiting old friends. Dysfunctional old friends, mind you, but highly entertaining at the same time. 

This is the third book in the series and I would highly recommend reading the previous books to get a better understanding of the characters and they just happen to be fantastic too!

You know when you read a book and think, where does the author come up with these amazing ideas from? That’s exactly how I felt while reading The Great Silence. 

As usual, there are several investigations going at once during the novel. Dorothy discovers a dismembered foot while out walking her dog Einstein. Jenny is busy looking for her ex-husband, who escaped police custody. Hannah is investigating a case where her colleague thinks he’s getting messages from outer space. This is all while running their funeral directing business and dealing with their usual family dramas along the way.

Like the previous books, the storylines are expertly woven together, grabbing you from the outset and making you want to read to the very last page.

Of course, like the other books in the series, there’s some dark themes, i.e. abuse and suicide, but they’re handled with sensitivity by the author.

I heard this might be the last we see of the Skelfs, which I hope is not the case! If it is, then I will say it was a satisfying ending for the trilogy, but I’m crossing my fingers for more stories featuring Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah.

The Great Silence is a captivating and original read that I honestly couldn’t get enough of.

About The Author:

Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. 

He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. 

Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh. 

Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com

The Beresford by Will Carver @OrendaBooks @will_carver #BookReview

Title: The Beresford by Will Carver

Date Published: 22nd May 2021

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Thriller/Horror

Description:

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. 

In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers. 

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…

Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

Review:

I want to thank Orenda books and THE Book Club Reviewer Group for providing me with a copy of The Beresford in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read a couple of books by Will Carver now and I’ve always come to expect the unexpected while reading his novels and The Beresford is no different.

The Beresford is written in Will Carver’s signature style, dark, a little gruesome, underlined by a cynical tone and sharp wit. 

I love the fact that the characters seem so ordinary and lifelike, like you’d know someone who’s similar or you could imagine passing one of them in the street but each one is compelling in their own way.

The Beresford is almost like a character in itself even though it’s only a building. It’s owned and run by the elderly Mrs May. It’s an old and imposing building but the rent is cheap so there’s always a line of willing people to rent a flat there, even though the turnover rate of renters there is incredibly high.

While there is an air of mystery, (I mean why do the residents keep murdering each other???), I’d say this is more out-and-out horror than Will Carver’s usual horror/mystery novels. I’d still recommend it if you loved his previous books.

The Beresford is Gothic, creepy and more than a little unsettling yet still keeps you glued to those pages. 

About The Author:

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July 2021. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts. 

#BlogTour #BookReview Deity by Matt Wesolowski @OrendaBooks @concretekraken @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours

Title: Deity by Matt Wesolowski

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date Published: 18th February 2021

Genre: Thriller

Description:

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rakes over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge. Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Why was he never officially charged? Are reports of a haunting really true?

Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive, spine-chilling thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we are willing to turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on this tour and Orenda Books for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

So this is my second outing into the world of podcaster Scott King even though this is the fifth book in the series, (The previous novel I read was the first Six Stories which I read last year and loved.), but I thought, it’s lockdown, I’m living on the edge so I’ll just jump into Deity. For me it did work well as a standalone, even though it had a character from one of the previous books in it.

I have such a book hangover and it’s all Matt Wesolowski’s fault! I genuinely have not stopped thinking about Deity for days and how I am going to do justice in my review! 

If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s told through six podcast interviews, this time it’s interspersed with the last interview that Zach Crystal ever did. We’re taken through Zach Crystal’s rise to fame, then infamy and hear from detractors and obsessed superfans trying to actually find out who the real Zach Crystal was and what really happened to him.

I absolutely love the sort of supernatural aspect that is brought into the story, to run alongside the mystery that adds that extra layer of intrigue and creepiness. The paranormal element in this book took the form of a creature that legend says roams the woods around Zach Crystal’s property and is supposedly a portent of disaster.

Deity really kept me guessing until the end. There were a few subtle clues along the way but it was so cleverly written that I completely missed them.

A little warning, this story deals with themes of abuse and violence which some people may find a little upsetting.

Deity is a dark and devastating yet utterly addictive and I cannot recommend highly enough!

About The Author:

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies, such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller. Changeling, the third book in the series, was published in 2019 and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. His fourth book, Beast, won the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Independent Voice Book of the Year award in 2020.

#BookReview Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours

Title: Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst 

Translated by: Megan Turney

Date Published: 18th February 2021

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion and the city is put on terrorist alert.

Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Semplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…

The second in the hard-boiled and furiously compelling Blix & Ramm series, created by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst, two of the biggest names in Nordic Noir.

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this tour and Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

So I read the first in the Blix/Ramm series last year, Death Deserved, which was one of my top reads of 2020, so I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of Smoke Screen!

The story starts off with a bang, literally. Journalist Emma Ramm is on the scene at a bombing during the annual New Year’s eve festival. One of the victims is identified as Ruth-Kristine Smeplass, whose daughter Patricia disappeared as a baby years earlier. It’s up to Blix and Emma to find out if she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time or is there more to Ruth-Kristine’s daughter’s disappearance than they thought.

Smoke Screen is a brilliant mix of thriller and police procedural, with the short and concise chapters it’s easy to devour in a few sittings.

For me, the characters really make this novel. Everyone from our main characters Blix and Emma to the suspects are well thought out and believable. I also enjoy the contrast of the experienced police officer Blix with the young and tenacious Emma. They seem an unlikely pairing and at times butt heads, but it’s great to read.  

The beginning of the book really grabbed me, but I felt there was a bit of a lull after the first few chapters, but the tense and nail biting end made up for it.

Smoke Screen is an entertaining and engaging read with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. I’m eagerly awaiting book three!

About The Authors:

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller. They are currently working on the third book in the Blix & Ramm series.

#BookReview The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone @OrendaBooks

Title: The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date Published: 20th August 2020

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

Running private investigator and funeral home businesses means trouble is never far away, and the Skelf women take on their most perplexing, chilling cases yet in book two of the darkly funny, devastatingly tense and addictive new Skelfs series!

‘Compelling, compassionate … just brilliant. This series gets better with every book. I cannot get enough of the Skelfs’ Mark Billingham

‘Confirms the Skelfs as a classic crime clan. I can’t wait for the next one’ Erin Kelly

‘I LOVE the Skelfs … The only problem with The Big Chill is that you’ll devour it so fast you’ll feel as bereft as one of the Skelfs’ clients … Doug Johnstone has murdered sleep’ Val McDermid

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral that matriarch Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life. 

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

 But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves sucked into an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Following three women as they deal with the dead, help the living and find out who they are in the process, The Big Chill follows A Dark Matter, book one in the Skelfs series, which reboots the classic PI novel while asking the big existential questions, all with a big dose of pitch-black humour.

Review:

I want to thank THE Book club Reviewer group and Orenda books for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I read the first book in this series, A Dark Matter, at the beginning of the year and is still one of my top reads in 2020 so far, so I was very excited for The Big Chill! I can safely say it lived up to my expectations.

I will say before I get too far into this review, that you should definitely read the first book before reading this one as events from the first have a knock on effect in this one.

This story starts off six months after the first book. The Skelf women are still struggling with what happened at the end of the last book but they’re trying to push through it and carry on as normal, or as normal as their lives are as funeral directing private investigators. 

Dorothy is pulled into an investigation after a car chase ends in tragedy in the midst of a funeral she’s conducting. Jenny is still trying to put the pieces of her life together. Hannah seems to be suffering the most, shutting out her girlfriend Indy and becoming obsessed with the suicide of one of her professors.

What I love about this series is the way there’s several different storylines/cases that are woven together expertly, so they’re easy to follow without confusion and not one overshadows the other too much. Honestly, like the first there’s never a dull moment in this book.

The story is also strengthened by the relationships between the three generations of the Skelf family, Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah. They’re complex and just so compelling, I genuinely love these characters!

The Big Chill is a fantastic piece of fiction that kept me glued to those pages. I can’t wait for more! 

About The Author:

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His tenth novel, Breakers, was published by Orenda Books in May 2019, and was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. His previous books include The Jump, shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Gone Again, an Amazon bestseller, and Hit & Run, which was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

Doug has been Writer in Residence with William Purves Funeral Directors. He is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow, and was RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh 2014-2016. Doug was also Writer in Residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He is also a manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy and Emergents in the Scottish Highlands. He has taught creative writing at festivals and conferences and regularly at Moniack Mhor, and he has mentored aspiring writers for New Writing North and Scottish Book Trust.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield as player-manager. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released three solo EPs. He plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a crime writing supergroup featuring Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver #BookReview

Title: Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver

Date Published: 12th June 2020

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Literary Thriller

Description:

Five days in the history of a small rural town, visited and infected by darkness, are recounted by Evil itself. A stunning high-concept thriller from the bestselling author of Good Samaritans and Nothing Important Happened Today.

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.

Making them steal.

Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone.

Evil had a plan.

Review:

I want to thank the The Book Club Reviewer group and Orenda books for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So I read Nothing Important Happened Today back in March and I was absolutely blown away by Will Carver’s writing so I was very excited when I got my copy of Hinton Hollow Death Trip.

What I didn’t realise while reading the previous book and this one, it’s actually part of a series but it’s easily read as a standalone. 

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is, well, a head trip a half! I mean I can’t think of another novel that’s narrated by evil itself.

The story follows Detective Sergeant Pace as he heads back to his hometown of Hinton Hollow, a small village of just over five thousand people. The story is set over just five days and my goodness what a terrifying ride it was! 

Beware before you going into this book, much like the previous book it’s dark and could prove upsetting as there’s some sensitive subjects like suicide, child deaths and animal creulty covered.

I have to be honest I didn’t find the style of this book a little choppy at times. Plus there were a couple of more minor storylines that I found a little distracting from the main story but of course that’s just my opinion.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is an original yet shocking read, perfect if you like your thrillers on the darker side. 

About The Author:

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Follow Will on Twitter @will_carver

I Am Dust by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview #IAmDust #DoYouBelieveInGhosts

Title: I Am Dust by Louise Beech

Date Published: 16th April 2020

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

I Am Dust BT Poster

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on this tour and Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I read Call Me Star girl by Louise Beech last year and I enjoyed it so I jumped at the chance to read this, especially when I found out there was a ghost involved, I love me a ghost story! 

I’m very much having a hard time writing a review for I Am Dust. I really wish I was a little bit more articulate to express how emotionally captivating this book was.

I wonder if I can just say ‘wow you need to read this book, it’s fan-bloody-tastic!’

Okay fine, I’ll try to write a proper review.

I Am Dust contains two timelines, expertly woven together, the first from 2005 and the second from 2019. In one we follow a teenage Chloe, along with her friends Jess and Ryan who decide to play with a Ouija board. The second is fourteen years later and Chloe is working in the Dean Wilson theatre, when she finds out that they are going to revive the musical Dust after twenty years and the death of the lead actress Morgan Miller. An old face from Chloe’s past pops up, bringing back memories that she’d long forgotten…

I Am Dust is a fantastic spooky tale set to the backdrop of teen angst, unrequited love and magic.

What I loved about Louise Beech’s other book is her ability to create realistic yet troubled characters and really get you to care about them. Chloe was no different. I really felt for her and rooted for her throughout the story.

The atmosphere in the book was amazing, I think it helped that it was set in a theatre, adding to a bit of magic and mysticism to the whole thing. I love the theatre and don’t go often enough (I know I can’t go right now because of the whole global pandemic but you get what I mean). 

After the ending I’m still a little sad now and I think I may have the beginnings of a book hangover.

I Am Dust is an atmospheric and intriguing novel that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions that you just don’t want to get off of.

About The Author:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was aLouise Beech Author pic Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

#BookReview The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith @evecsmith @OrendaBooks

Title: The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

Date Published: 9th April 2020

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Thriller

Description:

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable: a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms.’ Hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything.

Because Kate is not the only secret that her birth mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern world to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

Review:

I want to thank Orenda Books and THE Book Club Reviewer Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Waiting Rooms is a captivating, if slightly scary, read.

So I decided what better book to read during a pandemic is a book about a pandemic! As it happens this novel turned out to be so much more than that, the pandemic sort of fades into the background and it becomes more of a tale of love and loss.

Eve Smith has created a believable world not too far off from our own world, where the overuse of antibiotics had led to disease or injury, once easily treated, has become deadly. Over seventies are denied medication or treatment, they have the option to either end their lives or suffer their illness until the end. They are sent to ‘waiting rooms’ if they’re lucky they end up in a top notch nursing home, the less lucky ones end rotting away in flats.

The main story revolves around three women. Kate who’s adoptive mother has just died leading her to look for her birth mother. Lily, who is just coming up for her seventieth birthday and is afraid that someone from her past is coming back to haunt her. Then there’s Mary whose POV starts before the crisis and goes to the root of what happened.  Each character is really fleshed out and flawed, you almost think that they’re real.

The parts that were set in Africa were amazing and descriptive, I could almost picture myself there while I was reading.

If I’m going to nitpick here, certain aspects of the story were a little predictable but of course that’s just my opinion.

The Waiting room has realistic characters and an evocative story line that makes it an almost hypnotising read.

About The Author:

Eve Smith’s debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Firsteve c smith Novel Award. Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.

Eve’s flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago to set up home with her husband.

When she’s not writing, she’s racing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.

Follow Eve: @evecsmith & www.evesmithauthor.com

Instagram: evesmithauthor

#BlogTour #Review #DeathDeserved by Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger @EngerThomas @LierHorst @OrendaBooks @annecater

Title: Death Deserved by Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger

Translated by: Anne Bruce

Date Published: 6th February 2020

Publisher: Orenda Books 

Genre: Nordic Noir 

Description:

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. 

Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just

not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flair for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Death Deserved BT Poster

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on this blog tour and Orenda book for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Death Deserved is the first co-written novel between Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger and I really hope there are going to be more.

When Sonya Nordstrøm doesn’t show up for the launch of her controversial new autobiography, celebrity blogger Emma Ramm pays her a visit. At Sonya’s house there’s signs of a struggle so she calls the police. Alexander Blix is dispatched to investigate. What they both don’t realise is that this is just the beginning of a sadistic game that will come too close to home…

Death Deserved is one of those novels that keeps you on your toes throughout, you’re never quite sure what clever plot twist the authors are going to throw at you!  

It’s been a while since I’ve read any Scandi-noir and this book really reminds me why I love the genre so much. It’s tense, it’s dark, and honestly there’s never a dull moment.

I loved both Emma and Blix. It’s a little bit of an odd pairing, a blogger and a police officer but it works well for the story. Both characters have emotional baggage and a few surprising secrets. I really enjoyed watching their relationship progress through the story. 

Death Deserved is an utterly gripping read that I’d definitely recommend if you love good police procedural.

About The Authors

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense.  Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.