#BlogTour! #Review – #InTheAbsenceofMiracles by Michael J Malone (@michaeljmalone1) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater

Next up on TWG today is my review of ‘In The Absence of Miracles’ by Michael.J.Malone. Many thanks to Orenda and Anne for the blog tour invite and ARC.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

What does TWG think?

Gosh, I don’t really know where to begin. ‘In The Absence of Miracles’ is such a unique story, one that is incredibly topical in todays society.

I would feel incredibly uncomfortable if I sat here and said that I loved this book because of the subject matter discussed, however, even though there were moments of discomfort on my part, I really enjoyed the way in which Michael J Malone delivered the story.

My opinions on the characters changed multiple times throughout the story as one moment I felt empathy towards John’s mother and anger towards John, and then the next moment those opinions reversed.

I was completely blindsided by the eventualities that were uncovered by John’s journey, many of which were difficult to read, yet the reality of said situations are difficult, distressing and often harrowing. Michael J Malone seemed to really get into the psyche of his characters which really made the emotional scenes come to life.

‘In The Absence of Miracles’ may be a dark, harrowing and destructive read, yet it is also a compelling, emotive, poignant and relatable story which describes the journey of locked away emotions, hidden agendas, as well as the miracle of learning how to protect yourself, even if you never realised you had to.

An incredible read that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Stalker by #LarsKepler @AAKnopf @crimebythebook #StalkerBook

Having started and read ‘Stalker’ in one day, I am beyond excited to be reviewing the book for the blog tour today! Huge thanks to Abigail for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of ‘Stalker’ by Lars Kepler:

The internationally bestselling authors of The Sandman and The Hypnotist return with a terrifying new thriller: Detective Joona Linna–recently returned from compassionate leave–reunites with hypnotist Erik Maria Bark in a search for a seemingly unassailable

sadistic killer.

The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do.

 

Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna’s worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things.

Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he’s beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars–and a serial killer still on the loose. . .

 

What does TWG think?

Oh my BLEEPING goodness!!!!!!!! Why have I never picked up a Lars Kepler novel until now?! Omg – I still can’t get my head around what I read, so I apologise in advance if there is a lot of ‘omg!’ and sentences which make no sense at all. Obviously I would prefer it if the review was coherent….but I can’t promise anything!!!

So, ‘Stalker’ was the first book I had read by the dynamic duo, Lars Kepler. Yes, it is part of a series, and no you do not need to have read the previous four books before you read this one – in my opinion, obviously. At around 500 odd pages, I honestly thought that it would end up being a story which just went on and on. It wasn’t. I was actually quite surprised by how concise the book was considering it was of great length, so much so, I started and finished the book in one day! Unfortunately I had to put the book down a couple of times as the child and pets needed feeding….how selfish of them to want food!!!!

It’s safe to say that my bank account will take a bit of a hit this week as I aim to purchase the other four books in paperback, as well as this one. Do you think I loved it?! Short answer: OMG YES! Seriously, I was absolutely hooked by the twisted turn of events, the psychologically damaging storyline, and the incredibly nauseating and vivid descriptions of certain characters actions. Yes, that’s right, I used the word ‘nauseating’ as a positive. Who would have thought it?!

‘Stalker’ isn’t a read for the faint hearted or people who have an aversion to blood. Although saying that, you might get an aversion to blood whilst reading this – a lot is lost! The storyline is fast paced in places, slow paced in others, yet the level of intensity throughout the entire book was absolutely phenomenal.

I loved the array of dynamic characters, each one adding their flaws into the storyline to create a multi layered read which, if I were wearing any, would have totally blown my socks off! I was absolutely shocked by the conclusion as I had tried to work out my own ‘whodunnit’, but ended up failing miserably. I think the fact the authors dropped red herring after red herring, whilst also pointing bloody fingers at one character in particular, it was only natural for me to follow those instincts and think that they were the one who had done it. Obviously at the time I didn’t know the pieces of information I was using as glue to my puzzle pieces, were in fact red herrings. It just goes to show how complex the minds of Lars Kepler are, and the complexity of the storyline itself. Clearly not everything is as it seems, right?!

It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that ‘Stalker’ is now a very strong contender for my top book of 2019. Wow, seriously, ‘Stalker’ is an jawdroppingly, gritty, read which left me wanting more. Outstanding beyond belief. The book may have been long in pages, but it felt like one of the quickest books I’ve ever read. I can not recommend this enough!

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number one internationally bestselling Joona Linna series has sold more than twelve million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were

both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden. Translated by Neil Smith.

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#BlogTour! #Review – Red Snow by Will Dean (@willrdean) @PtBlankBks #Tuva2 #RedSnow @AnneCater

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Squeal! I am beyond excited to share my review of Will Dean’s ‘Red Snow’, the second book in the ‘Tuva Moodyson’ series. Huge, huge thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Point Blank Books for the ARC (and Will Dean for signing it!!). Here is my review as part of the blog tour:

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Red Snow is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, selected for ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

What does TWG think?

I know the popular saying is ‘never eat yellow snow’, but who agrees that it should be ‘never eat yellow AND red snow’?! For those who aren’t aware, ‘Red Snow’ is the follow-up to Will Dean’s previous novel, ‘Dark Pines’. I hadn’t manage to read the first book before I read this one, and I still haven’t, however I managed to follow the story perfectly well without having the background information of the first. That said, I thought that ‘Red Snow’ was absolutely brilliant and I can assure you that I will be reading ‘Dark Pines’ as soon as humanly possible!!

I don’t even know how to write this review! Seriously! I have never, ever read a book like ‘Red Snow’ before! First of all, the storyline had me hooked before the page numbers reached double figures. Second of all, the entire storyline was laced with intricate complexities which were seamlessly brought together to create such an intense, and addictive read. Thirdly, those characters! Wow! I can’t even begin to imagine how long it took the author to create the multi-layered, flawed, realistic characters like the ones in this book.

Take Tuva for example – she just did not give a monkeys yet still seemed to have the largest heart of all. She was clearly good at her job, but she didn’t seem to understand just when to stop before she found herself knee-deep in snow. And there’s the Grimberg’s! I thought CiCi was absolutely brilliant in a weird and wonderful way. Creepy, I shall be honest, but she had a vibe about her that urged me to find out more.

It’s not often that I find myself reading a book set in Sweden, so when I do, it makes a nice change to ‘visit’ a place I know very little about. I ended up sitting on Google (not literally) to find out more about the place in question – I honestly thought Will Dean was joking when it came to the temperatures! Bloomin’ eck!!

As I said at the start, I thought that this book was absolutely phenomenal! I loved reading about the intense and extremely thrilling situations involving the Grimberg’s! Shivers just kept going up and down my spine whilst I read the book, and no, it wasn’t because of the minus temperatures! Will Dean is an exceptional, exceptional author whose attention to detail is mind-blowing. Usually when I read other books and they contain random pieces of information that make you think ‘what the….?, I can’t help but think the storyline is being padded out, however when Will Dean included those little snippets, it just worked. It was as though the description of the lights outside the pub NEEDED to be in the storyline. Everything Will Dean wrote in the book had a purpose – I really appreciated every word the author wrote. Like I say, I adored it.

I urge you all to put ‘Red Snow’ on your TBR piles pronto! Fantastically written, utterly addictive, and a very strong contender for my top book of 2019…already!!!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheChestnutMan by Søren Sveistrup #SørenSveistrup @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks

Excuse my 1.5hr lateness, I have literally just finished reading it! I am very excited to be sharing my review of ‘The Chestnut Man’ by the writer of ‘The Killing’, Søren Sveistrup. Many thanks to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

THE DEBUT NOVEL FROM THE CREATOR AND WRITER OF THE KILLING

One blustery October morning in a quiet suburb of Copenhagen, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts. 

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead – the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. 

The man who confessed to her murder is behind bars and the case is long since closed. 

Soon afterwards, another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

What does TWG think?

If you had said to me before I started blogging, that I would be reading a book about brutal killings, gruesome discoveries, and thrilling content which will make you hope that anything from your stomach stayed there, I would have burst out laughing. Seriously. I wouldn’t have wanted to read it, let alone enjoy it. It’s funny how things change though, isn’t it!! Fast forward nearly three years and I have read and enjoyed the exact book I said I wouldn’t read. Why? Because I like stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to books, and ‘The Chestnut Man’ certainly didn’t disappoint!

At just shy of 500 pages, ‘The Chestnut Man’ is quite a gutsy novel and, due to the intricate and detailed content throughout, the storyline does require a bit of brainpower and concentration. People usually associate chestnuts with Christmas time or as a snack in chocolate, whereas this author does not.

Chestnuts are heavily involved in this story (not just in the title), due to multiple killings where chestnuts are left at the scene of the crime in the form of a Chestnut man. Whilst it’s clear that no killing is a ‘usual’ killing, the fact that the sadistic ahem behind these killings enjoys amputating his victims, highlights the fact that they clearly aren’t textbook events. If there is such a thing, but I’m sure you know what I mean!

The details of the amputations are described very vividly early on in the book, as are the gruesome murders, both of which caused my face to contort in a very ugly manner. Usually said gruesome descriptions would have had me running for the hills, yet weirdly I couldn’t help but find myself gripping hold of the book even tighter. I was absolutely hooked. Who was ‘The Chestnut Man’? Why did he set his sights on particular people? Why were chestnuts even involved? Would Thulin and Hess ever reach the bottom of a case that just kept getting more and more complicated?

There are a lot of characters to keep tabs on in this book, and sometimes the too-ing and fro-ing between them all, as well as trying to remember who was who and who worked where, did end up making me a bit confused on more than one occasion. It took me a little while to slot all the characters into place in my mind, but once I did I found the storyline much smoother on that front.

I did struggle to gel with Thulin and Hess at times, but the fact that they were so different created fireworks in the story which were brilliant to read. I could understand their frustration though, as the case kept expanding quicker than they were solving it.

‘The Chestnut Man’ is a very in depth novel, but it is one that has been written in a way that made my jaw drop. The intensity through this book was out of this world, and the descriptions were brutal yet highly gripping. I couldn’t tear my eyes away even if I wanted to.

I had no idea what to expect from this book, however I have come away with a new author to watch and a storyline which I reckon I will be thinking about for a long time to come. Gruesomely thrilling – I’ll never look at a Chestnut in the same way ever again!!

‘The Chestnut Man’ will be published on the 10th January but is available to pre-order now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir (@lilja1972) @orendabooks @annecater

Huge thank you to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for having me on the blog tour for ‘Trap’! Here is my review:

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

What Does TWG think?

I hold my hands up and say that up until ‘Trap’, I hadn’t read the author’s previous book, Snare, which I have since found out that it is the first book in the series. I quite happily read ‘Trap’ as a stand-alone though, that said, just like other series, you may benefit from reading the books in order so that you don’t miss out on any little pieces of information.

I’m not sure what to think of this book to be honest – whilst I found the suspense brilliantly crafted, I felt a little out of my depth due to being a newbie on the ‘Nordic noir’ front. Not the author’s issue at all, it just means that I need to read more! Even with the translator making things easier for readers at the beginning, I couldn’t even begin to work out how to say some of the place names! This is coming from someone who struggles to say ‘railway station’.

Even though I spent a lot of the book out of my depth, I could still appreciate just how well the author can tell a story. I was transfixed by Sonja’s journey and out of the different journeys covered in the storyline, I enjoyed the dynamics behind Sonja’s life the best.

All in all, ‘Trap’ was a pleasant, unique read which kept me thoroughly entertained – I enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone with this one!

About the author.

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

#BlogTour! #Review – Chilling Tales of the Unexpected (Box set 4 in 1) by Ann Girdharry (@GirdharryAnn) @RaRaResources

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Day three of the blog tour is with me, TWG, and I am spoiling you all by reviewing a boxset containing FOUR short stories in one. Yes, that’s right. You get FOUR short stories in one. Bargain or what? Big thank you to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

Box Set Cover
Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

What does TWG think?

Just like my previous reviews of short stories, this one will be short and sweet because really, how much can one write in a review about a short story, without giving anything away?

I am a big fan of Ann Girdharry’s previous novels, so I was very eager to get stuck into this little gem of a box set. If you haven’t read any books by Ann Girdharry before, prepare to be taken on a rather dark and twisted journey. This author doesn’t do thing by halves, that’s for sure!

‘Chilling Tales of the Unexpected’ contains four short stories; ‘Trading With Death’, ‘Tell Me a Secret’, ‘Sweet Justice; and ‘Written on the Apple Tree’. Even though all four stories each have dark foundations, they are all incredibly different. I’m not really one for books which contain mystical or fantasy elements, yet Ann Girdharry makes it work alongside multiple thrilling themes. If those weren’t included, I don’t think I would have enjoyed reading them as much as I did.

All of the stories are short which means that you can read all four in one go, or you can pick them up to read at a later date. Because I chose to read them all in one go, I had to have a couple of minutes breathing space between stories, just so that I wouldn’t get confused by the overlap. If I had to choose my favourite story from all four, it would probably have to be ‘Sweet Justice’, because the shock element was incredibly strong and brought goosebumps to my skin like they meant business.

I would definitely recommending this box set, especially if you haven’t read any other books by Ann Girdharry as you’ll get a little taster of her writing style with each of the four stories. Highly recommended, gripping and very entertaining reads. But then thinking about it, when does Ann Girdharry ever disappoint?

Buy now!

About the author.

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links –

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl (@Xandrabo) @HoZ_Books

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What would you do for the perfect life?

Would you lie? Cheat? Or… kill?

Cecilia Wilborg has the perfect life. A handsome husband, two beautiful daughters and a luxurious home in the picture-postcard town of Sandefjord. She’s the type of woman people envy, and she wants to keep it that way.

Then Tobias enters her life. He’s a gentle, lonely eight-year-old boy. But he threatens to bring Cecilia’s world crashing down…

What does TWG think?

Ahh this one is going to be a tough book to review!

If I were to describe ‘The Boy at the Door’ in three words based on the concept alone, I would confidently say; twisted, dark and devious. However, if I were to describe this book in three words based on the content, I would say that it was confusing, uncertain and difficult.

Why?

Because whilst I enjoyed the overall premise of ‘The Boy at the Door’, I found the way in which the storyline was delivered, highly confusing. At times it felt like I was supposed to know more about the characters and the setting than that I actually did, making me feel as though I was missing a vital puzzle piece when it came to the hard-hitting moments. That said, I fully admit that there were times where I felt like I couldn’t continue with the book, yet due to the high intrigue level, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the storyline as I needed to know what happened to the boy and why Cecilia acted like she knew a lot more than she let on.

‘The Boy at the Door’ is interesting, very dark and weirdly addictive. I enjoyed the different setting, but I just wish that the delivery was less confusing. All in all, I definitely wouldn’t rule out reading another book by this author in the future!

Buy now

About the author.

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she currently divides her time between London and Sandefjord.

Twitter: @Xandrabo

Facebook: @alexdahlauthor

 

#BlogTour! Re-posting my #Review – 88 North by J.F.Kirwan (@kirwanjf) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources

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Super excited to have the opportunity to re-post my review of J.F.Kirwan’s ’88 North’ as part of the blog tour organised by RaRaResources! A fantastic book – I can’t recommend it enough! Here is my review:

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The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does.

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right above one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come…

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

The gripping third and final novel in J.F. Kirwan’s brilliant spy thriller series. Perfect for fans of Charles Cumming, Mark Dawson and Adam Brookes.

What does TWG think?

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be hooked on a spy thriller series, I would have laughed in your face. I have never really paid much attention to, nor had much interest in, spy novels. I’ve always thought of them as ‘boy novels’, stupidly. So, when I was approached to read J.F.Kirwan’s previous novel ’37 Hours’, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a running leap out of my comfort zone, to read J.F.Kirwan’s novel. Of course I thought to myself, ‘nahhhhh, I won’t like it’, yet I was pleasantly surprised when I absolutely flipping loved it. Because of that, my excitement to read ’88 North’ was through the roof. Would Nadia complete what she set out to do? Would Salamander STILL rule the roost? So many questions, so little time. I would be lying if I said that my heart wasn’t in my mouth the entire time – because it was.

Once again J.F.Kirwan has written such a complex, intense and jaw dropping storyline, which makes talking about this book even more difficult as each event in the storyline is linked with another one, therefore not only would the chances of giving away one piece of information be extremely high, the chances of giving away multiple pieces of information are through the roof. I don’t wish to be the person who gives away an entire storyline, yet I would love to be able to shout about this book and say, ‘WHAT ABOUT THE PART WHEN…….’. Seriously.

Seeing as it had been a little while between reading the books in the series, it did take me a little while to get back into the swing of the storyline. That said, I guess you could read this book as a standalone. But in my personal opinion, I would advise you to grab the previous two books before you read this one just so that you can read all of the events in order, and so that you know each of the main characters back stories.

Reading ’88 North’ really was bittersweet as whilst I was super excited about delving into the book, I was gutted that as soon as I came to the last page, the series was now at an end. I didn’t want it to finish but I whole heartedly understand that Nadia’s story had to be left somewhere, and that carrying it on could weaken the overall feel of the storyline.

I’m not sure whether it was just me, but I found this storyline to contain a lot more gore than the previous book and, whilst I would usually shy away from that sort of thing, all of the blood and gore fit one hundred percent. In all honesty, I don’t think the storyline would have made such an impact on me if it contained no elements of gore. It needed all of that to bring Nadia’s story to life even more, as weird as that sounds but I’m hoping that that makes sense to a lot of you.

J.F.Kirwan has quickly become one of my all-time favourite authors with his dark, gritty, suspenseful and utterly incredibly storylines. If it wasn’t for this author, I don’t think that I would have dared to step outside of my comfort zone to read, and fall in love with (as weird as that sounds) with this spy thriller series. I could not put this book down and to be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to either.

Jaw-droppingly brilliant, ’88 North’ is the icing on the cake where Nadia Laksheva is concerned. A brilliant finale to a phenomenal series, I would recommend this book, and the series, time and time again.

Outstanding!!!

Buy now from Amazon UK.

Author Bio

J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having
worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Author links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook

#BlogTour! #Review – The Man Who Died by @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks

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Delighted to be involved in another jam-packed blog tour courtesy of the lovely Orenda Books! Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the tour, and a huge thank you to Orenda for the ARC. I am so excited to share my review with you all today. Enjoy!

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A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

What does TWG think?

I’ll be honest, I had absolutely no idea about this novel to begin with, yet there was part of me which couldn’t help thinking that I wouldn’t like it. I don’t know whether that was because the cover is so different to what usually catches my eye, or whether I was just apprehensive about starting a novel quite a distance out of my comfort zone.

However, after reading a mere couple of pages, I could not put the book down. There was just something so addictive about a man and his mushrooms, that I felt as though the author had put a spell on me with his severe level of intrigue. Daft maybe? Quite possibly!

I genuinely have never read a book like this before. Straight away I was confronted by a situation which seemed severely outlandish yet in the same vein – highly addictive. Jaakko is dying due to a high level of toxins in his body. Toxins which have appeared in his bloodstream rather steadily over a certain amount of time. The thing is, Jaakko has absolutely no idea how those toxins got there, nor does he know whether it was deliberate or a cruel twist of fate. Whilst that makes perfect sense overall, I couldn’t help but think ‘what on Earth?’ as I speedily changed the pages in the book.

Look, picking up a book about a man and his mushrooms isn’t usually high on my list. BUT, I think Antti Tuomainen may have just changed my mind on that. The entire storyline was exceptionally written. So many clever and thought out situations in amongst rather funny and bonkers moments, meant that my intrigue level was at its maximum and that I wouldn’t be stopping reading it for anyone.

Many parts of this book were rather gorey, yet in a weird way it added even more character to an already brilliant novel. Usually I would turn my head away or read those vivid details through my fingers, but this time I got stuck in as I didn’t want to miss a single thing about this storyline.

Going from thinking I wouldn’t like the book to absolutely loving it, is an extreme change of mind I’m not going to lie. However, the author deserves to be applauded for being able to change my mind in a matter of pages.

‘The Man Who Died’ is a witty, thrilling, intense, and highly addictive read which left me feeling extremely excited about whatever the author may bring out next. I absolutely loved this book. It made me laugh, it kept me guessing and not only that, it kept me on the edge of my seat in anticipation – waiting for the next highly suspenseful event to take place.

A brand new author for me and a brand new style of book, but I can honestly say that Antti Tuomainen now has a fan for life in TWG. Remarkable.

Thanks Orenda!

(The Man Who Died was written by Antti Tuomainen and translated by David Hackston)

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