Wednesday 21 July 2021

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir BLOG TOUR @evaaegisdottir @OrendaBooks t. Victoria Cribb #GirlsWhoLie #ForbiddenIceland


When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she’s taken her own life … until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

Breathtakingly chilling and tantalisingly twisty, Girls Who Lie is at once a startling, tense psychological thriller and a sophisticated police procedural, marking Eva Björg Ægisdottir as one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir was published digitally by Orenda Books on 22 May 2021. The paperback edition is released on 22 July 2021. Girls Who Lie is the second in the Forbidden Iceland series and is translated by Victoria Cribb.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour.

I read and reviewed the first in this series; A Creak on the Stairs, back in October last year and was totally and utterly hooked. That book went on to win the Crime Writer's Association, CWA New Blood Dagger award, and was so well deserved. 

Ægisdottir is back with yet another tantalising and gripping case for police officer Elma and her colleagues and in this, she has proved for sure that she's no one-hit-wonder. Here's an author who is going from strength to strength, creating plot lines that thrill whilst dealing with some of darkest and disturbing issues that push people to behave so badly. 

Elma is a complex and fascinating character. She's been back in her home town of Arkranes for just over a year, having spent time with the Reykjavik force. Despite the small size of the the town, she's been kept pretty busy over the past twelve months; not just with work, she's also dealing with her own personal issues, and whilst these are many, they never impact on her professionalism. Elma is loyal and true and a determined police officer, always going that extra little bit, to ensure justice is done. 

When the decaying remains of a woman's body are found in the lava fields it soon becomes clear that this is Maríanna; a single mother who went missing seven months ago. It was always suspected that she had taken her own life, having left an apologetic note for her teenage daughter Hekla. Maríanna was not always the best mother. Young Hekla had been abandoned in the past, on more than one occasion, and is now living with foster parents who clearly adore her. However, further investigation reveals that this is not a suicide and that Maríanna was murdered. 

Elma and her police partner Sævar take on the investigation and as is often the case, it soon becomes clear that there are plenty of potential suspects. Despite the size of Arkanes, there are many secrets simmering just below the surface. 

Interwoven between the present-day action, the author brings us passages written by an unknown woman, almost diary form, and these are chilling and so very dark. The reader will come to all sorts of conclusions when reading these, impacting on what we expect to happen. Be prepared for shocks and twists a plenty though, never assume ... 

Victoria Cribb's excellent translation adds so much to this wonderful slice of Nordic Noir. The reader is transported to the desolate, bitterly cold landscape of Iceland, and thrust into the middle of the small community of Arkanes, whilst also being privy to the innermost thoughts of the characters. 

This is crime writing at its finest and I'm not sure how Ægisdottir will top this one, although I am excited about finding out where Elma goes next. 

Finely detailed and perfectly plotted, Girls Who Lie is thoroughly gripping and lushly atmospheric. There's a feeling of menace that runs throughout; not from the murder plot, but from the workings of damaged minds and how they go on to seek their revenge. 

Absolutely recommended by me. 

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. 
After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. 
It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland, going on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. The Creak on the Stairs was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020, and became a number-one bestseller in ebook in three countries, and shortlisted for the Capital Crime/Amazon Publishing Awards in two categories. 
Girls Who Lie, the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series, was published in 2021. 

Dubbed the ‘Icelandic Ruth Rendell’ by the British press, Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. 

Follow Eva on Twitter @evaaegisdottir

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