Tuesday 25 July 2023

You Can't See Me by Eva Björg Ægisdottir BLOG TOUR #YouCantSeeMe @evaaegisdottir @OrendaBooks #IcelandNoir #BookReview


The wealthy, powerful Snæberg clan has gathered for a family reunion at a futuristic hotel set amongst the dark lava flows of Iceland's remote  peninsula.

 Petra Snæberg, a successful interior designer, is anxious about the event, and her troubled teenage daughter, Lea, whose social-media presence has attracted the wrong kind of followers. Ageing carpenter Tryggvi is an outsider, only tolerated because he's the boyfriend of Petra's aunt, but he's struggling to avoid alcohol because he knows what happens when he drinks … Humble hotel employee, Irma, is excited to meet this rich and famous family and observe them at close quarters … perhaps too close…

 As the weather deteriorates and the alcohol flows, one of the guests disappears, and it becomes clear that there is a prowler lurking in the dark.

But is the real danger inside … within the family itself?

 Masterfully cranking up the suspense, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir draws us into an isolated, frozen setting, where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted, as the dark secrets and painful pasts of the Snæberg family are uncovered … and the shocking truth revealed.

 Succession meets And Then There Were None … A Golden Age mystery for the 21st Century, with a shocking twist.

You Can't See Me by Eva Björg Ægisdottir was published in paperback on 6 July 2023 by Orenda Books and is the prequel story to the Forbidden Iceland series. It was translated by Victoria Cribb. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

I can't think of many things that are more satisfying than discovering a new author and loving their work.
Eva Björg Ægisdottir's Forbidden Iceland hooked me from the amazing first book The Creak on the Stairs, I have eagerly awaited each new instalment ever since. 

You Can't See Me is a prequel to the series. It is set just before Elma, the lead character from the series joins the Arkanes police force, and does feature two of her colleagues.

Whilst this is a crime novel, with a death and a police investigation, it could also be classed as a delightful and impressively constructed piece of domestic noir. Focussing on one of Iceland's most influential, wealthy and well known families, the Snæbergs.

This is a large family whose wealth was created by a man who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in the coming weeks. To acknowledge him, the family have booked out a high class, ultra modern hotel on the Snæfellsnes peninsular.

The reader is introduced to each character at the beginning of the story (there is also a handy family tree illustration included, for reference). There are four main voices in the narration, and each of those are unique and distinct. 

Irma is the only one of those voices who is not part of the family. She's a hotel employee who has become obsessed with following the family on social media. She's excited at the thought of being amongst them for a few days. 

The reader becomes a guest at the hotel party too. Privy to the drinking, the tension, the barbed remarks. We can see so much more of the characters, we know their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities and their problems. We are aware of so much more than even the characters that are close to one another. 

And then, a body is found. We are unaware of who the victim is, we have no idea who the murderer could be, or even if it was criminal, maybe it was an accident?  It is the job of police officers 
Sævar and Hörður to determine the facts of the death, and to ensure that any wrongdoing is uncovered. 

Once again, this magical author has transported me to the desolate Icelandic landscape and served up a story that is addictive, unexpected and utterly compelling. He ability to create characters so well is superb, and whilst the reader may not like all of them, they will certainly find them totally real.

An author who seems to get better with every book that she produces. Her grasp on plot and structure is undeniably precise, with nothing added that doesn't need to be there. 

Chilling and unforgettable, the author has earned her place amongst the best nordic noir crime writers.

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study her MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. 
After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. 
Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland. 
Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel, The Creak on the Stairs. 
The book went on to win the CWA Debut Dagger, the Blackbird Award, was shortlisted (twice) for the Capital Crime Readers' Awards, and became a number one bestseller in Iceland. 
The critically acclaimed Girls Who Lie (book two in the Forbidden Iceland series) soon followed, with Night Shadows (book three) following suit in July 2022. 
Eva lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík.

Twitter @evaaegisdottir
Instagram @evabjorg88

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