Thursday 31 August 2023

Murder at the Residence by Stella Blómkvist Trans. Quentin Bates BLOG TOUR #MurderAtTheResidence #StellaBlomkvist @Graskegur @CorylusB #BookReview


It’s New Year and Iceland is still reeling from the effects of the financial crash when a notorious financier is found beaten to death after a high-profile reception at the President’s residence.

The police are certain they have the killer – or do they? Determined to get to the truth, maverick lawyer Stella Blómkvist isn’t so sure.

A stripper disappears from one of city’s seediest nightspots, and nobody but Stella seems interested in finding her. A drug mule cooling his heels in a prison cell refuses to speak to anyone but Stella – although she’s never heard of him. An old man makes a deathbed confession and request for Stella to find the family he lost long ago.

With a sharp tongue and a moral compass all of her own, Stella Blómkvist has a talent for attracting trouble and she’s as at home in the corridors of power as in the dark corners of Reykjavík’s underworld.

Stella Blómkvist delivers an explosive mix of murder, intrigue and surprise, and is one of Iceland’s best-loved crime series.

Murder at the Residence by Stella Blómkvist was published by Corylus Books on 28 August 2023 and is translated by Quentin Bates. My thanks to the publisher who sent my book for review as part of this Blog Tour. 

This is the first of the Stella Blómkvist books to be translated for Corylus Books. The series is huge in Iceland and is also a major TV series. I hadn't heard of these books before, but after reading this first one, I'm already a fan! 

Stella is fabulous lead character, she's spiky, unusual, sometimes naughty and always on the ball. Whilst this is a relatively short novel of just over 250 pages, it is a truly a belter of a read. Packed with action, mystery and a great dose of humour too.

Stella is a well-known lawyer in Reykjavík, she often gets involved in cases that she thinks are being mishandled by the police. She really doesn't have much time for the force at all, nicknaming them 'the blackbirds' and speaking about them with scorn and mistrust. 

This story opens on New Year's Eve, Iceland is still recovering from the recent financial crash and Stella really wants to get drunk and have a good night. She's a solitary figure, roaming the streets and these scenes really set the reader up to discover more about her, and about the country. 

The President has hosted a very high profile drinks party at his residence and one of his guests, a very well know financier is found battered to death at a nearby church. The police are certain that they have the killer, but Stella is not so sure. She makes it her goal to discover the truth, whilst also working on her current cases. 

As Stella questions more and more people and begins to find links in all of her cases, the mystery deepens. The police chief is not happy about her so-called interference, and the local crime underworld are certainly not pleased that she's involved either. 

I love the character of Stella, she's a breath of fresh air in what can often be an genre overcrowded by stereotypical male characters. The insight into the workings of the Icelandic government, along with the darkest criminal behaviour is excellent, and readers will see that actually, there's not that much of a difference between them! Surprise, surprise. 

A fabulous introduction to Stella, I'm really looking forward to the next books in the series. 

The tales featuring razor-tongued Reykjavík lawyer Stella Blómkvist – with her taste for
neat whiskey, a liking for easy money and a moral compass all of her own – have been bestsellers in Iceland since the first of Stella’s escapades appeared in print back in the 1990s.

Since then, the author who calls herself (or himself) Stella Blómkvist has managed to remain anonymous. There has been endless speculation about who really writes the Stella Blómkvist novels, with the spotlight having focused over the years on numerous politicians, authors, journalists and others in the public eye. But so far the pseudonym still hasn’t been cracked.

The question of Stella Blómkvist’s identity is one that crops up regularly, but it looks like it’s going to remain a mystery…

Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap
year working in Iceland. 

He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, Cold Comfort and Thin Ice which have been published worldwide. 

He has translated all of Ragnar Jonasson' s Dark Iceland series.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Three Card Murder by J L Blackhurst @JennyBlackhurst @HQstories @beccimansell #ThreeCardMurder #BookReview


DI Tess Fox’s first murder scene has two big problems. One, the victim was thrown from the balcony of a flat locked from the inside. Two, Tess knows him.

But the biggest problem of all is Tess’s half-sister, Sarah. She has links to the deceased and has the skills and criminal background to mastermind a locked-room murder. But she’s a con-artist, not a killer.

When two more bodies turn up, Tess now has three locked room mysteries to solve and even more reason to be suspicious of Sarah. Can she trust someone who breaks the law for a living, even if she is family?

Three Card Murder by J L Blackhurst is published on 31 August 2023 by HQ. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

J L Blackhurst is better know as Jenny Blackhurst, the author of some amazing psychological thrillers that I would highly recommend. I was fascinated to see that she had written a police procedural, more of a traditional crime novel using a pseudonym, and was very eager to read it.

I have to comment on the amazing cover for this novel. I think it is so striking and will really stand out on the bookshop shelves, something a little different and a fabulous design. 

Three Card Murder is an outstanding read, I was hooked from the first chapter, totally pulled in by the intriguing and mysterious prologue that features two girls at a fairground. When the story begins, these two girl are now women. Tess is a Detective Inspector and Sarah is an expert con-artist. They are also half-sisters, with the same father, but have had very little to do with one another through their lives.  Tess was brought up by a mother who didn't like to talk about her dad, and when she did finally meet him and Sarah, things didn't work out so well. These women have a massive secret, one that could destroy their lives, and certainly put Tess out of a job. 

Tess is working on her first murder case. It appears that the victim's throat was cut before he was pushed off the balcony of his flat. However, the flat is locked from the inside and there's absolutely no way that the murderer can have left the building unseen. Another major issue is the fact that Tess knows the victim, and the clue that she finds at the scene tells her that the murderer knows that. 

Tess has no option but to contact Sarah, for this case is linked to the events of years ago, and there's only Sarah who knows the truth. This leads to the sisters trying to create a relationship that is very strained, yet essential if they are to solve the crime, but keep their secret safe. 

The story moves at a fast paced and is filled with incredible con tricks. Sarah really is a master at her craft, taught well by their father and at the top of her game. Even the smallest cons are incredible; and had me totally intrigued throughout. 

Both female lead characters are so well created, with their back stories and current lifestyles portrayed very well, the reader cannot help but cheer them both on, despite Sarah's trickery and life of fraud! 

Blackhurst knits the story together so well, and the final reveal is not one that I anticipated, or expected.

This is an exciting and satisfying read, one that kept me gripped throughout and I really do hope that we can expect more from Tess and Sarah. Highly recommended.

J.L. Blackhurst is a pseudonym for Jenny Blackhurst who was born and grew up in Shropshire, where she still lives with her husband, two boys and two beagles. 

She has a Masters degree in Occupational Psychology and has worked in administration for the Fire Service and retail management before leaving to write full time. 

She wrote her first book, How I Lost You after giving birth to her son in 2011 and since has written seven psychological thrillers, her first of which won her a silver Nielsen award and became a kindle number one bestseller in the UK and a Spiegel Bestselleren in Germany. 

She can solve a Rubix cube in three minutes.



Sunday 27 August 2023

The Girl Who Never Came Back by Suzanne Goldring #BooksOnTour @SuzanneGoldring @bookouture #TheGirlWhoNeverCameBack #WWIIFiction #BookReview


Someone is trying to hide what really happened to her. I must do anything to discover the truth. Even risk my own life….

Paris 1945. I sent nineteen-year-old Phyllis, my youngest recruit, into a city crawling with enemy soldiers. But she was smart as a tack, and her gold-flecked hazel eyes could capture anyone’s hearts. I was certain she would succeed. But then she disappeared without a trace. And no one will help me discover what happened to her.

I am desperate to find her – the girl I told to lie to her family about where she was going. She was excited to be doing her bit, but she was young and naïve. It was my job to make her understand the peril she would face. Is it my fault she is missing?

Now I creep into a beautiful house on a tree-lined street, the headquarters of cold-hearted German soldiers. It was the last place she was seen. I trail my fingers along the gilded furniture and see the light dance off the glittering chandeliers. On the top floor, I find the dates inscribed by beaten prisoners, and my heart sinks as I realise she was shown no mercy here.

As I search for the answers her family are begging for, I learn that the girl I swore to protect was moved around in secret. And when I find a message scratched on a food tin in a damp cell, I know I am getting closer to Phyllis at last…

But there are some who want the secrets of the war to be left in the past. Someone is sending me threatening letters, trying to scare me to stop... In finding answers about the girl who haunts my dreams, am I not only risking her life but my own too?

A heartbreaking, and completely unputdownable World War Two page-turner about the extraordinary bravery of women in the war. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Midwife of Auschwitz will be utterly glued to this unforgettable novel.

The Girl Who Never Came Back by Suzanne Goldring was published on 23 August 2023 by Bookouture. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and for inviting me to be part of the Books On Tour. 

This is a sweeping historical fiction novel that spans the decades, concentrating on the women who served in the Special Operations Executive during World War Two. Goldring writes with authority and passion, it is clear that she's done such a lot of in-depth research and has produced a novel that is both educating and entertaining, although there are scenes within that are utterly heartbreaking and she does not shy away from the horrors of war. 

The story begins in the present day, at the funeral of Sylvia, an elderly lady who lived in a remote thatched cottage with her life long friend Peg. Peg and Sylvia both played their part in the war. Peg worked underground in a factory, whilst Sylvia also claimed that she did 'a lot of filing'.

The reader is taken back to war time as we follow Sylvia who does a lot more than just filing. She recruits and trains volunteer women who will become part of the Special Operative Executive. Daring and fearless, they are parachuted into France, to work alongside the resistance against the Germans. Sylvia has special affection for one of these girls; Phyllis; a nineteen-year-old beauty who is dignified and brave. 

Interwoven throughout the narrative are two separate threads; we see snippets from the Special Operative Executive training manual, and then we have copies of letters that Sylvia receives. These letters are disturbing, almost threatening at times, and are sent by the brother of Phyllis.

Phyllis doesn't return from France. Lots of the women don't return, and Sylvia is determined to track each one of them and discover what happened to them. It is this journey that exposes the true horror of what happened to some of the women whilst being held in various camps. The violence and brutality that they endured, their total and utter loyalty to their country and the way that some of the German soldiers speak about these women is eye opening and horrific. 

Sylvia spends the rest of her life feeling guilty about her 'girls'. The slightest bang can set her off, and the regular letters from Phyllis' brother cast a shadow over her life forever. 

Suzanne Goldring has created some exceptional characters within this novel. Sylvia who is dedicated, yet empathic and caring. Peg who is innocent and somewhat naive at times, but a loyal friend, and of course Phyllis who along with the other women who gave their lives in the war are the real heroes of this story.

Historical fiction at its finest and entrenched in the truth. Highly recommended. 

Following an eventful career as a public relations consultant, specialising in business and travel, Suzanne Goldring turned to writing the kind of novels she likes to read, about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Whether she is working in her thatched cottage in Hampshire or her seaside home in North Cornwall, Suzanne finds inspiration in the secrets hidden by everyday life.

Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Suzanne Goldring here:

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Death of a Lesser God by Vaseem Khan #DeathofaLesserGod @VaseemKhanUK @HodderBooks #MalabarHouse #BookReview


In the fourth rip-roaring thriller in the award-winning Malabar House series, Persis and Archie travel to the old colonial capital of Calcutta, where they collide head-on with the prejudices and bloody politics of an era engulfed in flame.

Can a white man receive justice in post-colonial India?

Bombay, 1950

James Whitby, sentenced to death for the murder of prominent lawyer and former Quit India activist Fareed Mazumdar, is less than two weeks from a date with the gallows. In a last-ditch attempt to save his son, Whitby's father forces a new investigation into the killing.

The investigation leads Inspector Persis Wadia of the Bombay Police to the old colonial capital of Calcutta, where, with the help of Scotland Yard criminalist Archie Blackfinch, she uncovers a possible link to a second case, the brutal murder of an African-American G.I. during the Calcutta Killings of 1946.

Are the cases connected? And if Whitby didn't murder Mazumdar, then who did?

Death of a Lesser God by Vaseem Khan was published in hardback on 10 August 2023 by Hodder, and is the fourth in the Malabar House series. My thanks to the author and publisher who sent my copy for review. 

What I really love about historical fiction is that I always feel as though I've learned something, and Vaseem Khan really does educate his readers in this series. It is a tightly woven crime thriller, splattered with some laugh out loud humour, populated by characters who are vibrant and wonderfully portrayed whilst also being so informing. His research is faultless, and for anyone who would like to know more about this period in history, you can't go far wrong with this series, especially if you love crime fiction too. 

Inspector Persis Wadia is very well known in Bombay, the first female inspector in the police, and this is especially noteworthy given the attitude of most men towards women in the country. She's bright and determined, she takes risks and never gives up on her convictions, certainly a force to be reckoned with and able to give most men a good run for her money. In Death of a Lesser God, she has a new sidekick, another female; Seema. Seema is a young, impressionable woman who has had a tough life, but sees Persis as a role model and someone to aspire to, despite the fact that she's led into some very dangerous situations whilst accompanying her to Calcutta. 

Persis is asked to re-investigate a case that appears to be clear cut and finished. James Whitby, a white man, born in India and from a family who were very powerful during the English reign has been found guilty of murdering lawyer Fareed Mazumdar. Whitby's father insists that this verdict is investigated and Persis is the woman for the job. 

With the help of her old friend, Scotland Yard criminalist Archie Blackfinch, she is led to Calcutta where she discovers a potential link to another murder. An African-American GI was murdered a few years ago, and everything that Persis learns about that case makes her think that there's far more to it, and to Whitby's case too.

This is tension filled story, encompassing two major cities. Readers are treated to the sights, the sounds, and the smells of the city streets, along with discovering the corruption and determination of those in power to ensure that they stay there.  Persis is a fabulous character who readers will back all of the way and the story takes many twists and turns, adding surprises and shocks galore.
I adore Khan's descriptions of characters in the story, some of them made me laugh out loud, he creates such a visual image and seems to do it so easily. It's certainly a skill to bring characters to life so colourfully. 

This is a wonderful series. Entertaining, educating and thrilling. Highly recommended. 

Vaseem Khan is the author of two crime series set in India: the Baby Ganesh Agency series, and the
Malabar House historical crime novels.

His first book, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was a Times bestseller and has been translated into 16 languages. Midnight at Malabar House won the CWA Historical Fiction Dagger in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Vaseem was born in London, but spent a decade working in India as a management consultant.

X / Twitter @VaseemKhanUK

Monday 21 August 2023

Will You Read This, Please? edited by Joanna Cannon #WillYouReadThisPlease @JoannaCannon @BoroughPress #BookReview #MentalHealth


How do we give a voice to those who so often remain unheard? Will You Read This, Please? is a frank and impactful collection of twelve stories as told to our best British writers, based on the lived experience of people who have faced mental illness in the UK.

Edited by Joanna Cannon, the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, Three Things About Elsie and A Tidy Ending, the stories told here are powerful, resonant and heart-breaking. This is a ground-breaking and unforgettable collection, shining a light on the stigma and isolation of living with mental illness, while also showing the strength and resilience of the human spirit.













Will You Read This, Please? edited by Joanna Cannon was published in hardback on 11 May 2023 by The Borough Press. I bought my copy from Walkers Bookshop in Oakham.

This collection of stories, told by the subjects to a variety of different authors, and written by those authors is an incredibly important and moving testament to those people who live daily with mental health issues. 

In her introduction to the collection, Joanna Cannon explains her reasoning for compiling this book. She tells of how she worked as a psychiatrist and how her patients often thrust pieces of paper into her hands, asking her; will you read this, please? 

She has gathered up some of our finest authors who worked closely with each subject, listening and transcribing their own experiences, and the result is a collection of stories that cannot fail to touch the heart of the reader.

Every single subject is different, every single story is written in a different style, and every single piece in this book allows the personality of the teller to shine through. There's a wide variety of mental illnesses, and treatments, and emotions displayed in this book. There are subjects who are fully understanding of their own issues, and there are some who are still struggling to come to terms with their lives.

It's a compassionate and often brutally honest account of illness that can touch any one of us. There's no exceptions to mental illness. Money, power and status are disregarded when the brain becomes unstable, and in this day and age, I feel that more people need to read true accounts, instead of dismissing and stigmatising mental illness as so often happens. 

An incredible collection that I highly recommend. 

Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital
doctor, before specialising in psychiatry.
Her novels, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie, were both Sunday Times bestsellers and Richard and Judy picks.
Her new novel, A Tidy Ending, was published in April 2022.
She lives in the Peak District with her dog, Lewis.

Instagram @drjocannon

Friday 18 August 2023

Someone Like Her by Awais Khan BLOG TOUR #SomeoneLikeHer @AwaisKhanAuthor @OrendaBooks #Pakistan #BookReview


Multan, Pakistan. A conservative city where an unmarried woman over the age of twenty-five is considered a curse by her family.

 Ayesha is twenty-seven. Independent and happily single, she has evaded an arranged marriage because of her family's reduced circumstances. When she catches the eye of powerful, wealthy Raza, it seems like the answer to her parents' prayers. But Ayesha is in love with someone else, and when she refuses to give up on him, Raza resorts to unthinkable revenge…

 Ayesha travels to London to rebuild her life and there she meets Kamil, an emotionally damaged man who has demons of his own. They embark on a friendship that could mean salvation for both of them, but danger stalks Ayesha in London, too. With her life thrown into turmoil, she is forced to make a decision that could change her and everyone she loves forever.

 Exquisitely written, populated by unforgettable characters and rich with poignant, powerful themes, Someone Like Her is a story of love and family, of corruption and calamity, of courage and hope … and one woman's determination to thwart convention and find peace, at whatever cost…

Someone Like Her by Awais Khan was published in paperback on 17 August 2023 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour.

I read and reviewed Awais Khan's last book; No Honour in August 2021.  No Honour is a book that deeply affected me, it's a book that I have never forgotten. He writes with such passion and empathy about the issues relating to (almost always) women, in Pakistan.

Someone Like Her is another book that has left a significant mark on me. It's another testament to the author's incredible skill in writing fiction firmly entrenched in reality. It is another book that for me, as a Western woman, shocked and horrified me. It is a story that evokes emotions that range from anger, to despair, to sympathy and also to hope. 

We are aware of acid attacks here in the west. They do happen, and we have various women such as Katie Piper who bravely speak out and raise awareness of this crime. However, in Pakistan, this is a far larger issue. For many people, both male and female, these attacks are seen as something that the victim may have deserved. It is incredibly difficult to change the long standing cultural beliefs of a region, and despite the many people who work in the field, to help and educate, this is still a serious issue. 

Ayesha is a twenty-seven year old woman living in Multan, Pakistan. This is a city that holds on to the conservative view that any woman aged twenty-five or other, and unmarried brings disgrace upon their family. Ayesha embraces the modern world as far as she can. Her family were once wealthy, but her father made bad decisions and they are now far lower down in society than they once were. Ayesha works for a charity that helps victims of domestic violence. She also has a lover who she adores, but whose standing in the community prevents her from marrying him, or even being open about their affair. 

When wealthy, powerful and very influential Raza Masood decides to make a donation to this charity, it is Ayesha who is sent to meet him and to accept the cheque. This is her downfall, when Raza decides he wants something, he will do everything to ensure that he gets it, and he really wants Ayesha.

What follows is a dark and at times, very disturbing account of how far Raza will go to make sure that if he cannot have Ayesha, then nobody else will too. Khan's descriptions of the city, it's people and the outright corrupt systems are all wonderfully portrayed. Ayesha flees to London where she meets Kamil, a man who has grown up in London but has firm roots in Multan. Kamil is also damaged through his past experiences and the addition of this side of domestic violence adds such depth to the story, showing that it is not only women who suffer.

Masood will never give up though and Ayesha has more trauma to endure, with abduction and rape and violence along the way. 

This is a very important book, it is a book that I feel that everyone should read, and learn from and gain some understanding about how deeply entrenched in violence this culture is. There is also a glimmer of hope as we discover those people who are working hard to stop such things happening, and running throughout it is a story of love that gradually emerges. 

Highly recommended. Another outstanding, brutal but totally honest novel from a very talented author. 

Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University.

He has studied creative writing with Faber Academy.

His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim and he regularly appears on TV and Radio.

Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world.

He is currently working on his third book.

When not working, he has his nose buried in a book.

He lives in Lahore. 


Wednesday 16 August 2023

The Invisible Women's Club by Helen Paris BLOG TOUR #TheInvisibleWomensClub @drhelenparis @DoubledayUK @RandomTTours @chloerose1702 #BookReview



Seventy-something Janet Pimm is invisible. Spending most of her days alone, she tends her beloved allotment with the care and love she doesn't receive from people. Plants, Janet thinks, are more important than friends.


Janet's neighbour, Bev, has reached the age when a cloak of invisibility threatens to descend. Her friendly advances are rebuffed by Janet, but when the council threatens to close the allotments, Janet must swallow her pride and enlist Bev's help.

But they're about to prove everyone wrong.

As the two join forces, Janet realises that she isn't happy to be a wallflower after all. And that maybe there's more to Bev than she thought. As the bulldozers roll in and they fight to save Janet's treasured allotment, both women find their voice again. And no one can silence them now...

The Invisible Women's Club by Helen Paris was published on 3 August 2023 by Doubleday. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour. 

In March 2021, I read and reviewed Lost Property by Helen Paris. I adored that book so much and was so honoured to a quote from my review featured on the cover. 

I've been looking forward to reading more from this author, and certainly have not been disappointed at all by The Invisible Women's Club. She writes female characters so well, and especially the older woman, she tackles the issues that face many of us already, and that we can sadly expect to have to face throughout our lifetime. She does it with flair, and humour and with empathy, and it really is such a wonderful read. 

Janet Pimm is in her seventies. She's alone in the world, eating a cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch every single day, before setting off to tend her much-loved allotment. Although there are 120 allotments within the plot, Janet is a solitary figure who teeters on the edge of what is otherwise a tight-knit community. Janet doesn't fill her plot with pretty colourful flowers, or award-winning vegetables. She doesn't have a garden bench painted in pastel pink. Janet grows plants that have a purpose. Every single one of her crop is useful, helping every ailment that one could think about. The other allotment holders do not even notice Janet for most of the time, she feels completely invisible. 

Bev is Janet's next door neighbour, and she certainly does notice Janet. Forever putting flyers through her door, encouraging her to accompany her to locally produced plays and exhibitions. Janet is not interested, and avoid Bev as best she can. Bev also feels invisible. Menopausal, sweaty and angry, she has a great job and a lovely husband but life just feels so hard. 

These two women are eventually thrown together by an outbreak of knotweed at the allotments, some bio hazard tape and the threat of eviction. Janet worked at GCHQ for many years and to her, something just doesn't feel quite right. She is determined to get to the root cause (pardon the pun).

What follows is a beautifully structured story of a developing friendship between two unlikely allies. Janet is still brusque and straightforward, often appearing rude and quite blunt, but Bev's constant belief in her, and her motherly, caring attitude slowly wears her down, exposing a side to Janet that very few people have ever seen before, including Janet herself. 

The author deals with some very serious issues within this uplifting story, and allows her characters to be forceful and eventually successful. Their invisibility diminishes and by the end, both of them are gloriously colourful, well rounded and content people. 

A book filled with power and strength, with courage and unrelenting determination, and of course, with two incredible women who remain incredible despite their age.  Highly recommended. 

HELEN PARIS worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally
with her London-based theatre company Curious. 

After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Mirror Image by Gunnar Staalesen t. Don Bartlett BLOG TOUR #MirrorImage @OrendaBooks #Giveaway #Win #Prize #Competition


As Bergen PI Varg Veum investigates two different cases, it becomes clear that they are uncannily similar to harrowing events that took place thirty-six years earlier… A gripping instalment of the award-winning Varg Veum series, by one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

Bergen Private Investigator Varg Veum is perplexed when two wildly different cases cross his desk at the same time. A lawyer, anxious to protect her privacy, asks Varg to find her sister, who has disappeared with her husband, seemingly without trace, while a ship carrying unknown cargo is heading towards the Norwegian coast, and the authorities need answers.

 Varg immerses himself in the investigations, and it becomes clear that the two cases are linked, and have unsettling – and increasingly uncanny – similarities to events that took place thirty-six years earlier, when a woman and her saxophonist lover drove their car off a cliff, in an apparent double suicide.

 As Varg is drawn into a complex case involving star-crossed lovers, toxic waste and illegal immigrants, history seems determined to repeat itself in perfect detail … and at terrifying cost...

 A chilling, dark and twisting story of love and revenge, Mirror Image is Staalesen at his most thrilling, thought-provoking best.

Mirror Image by Gunnar Staalesen is published in paperback by Orenda Books on 31 August 2023. It is translated by Don Bartlett. As part of this Blog Tour, I am delighted to offer one copy as a giveaway prize. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in the blog post. UK entries only please. 


One paperback copy of Mirror Image by Gunnar Staalesen

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in
1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Don Bartlett completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series: We Shall Inherit the Wind, Wolves in the Dark and the Petrona award-winning Where Roses Never Die. He also translated Faithless, the previous book in Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detective series for Orenda Books. He lives with his family in a village in Norfolk.

`As searing and gripping as they come´ New York Times

`One of my very favourite Scandinavian authors´ Ian Rankin

`The Norwegian Chandler´ Jo Nesbø

`Every inch the equal of his Nordic confreres Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbø´ Independent

`Staalesen continually reminds us he is one of the finest of Nordic novelists´ Financial Times

`There are only two other writers that I know of have achieved the depth of insight in detective writing that Staalesen has: Chandler, and Ross MacDonald …´ Mystery Tribune

`Employs Chandleresque similes with a Nordic Noir twist … simply superb´ Wall Street Journal

`Masterful pacing´ Publishers Weekly

`The Varg Veum series is more concerned with character and motivation than spectacle, and it's in the quieter scenes that the real drama lies´ Herald Scotland

For fans of Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Jorn Lier Horst, Harlan Coben and Jussi Adler-Olsen