TBR Pile Review: Lies Sleeping, by Ben Aaronovitch

Paperback, 406 pages
Published May 16th 2019 by Gollancz (first published November 13th 2018)

The Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud, and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run.Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring Chorley to justice.

But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that Chorley, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan. A plan that has its roots in London’s two thousand bloody years of history, and could literally bring the city to its knees.

To save his beloved city Peter’s going to need help from his former best friend and colleague–Lesley May–who brutally betrayed him and everything he thought she believed in. And, far worse, he might even have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch. 

My Review

I thought I’d read this one, but after finishing the audiobook of False Value I was checking the TBR pile and found it, so clearly I hadn’t. It wasn’t in my Audible library either (it is now) so I hadn’t listened to it instead. Why am I getting Lies Sleeping and False Value read, I hear you cry? Well, the latest Peter Grant novel, Amongst Our Weapons is published this month. It arrived in my Audible library today and I’m waiting for my special edition from Goldsboro Books to be delivered. It isn’t available until 14th April, but I’ll probably have listened to the audiobook by then. It’ll be nice and pristine on my bookshelf.

So what happens in Lies Sleeping? Peter et al. are hunting the Faceless Man. Still. He, Martin Chorley, has a cunning plan to ‘make it all better’, by killing Punch, the spirit of riot we first meet in Rivers of London. There’s an ancient sword, goat sacrifices and attacks on archaeological sites. To find out what all the fuss is about, Peter has to meet old gods, some dead Romans and try not to die, too much.

And Beverley is pregnant.

I enjoyed this book. I always enjoy the Peter Grant books; there are a lot of geeky in-jokes and references to Discworld, why wouldn’t I enjoy them? There are cynical comments about policing in London and the state of the country. I like Peter and the gang, and find the plots gripping.

I’ve been struggling a bit with my mental health because of that heritage project I wrote about a few weeks back, all the horror is taking a toll on my brain, so I’ve been resting, and today, after three quite busy days all I’ve had the energy to do is curl up on the chair with this book and get lost in Peter’s adventures. I find the predictable characters (predictable because I’m familiar with the characters and worldbuilding, not because they’re badly written) soothing. Like Discworld, Peter Grant’s version of London, built by Ben Aaronovitch on the real thing but with a fantasy twist, is a safe retreat. I know there will be explosions, Peter will get into trouble, Molly will feed everyone, Beverley and her sisters will do something entertaining, some major disaster will happen, or be averted by the skin of someone’s teeth, there will be satirical comments about policing and the Government, and references that only fantasy geeks will get. It’s easy to read, get lost for 400 pages and then come back with a more relaxed frame of mind.

I like this book, but you probably should read the other 6 first, or nothing will make sense.

Review: Death in the Mist, by Jo Allen

Death in the Mist

A drowned man. A missing teenager. A deadly secret.

When Emmy Leach discovers the body of a drug addict, wrapped in a tent and submerged in the icy waters of a Cumbrian tarn, she causes more than one problem for investigating officer DCI Jude Satterthwaite. Not only does the discovery revive his first, unsolved, case, but the case reveals Emmy’s complicated past and opens old wounds on the personal front, regarding Jude’s relationship with his colleague and former partner, Ashleigh O’Halloran.

As Jude and his team unpick an old story, it becomes increasingly clear that Emmy is in danger. What secrets are she and her controlling, coercive husband hiding, from the police and from each other? What connection does the dead man have with a recently-busted network of drug dealers? And, as the net closes in on the killer, can Jude and Ashleigh solve a murder — and prevent another?

A traditional British detective novel set in Cumbria.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Mist-DCI-Satterthwaite-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B09KYJK6H9

US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Mist-DCI-Satterthwaite-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B09KYJK6H9

Continue reading “Review: Death in the Mist, by Jo Allen”

Review: River Clyde, by Simone Buchholz

Pub date: 17 MARCH 2022
ISBN 13: 978-1-914585-06-7
EPUB: 978-1-914585-07-4
Price: £8.99

Blurb

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, State prosecutor Chastity Riley
escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house.

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who
holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected
cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront.

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson
attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of
violence that threatens everyone.

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the
inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could
be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Nail-bitingly tense and breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is both an
electrifying thriller and a poignant, powerful story of damage and hope,
and one woman’s fight for survival.

Continue reading “Review: River Clyde, by Simone Buchholz”

Review: Faceless, by Vanda Symon

Published 17 March, 2022 in PB and ebook, £8.99

Blurb

Worn down by a job he hates, and a stressful family life, middle-aged, middle-class Bradley picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime. Now she’s tied up in his warehouse, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Max is homeless, eating from rubbish bins, sleeping rough and barely existing – known for cadging a cigarette from anyone passing, and occasionally even the footpath. Nobody really sees Max, but he has one friend, and she’s gone missing.

In order to find her, Max is going to have to call on some people from his past, and reopen wounds that have remained unhealed for a very long time – and the clock is ticking –

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TBR Pile Review: The Rabbit Factor, by Antti Tuomainen, translated by David Hackston

Hardcover, 300 pages
Published October 28th 2021 by Orenda Books (first published August 19th 2020)
Original Title: Jäniskerroin
ISBN:191319387X (ISBN13: 9781913193874)

An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.

Continue reading “TBR Pile Review: The Rabbit Factor, by Antti Tuomainen, translated by David Hackston”

Review: Unhinged, by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger, Translated by Megan Turney

His colleague is dead. His daughter may be next. It’s time to do things his way…

Two of Nordic Noir’s most accomplished writers return with the explosive, staggeringly complex and unbearably emotive third instalment in the international bestselling Blix & Ramm series.

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix, before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.

Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.
As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust, and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

Continue reading “Review: Unhinged, by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger, Translated by Megan Turney”

Review: Bitter Flowers, by Gunnar Staalesen, translated by Don Bartlett

PUBLICATION DATE: 21 JANUARY 2022 | ORENDA BOOKS | PAPERBACK ORIGINAL | £8.99

Blurb

Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool.

A young woman has gone missing.

Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.

ABOUT GUNNAR STAALESEN

Granite Noir fest 2017. 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); 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.

Continue reading “Review: Bitter Flowers, by Gunnar Staalesen, translated by Don Bartlett”

Review: Demon, by Matt Wesolowski

Pub date: 20 January 2022
ISBN 13: 978-1-913193-98-0
EPUB: 978-1-913193-99-7
Price: £8.99

THE BOOK
In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his
own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath
of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession,
and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove
those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has
just begun…

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 story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt
was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit.

Continue reading “Review: Demon, by Matt Wesolowski”

Review: The Quiet People, by Paul Cleave

PUBLICATION DATE: 25 NOVEMBER 2021 | ORENDA BOOKS | PAPERBACK ORIGINAL | £8.99

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Multi-award winning bestseller Paul Cleave returns with an electrifying and chilling thriller about family, public outrage and what a person might be capable of under pressure, that will keep you guessing until the final page…

Continue reading “Review: The Quiet People, by Paul Cleave”

TBR Review: The Creak On The Stairs, by Eva Bjorg AEgisdottir

I enjoy an Icelandic Noir, Scandi Noir in general, and books from Orenda Books especially. The team have excellent taste and employ brilliant translators. I also collect first editions, usually of sci fi and fantasy from Goldsboro Books, but this was a special case – a new author from Orenda! I was intrigued buy the blurb and ordered it to support the author and publisher. I am so pleased I did.

I bought it when it first came out and started reading it but other books and work took precedent, so I put it down. Then I got the second book, which I was ever more intrigued by. I reviewed it for the blog tour, and have the same special edition. I read that quickly and promised myself I would read the first book. And today I have.

I don’t regret spending several hours today reading, it’s been rather relaxing reading a book because I want to rather than because I need to for blog tours or work. I had time to really get into it.

It was a tense read, as Elma navigates both her complex relationship with her family and her new colleagues in Akranes CID. Then an unknown woman is found dead on the beach by the lighthouse. It takes a lot of digging to find out who she is and how she ended up in the sea by Akranes. The investigation drags up 30-year-old secrets, crimes against children, and an unexpected killer.

I was so engrossed I was late for a coffee date with a friend I haven’t seen in six months. and then once I got back I settled down with a mug of hot chocolate to finish reading the second half of the book. It was gripping. I really needed to know who did what, but also found Elma a fascinating and complex character. Her willingness to sidestep her boss when she identifies his unwillingness to upset and important family. Elma doesn’t care, her years away from Akranes have broken any connections she might have had, had she stayed. Her mother’s gossip is actually helpful.

I found the ending a bit frustrating, because the killer is caught but the instigators escape punishment. I know things continue in ‘Girls Who Lie’, but if I’d read this one first I’d have been a bit unhappy.

I recommend getting both, blocking out your weekend and settling in with snacks, coffee/tea/hot chocolate and possibly a commode, because you will not want to be disturbed.