Monday, 15 May 2017

Blog Tour: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks #Block46


Published by Orenda Books on 15th May 2017 in Paperback. My thanks to Karen at Orenda for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour. 

Evil remembers… Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. 
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea's. 
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. 
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? 
Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea's friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. 
Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

My Thoughts:

Block 46 is a book that has been expertly translated by Maxim Jakubowski. The writing flowed seamlessly. 

This book held me completely and utterly transfixed from the first page to the last. It is shocking and daring, real and raw. I have been trying to gather my thoughts for the last couple of hours, but I am still stunned by what a talented writer Johana Gustawsson is. 

This is a complex story with many, many layers. One layer is the investigation and hunt for a depraved serial killer. Another layer is the concentration camp of Buchenwald during Nazi Occupation. The two stories are inextricably linked but the author is a master of her craft in revealing this to the reader piece by piece. 

Set in London, Germany, and Sweden. This added to the size and enormity of the events that take place within the short, sharp chapters. There are a lots of characters all that worked well and added to the remarkable plot. The pace of the story is perfect, never stilted nor moving to rapidly.

There is violence within the pages, for some it will shock and for all it should. Violence that isn't in any way gratuitous, but is the vehicle by which the story is told. We all know that terrible events occurred at concentration camps. Events that should never be forgotten to people that should never be forgotten. People who's lives were forever changed and that is the ones who made it out alive. 

Having visited what was a concentration camp whilst living in Germany, the sections set in 1944 moved me profoundly. Writers should never shy away from retelling the events that occurred and I admire the author immensely for the meticulous amount of research that she must have done. 

The past have been perfectly blended with the present when dead bodies start to turn up, young boys and Linnea a talented Jewellery designer. What links these murders with the past and can the killer be stopped before he/she strikes again. 

Dark and disturbing this book has left me with much to think about. I certainly won't be forgetting it in a hurry. Characters that make your skin crawl with a convincing and intriguing plot. I also thought the working partnership between Emily Roy and Alexis Castells worked really well. There really is nothing to dislike about this book. 

This is the best book I have read so far this year!





About the Author:

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

You can find Johana on Twitter: @JoGustawsson

Please have a look at the author stops on the blog tour: 


Monday, 1 May 2017

A Life Between Us by Louise Walters @LouiseWalters12 #ALifeBetweenUs


A Life Between us was published via Matador in March 2017. My thanks to the Author for sending me a review copy.

Tina Thornton’s twin sister Meg died in a childhood accident, but for almost forty years Tina has secretly blamed herself for her sister’s death. During a visit to her aging Uncle Edward and his sister Lucia, who both harbour dark secrets of their own, Tina makes a discovery that forces her to finally question her memories of the day her sister died. 

Who, if anyone, did kill Meg? As Tina finds the courage to face the past, she unravels the tangled family mysteries of her estranged parents, her beautiful French Aunt Simone, the fading, compassionate Uncle Edward, and above all, the cold, bitter Aunt Lucia, whose spectral presence casts a long shadow over them all. 

A Life Between Us is a beautifully evocative story of a family torn apart at the seams, which will appeal to readers who enjoy family sagas and modern-day mysteries.


My Thoughts:

A Life Between Us is an utterly intriguing and compelling story. It is set across varying decades including the present day and it tells the story of one family. The characters were haunting, emotive and nuanced.

An exploration of family secrets, betrayals and mysteries, makes this book taut and suspenseful. I particularly enjoyed discovering how the characters past actions can cause lasting effects in the future both for themselves and others. 

Tina is still grieving the loss of her twin, who died when they were children, she has never quite got over it. It effects her daily life and relationship with her husband. Tina's Aunt Lucia is not a likeable character and is very unhappy in life, nothing pleases her and everybody feels her wrath and bitterness. Tina is particularly close to her Uncle Edward, but he seems to have something to hide. 

Particularly poignant parts of the book include Tina's childhood letters that she writes to her cousin in America. This only added more detail to a character that was to become deeply involved with the loss of her sister. 

This book is something of a family saga with an element of mystery involved. The pace of the book is not fast but it was exciting to read, waiting patiently for the characters and their pasts to unravel for the reader. 

I found this book to be absorbing and wonderfully written, the different threads of the story never becoming confused but carefully being sewn together at the end to create a satisfying ending. 

I really recommend this one, a story of grief and loss, family ties, mysteries and secrets.

About the Author:




Louise Walters lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and five children. Louise's debut novel, Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase (Hodder 2014), was translated into 15 languages. A Life Between Us is her second novel.

You can find her on Twitter: @LouiseWalters12