Mini reviews: 4* across the board. The Wych Elm – Tana French, The girl without Skin – Mads Peder Nordbo, Kiss of Death -Paul Finch

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Goodreads synopsis

For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable.

One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.

But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.

As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.

A spellbinding standalone from a literary writer who turns the crime genre inside out, The Wych Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, if we no longer know who we are.

Our review

I haven’t read any Tana French books, but hear so many good things about them that I was quite eager to get into this one.

I must say that I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I read late into the night with it, so I obviously enjoyed it. It was creepy.

We meet Toby, who is a bit of a ‘meh’ guy. He trundles along all happy and arrogant, and I don’t know whether we are meant to like him or not, but there is something off about him. He’s OK. I just think that if I knew him in real life, I would think he was really annoying.

Toby has to go back to a relative’s home where he spent some time as a child growing up and one day his second cousin finds a body – well what’s left of one – in the trunk of an old tree. We then explore what happened, and I think I started to like Toby less from here – when we get to really know him.

This one is a slow burner, but it is worth the wait. As I said, I haven’t read any Tana French books before, so I don’t know if this is her writing style, but it was very good. I would recommend this one to any thriller fans. Although I may not describe this as a thriller, I’m not sure what I’d call it. Perhaps a disturbing subtle horror?! But in a good way! 🙂

In any case, worth a read, and I’m glad I got the chance to read it.

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Goodreads synopsis

They were near the edge of the glacier. The sea beneath the helicopter was dense with pack ice. In front of them, the endless whiteness stretched as far as the light could reach. It hurt his eyes. Millions of white crystals. Except in one place. One spot. Right where the mummified Norseman had been found and Aqqalu had kept watch. There, the ice was glossy red.

When a mummified Viking corpse is discovered in a crevasse out on the edge of an ice sheet, journalist Matthew Cave is sent to cover the story. The next day the mummy is gone, and the body of the policeman who was keeping watch is found naked and flayed—exactly like the victims in a gruesome series of murders that terrified the remote town of Nuuk in the 1970s.

As Matt investigates, he is shocked by the deprivation and brutal violence the locals take for granted. Unable to trust the police, he begins to suspect a cover-up. It’s only when he meets a young Inuit woman, Tupaarnaq, convicted of killing her parents and two small sisters, that Matt starts to realise how deep this story goes—and how much danger he is in.

Our review

This was excellent! I read this over two days, as it was just so engrossing! I got lost in the intense mystery of The Girl Without Skin.

I don’t know much about the author, but I hope he has more for me to devour. The writing reminded me of another book I’m currently reading – The Craftsman, they are not similar in story, but the way the landscape is set and forms part of the story as much as another character would, reminded me of Sharon Bolton’s writing.

We start with a mummified corpse, and move on, quickly, to a set of new murders which are subsequently linked back to some old ones. We get some twists and turns, and end with a satisfying conclusion. It’s an excellent read. Fast paced and thrilling.

There is gore and blood, and historic crimes; people to love and those to hate. I got sucked in to the character development quickly, and appreciated the hopping back and forth to 1973.

This book was filled with tension and atmosphere, and reading it felt claustrophobic, which contrasted with the open setting of the Icelandic landscape. It felt like I was there with Jakob and Matthew, solving the crime and uncovering the gruesome truths alongside them, in their respective time periods.

I would definitely recommend this to any thriller/Nordic suspense readers!

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Goodreads synopsis

Could this be the end for Heck?

The Sunday Times bestseller returns with an unforgettable crime thriller. Fans of MJ Arlidge and Stuart MacBride won’t be able to put this down.

Don’t let them catch you…

A Deadly Hunt
DS ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has been tasked with retrieving one of the UK’s most wanted men. But the trail runs cold when Heck discovers a video tape showing the fugitive in a fight for his life. A fight he has no chance of winning.

A Dangerous Game
Heck realises that there’s another player in this game of cat and mouse, and this time, they’ve not just caught the prize: they’ve made sure no one else ever does.

A Man Who Plays With Fire
How far will Heck and his team go to protect some of the UK’s most brutal killers? And what price is he willing to pay?

Our review

When The Bill was cancelled, I nearly cried. Where was I going to get my weekly fix of Smithy and the gang from now?

So when I started reading Kiss of Death by Paul Finch, and found myself with a whole new band of police officers to play with, I was a very happy girl. (No one and nothing can replace Dale ‘Smithy’ Smith).

Kiss of Death is a police/crime drama type book with plenty of gruesome details and horrible crimes. The main guy is called Heck and this is the seventh in the series. I haven’t yet read the others, but I think I will look them out now.

It was a good read, suspenseful, detailed. The characters were good, well rounded and as I say, I enjoyed having a police force to get into.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t read this in big goes, (due to a certain sporting event which we are now not mentioning), so read it in little bursts. I think, had I had the time, I would have flown through this in a couple of sittings. You kind of get hooked into it quite early on, and I very grudgingly had to set it aside to watch our boys.

It’s not a very realistic plot, but that doesn’t detract from the thrilling story. I wouldn’t want to be a criminal in this world. The ending leaves you wanting more, and that ‘cliffhanger’ is just immense! Is it a cliffhanger though? I’m not so sure – if it is, then maaan that’s mean. 

Fast paced, gritty, action-packed. I would recommend.

These three stories each got  🌟🌟🌟 🌟 from us. Thanks to Netgally for the opportunity to read and review these books before release day.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Becca x

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