Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka @danyakukafka @alicemaydewing @picadorbooks

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Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka  Picador Books January 11th 2018

Winter in a Broomsville, Colorado and popular high school student, Lucinda Hayes is found dead in the school playground. She has a gash on her head and her neck is broken. As shock waves ripple through the town, the question every wants to know, is who killed her.

As the town tries to come to terms with the crime, its effect on three of its inhabitants is both deep and profound.

Cameron Whitley, product of a broken home, his father a disgraced police officer long gone leaving him in the care of his mother is devastated by her murder. Lucinda was the love of his life though they had rarely spoken, but she knew and so did the town that Cameron watched her, stalking her movements.  As suspicions of his guilt grow so does the intensity and erraticness of his behaviour.

Jade Dixon-Burns, hated Lucinda for taking away good things in her life, wishing Lucinda dead. Was she to blame for an illfated wish come true?

Russ Fletcher is a local police officer called in to help solve Lucinda’s murder, ex partner of Cameron’s dad forced to confront his past whilst keeping his promise to look after Cameron.

This is not your straightforward crime novel, it is much more and certainly goes deeper  than that. Girl in Snow is totally character driven, told in alternating chapters from each of the characters perspectives. What effect did the murder have on each individual, how do they reconcile their feelings and did one of them commit murder?

Kukafka’s characters are complicated and total misfits, unaccepted by community in which they live.

I was particularly drawn to Cameron, this young teenager struggling to make sense of what is happening around him, his emotions and thoughts all over the place. I found myself questioning his innocence or guilt throughout the novel, whilst feeling sorry for him, wishing someone would reach out and help him.

Jade was totally different, your classic goth, overweight, and a victim of an abusive, uncaring mother. Kukafka was brilliant at using her to show how hard it is to be different from your peer group and to not want to conform to the norm. I especially liked the the way Jade’s thoughts and story were told as as if she were in a screen play, perhaps the only way Jade could understand and make sense of her circumstances and feelings.

Russ, is important to the story, but I felt somewhat secondary to Cameron and Jade. Russ’s story was more about the secrets that dwelt in his past, his marriage and his desire for a better future.

Kukafka’s writing is brilliant, the characters emotions and conflict shining through. It is also brilliant at showing the narrow mindedness of a small town, how we are too quick to judge and accuse without looking below the surface.

I did guess who the murderer was and it is not a huge surprise, but it is not the objective of the novel to merely solve the crime but more about how we get there, how the characters evolve and confront their inner demons.

Girl In Snow is not fast paced and it may not suit some readers, but it is superbly written, and deserves to be hugely successful..

It would make a great Netflix series!

Thank you to Alice Dewing and Picador for a proof copy to read and review

About the author

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Danya Kukafka is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualised Study. She currently works as an editorial assistant at Riverhead Books.

Girl In Snow is her debut novel.

#Blogtour Bring Me Back by B.A Paris @BAParisAuthor @HQstories #ForgetSleep

Bring me back

The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried

My review

The hype has been huge for Bring Me Back and the hashtag #ForgetSleep splashed all over Twitter so would I #ForgetSleep when I started the novel one Friday evening? I would like to say that I did #ForgetSleep but unfortunately I had work the next day and reluctantly had to put the book to one side.

So did it live up to all the hype? I can categorically say a big yes and this is why.

The opening chapter tells Finn’s version of events when his girlfriend, Layla disappears from a French service station and straight away you know Finn, has not perhaps revealed the whole truth. Immediately alarm bells begin to ring and you want to know what exactly did happen, and obviously Paris is not going to reveal any details just yet! Fast forward twelve years and Finn, has rebuilt his life and is now engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen when a small Russian doll Ellen lost as a child suddenly turns up. Only three people know the significance of the Russian dolls, Finn, Layla and Ellen. Now my mind is in a spin, and I’m thinking what the heck is going on. Is Layla still alive or is someone out there playing mind games with Finn and Ellen?

As if one Russian doll isn’t enough more begin to appear, either in a place significant to Finn or just to remind Finn that Layla or someone is watching him. I found the Russian dolls one of the most eerie and unsettling aspects of the book  and it certainly added a unique spin to the whole story.

Paris is brilliant at building the tension as Finn becomes increasingly desperate and his inner turmoil over his past and the present begin to take their toll. I also started to question Ellen, was she really an innocent bystander, did she know more about events than perhaps I first thought?

The pace of the novel is fast, and Paris has created a maelstrom of questions, and theories that all require answers and I guess this is how the #ForgetSleep hashtag comes into its own. I found it hard to put the book down, I just wanted answers , wanted to know if I had guessed the outcome correctly. I did guess the outcome but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the novel in fact it was more interesting to see how Paris would bring all the various strands together and how the story would end.

I did struggle a little bit with the latter part of the novel, and it would be good to know what other readers thought about it. It will certainly divide opinion and I quite like that in a novel, it makes you think, and want to discuss with others.

This is the first novel I have read by B A Paris and it will not be the last. If you want a fast paced page turning thriller then this is the novel for you.

I would like to thank HQ Stories for a proof copy to read and review and for inviting mybookishblogspot to participate in the blogtour.

Catch my other fellow bloggers on the blogtour and find out if they enjoyed the novel as much as I did.

About the author

BA Paris

B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown. Having sold over one million copies in the UK alone, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her books have sold in 37 territories around the world. Having lived in France for many years, she recently moved back to the UK. She has five daughters.

BringMeBack_BlogTour

#Blogtour The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson @ragnarjo @lcnicol @MichaelJBooks

The Darkness Book

Before Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik Police is forced into early retirement she is told to investigate a cold case of her choice, and she knows just the one. A young woman who was looking for asylum found dead on remote seaweed-covered rocks. Her death ruled a suicide after a cursory investigation. But Hulda soon realizes that this was not the only young woman to disappear around that time. And no one is telling the whole story. When her own force tries to put the brakes on the investigation Hulda has just days to discover the truth. Even if it means risking her own life……

My Review

After hearing how good Icelandic Noir is I thought it was about time I took the plunge and found out what it’s all about.  There is no better writer to start with than author of bestseller, Snowblind, Ragnar Jonasson and I was delighted to be invited on the blogtour for The Darkness, the first in a proposed trilogy.

What I liked straight away was Hulda the main character. In so many crime novels the detective, if it happens to be a woman, is usually youngish and attractive. Hulda is neither young nor is she portrayed as overly attractive, in fact she is approaching her retirement, such a refreshing change.

Hulda is certainly flawed and not hugely dynamic, but well respected and known for her dogged and methodical work which gets results.  A lonely woman she has few friends, her husband is dead and she appears to have no family. Her only solace is walking and the inkling of a deeper friendship with one of her fellow walkers. Its no wonder she finds her sudden enforced retirement too much. The opportunity to investigate a cold case of a missing Russina girl forces Hulda to come to terms with a past that she has kept hidden. This is where Jonasson excels as he slowly drip feeds snippets of Hulda’s past alongside the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the Russian girl.

The pace is fast and the plot evolves twisting first one way and then another, and your never sure just who to believe. It took me quite some time to start to put all the various strands together, a sign of a good crime novel!

An extra dimension which I particularly enjoyed was Jonasson’s descriptions of the rugged and frozen Icelandic landscape. It is a landscape that has an essential part to play in the novel and I could almost feel the cold seeping off the pages, but also sense some of the beauty of the island.

I’m not sure I was satisfied with the ending of which I will let you make up your own mind when you go and borrow The Darkness from your local library!

Watch out for some more reviews from my fellow bloggers on The Darkness blogtour.

Thank you to Laura Nicol at Michael Joseph for a proof copy to read and review and for inviting mybookishblogspot on the blogtour.

About the author

Jonasson

Ragnar Jonasson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University, has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service and has translated 14 of Agatha Christie’s novels from the age of 17. He is an international number one bestseller. The Darkness is the first novel in his Hidden Iceland series, followed by The Island and The Mist.

Blog Tour the Darkness