#Blogtour Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen @JennyLundMadsen @OrendaBooks @annecater #randomthingstours #ThirtyDaysOfDarkness

The Blurb

A snobbish Danish literary author is challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days, travelling to a small village in Iceland for inspiration, and then the first body appears…

Copenhagen author Hannah is the darling of the literary community and her novels have achieved massive critical acclaim. But nobody actually reads them, and frustrated by writer’s block, Hannah has the feeling that she’s doing something wrong.
When she expresses her contempt for genre fiction, Hanna is publicly challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days. Scared that she will lose face, she accepts, and her editor sends her to Húsafjörður – a quiet, tight-knit village in Iceland, filled with colourful local characters – for inspiration.
But two days after her arrival, the body of a fisherman’s young son is pulled from the water … and what begins as a search for plot material quickly turns into a messy and dangerous investigation that threatens to uncover secrets that put everything at risk … including Hannah.

My Review

Can authors really be that snobby and bitchy, do they really think their writing, just because it is more literary is that much better than anyone else’s? Madsen’s author Hannah certainly thought she was, in fact I instantly disliked her which I am sure was Madsen’s intention.

Hannah was one tough cookie, unbreakable, and when pushed by fellow author Jorn accepts the challenge of writing a crime novel in thirty days.

Madsen exiled her to a secluded Icelandic town, with suitably suspicious locals, and a dislike for outsiders. The scene was set, our chain smoking, wine swigging snobby author was ready, or was she? Was she ready for the body that turned up, the distinct apathy from the towns one and only policeman, and the secrets that lay buried?

I was definitely ready and as the town unravelled, then so did Hannah. Madsen very carefully and delicately peeled away her layers, the austere exterior remained in place when needed but a person who had feelings, who began to care for those around her started to appear.

It fed her writing, but also pushed her further and further into danger, the twists and turns multiplied, my head started to spin and I wondered where Madsen was taking me.

I am sure Hannah had the same feelings and when her time came to be brave, quick thinking and resourceful she didn’t let herself or anyone else down.

The truth sent ripples though the town, long ago grievances resurfaced, justice served. Yet what did it mean for Hannah? Would it be an author fated for a crime novel she never wanted to write, a woman who finally engaged with her emotions and let down the ever present facade?

It’s not for me to say but the reader to decide. What I will say is that Madsen has written a fabulous debut crime novel, one that I sure her protagonist Hannah would be proud of. Next one please!

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Thirty Days Of Darkness to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Jenny Lund Madsen is one of Denmark’s most acclaimed scriptwriters (including the international hits Rita and Follow the Money) and is known as an advocate for better representation for sexual and ethnic minorities in Danish TV and film. She recently made her debut as a playwright with the critically acclaimed Audition (Aarhus Teater) and her debut literary thriller, Thirty Days of Darkness, first in an addictive new series, won the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish Crime Novel of the year and was shortlisted for the coveted Glass Key Award. She lives in Denmark with her young family.


#Blogtour Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus @michaelgrothaus @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BeautifulShiningPeople

The Blurb

It’s our world, but decades into the future … An ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be… Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia… But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano. A secret that reveals that this world is anything but ordinary – and it’s about to change forever
mountains of Nagano.

My Review

Wow, wow, wow. I adored, loved, devoured Beautiful Shining People. I don’t normally enjoy novels set in the future but this one blew me away with its humanity, emotion and ability to make me absolutely bawl my eyes out.

Lets start with John the tech prodigy, in Japan to sign over his translation app to a tech giant. Bored of waiting around he strolls the streets of Japan and happens upon a cafe, a cafe whose occupants would turn his life upside down. Its owner, disgraced sumo wrestler Goeido is fierce, grumpy. The gorgeously cute dog Inu was just that, gorgeously cute. And there was Neotnia, the waitress, the girl John would feel an instant connection, that would see them visit the sites and slowly fall in love.

So good were Grothaus’s characters that I too fell in love, and became instantly invested in what they did, how they interacted, what would happen to them. As their connection became deeper then so did mine, this was going to be a love story that pulled my heart strings and then it all changed Grothaus did the unthinkable and I was bereft, what would happen now??

I may have been bereft but I wasn’t prepared for the next half of the novel. This time it was a thriller, a mystery, a journey of discovery, our beloved John and Neotnia in danger. I couldn’t catch my breath, the pages wouldn’t turn fast enough and then it all stopped. I gulped, tried so hard so stop the tears that fell, couldn’t stop the emotions of anguish and grief Grothaus thrust upon me.

I had to take stock, digest what I had just read, sort my feelings, write a review that did justice to the words within the pages.

My conclusion. A novel bursting with imagery, with all an encompassing love no matter what or who we are. Technology created with meaning, with humanity, alongside danger, greed, and destruction. A vision of our future or just the furtive imagination of an author bursting with ideas, imagery and an incredible knack at writing a damn fine novel?

I am almost certain some streaming service would love to option for a series and I for one will be waiting and watching.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Beautifully Shining Things to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist and author of non-fiction. His writing has appeared in Fast Company, VICE, Guardian, Litro Magazine, Irish Times, Screen, Quartz and others. His debut novel, Epiphany Jones, a story about sex trafficking among the Hollywood elite, was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and named one of the 25 ‘Most Irresistible Hollywood Novels’ by Entertainment Weekly. His first non-fiction book, Trust No One: Inside the World of Deepfakes was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2021. The book examines the human impact that artificially generated video will have on individuals and society in the years to come. Michael is American..

#Blogtour Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger @lisaunger @Legend_Times #SecludedCabinSleepsSix

The Blurb

Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this atmospheric and gripping locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? Especially in an isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. The reviews are stellar. 

But a deadly storm is brewing. The owner seems just a little too present. The chef reveals that the beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the guests have their own complicated pasts, with secrets that run blood deep. The perfect weekend is about to turn into a nightmare.

My Review

Would I stay in a luxury cabin miles from anywhere, in a beautiful secluded setting after reading Lisa Unger’s novel? I may have to consider my options very carefully!

It was a dilemma for new mother Hannah when brother Mako invited or should that be insisted she join him with mutual friends in that secluded cabin. Should she bend to his strong will or listen to her mothers instinct and decline. Of course she accepted and whilst hindsight is a wonderful thing in some ways it was just what she needed.

Why? All of us mothers know that feeling, your body is all wrong, your tired, your confidence rock bottom. Unger didn’t hold back with all those emotions as she sent Hannah on her way.

Their destination was full of Unger’s brilliant imagery, you could sense the eeriness of the cabins location, the impending storm brewing and rumbling in the distance.

It was an omen of what Unger had in store for them. Mako trying and failing to force happiness on them, secrets tucked away. The strange owner who loitered in the background, an onlooker of what was about to unfold.

As night fell, as the storm threw everything at them, the secrets tumbled out, yet Hannah was the one that stood tall, found inner strength. She was the leader, the thinker, the one with all the resourcefulness to fight for herself and those she loved.

There were essences of #metoo, of loyalty, betrayal, of love and compassion in a novel that didn’t let the reader rest, that left them quite breathless. Did they all get out alive or were casualties along the way??

There is only one way to find out, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six and inviting My Bookish Blogspot to take part in the blogtour.

About the author

Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of twenty novels; with books published in 31 languages and millions of copies sold worldwide, she is regarded as a master of suspense. She has been nominated for, or won, numerous awards and her work has been appeared on many ‘Best Book’ lists, including Today, People, Amazon and many more. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family. 

#Blogtour Expectant by Vanda Symon @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @annecater #Randomthingstours #Expectant #samshephard

The Blurb

The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her
own maternity leave. Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy. For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that she is no longer safe, and the clock is ticking…..

My Review

Pregnant, uncomfortable, perhaps in denial a small being was about to enter her life, Detective Sam Shephard was heading towards maternity leave. If you thought Symon would let it be a quiet affair then you were wrong, very wrong.

A brutal murder of a pregnant woman, the baby unceremoniously whipped from her stomach sent Shephard into a race against time to find the baby and the perpetrator. This time stuck behind a desk, Symon made us very aware that this was not where she wanted to be, but we all knew this was not going to stop Sam.

That dogged determination was still in there, that ability to drag out the smallest of clues from the endless streams of information.

You could see her going off on a tangent, that inane ability to think outside the box, unlike her colleagues whose tried and tested methods never seemed to achieve the same results.

You knew for Sam that it was personal an affront on her own state, on the baby that writhed within her, that threatened that happy end result.

Partner and fellow detective, Paul was supportive, protective as much as Sam would allow, but knew to let her have own way. Others didn’t see it that way and the old rivalry with the boss was still there, Sam butting against his misogyny, his jealousy, never supportive, always looking for that one way to trip her up.

As the days passed so Sam finally began to make progress, and the motive for the crime slowly emerged.

I liked that Symon chose to appeal to our heart, our emotions, made you feel compassion for the reasons, made it all so personal to Sam, but was still able to add danger and drama.

Of course you knew that Sam would be at its centre and your pulse definitely ratcheted up a few notches, waiting for a happy ending.

This was Symon’s most personal and emotive novel to date, and for me that made it one of her best. I cannot wait to meet Sam Shephard once more.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Expectant to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Vanda Symon lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. As well as being a crime writer, she has a PhD in science communication and is a researcher at the Centre for Pacific Health at the University of Otago. Overkill was shortlisted for the 2019 CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award and she is a four-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel for her critically acclaimed Sam Shephard series. The fourth in the series, Bound, was shortlisted for a Barry Award. Vanda produces and hosts Write On, a monthly radio show focusing on the world of books at Otago Access Radio. When she isn’t working or writing, Vanda can be found in the garden, or on the business end of a fencing foil.

So Pretty by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie_Turner @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #SoPretty

The Blurb

Fear blisters through this town like a fever…
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community.
Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it. As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family
who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife-edge.
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it always has. And before long, it will find Ada too

My Review

Oh Ronnie what did you do? You made me distinctly uncomfortable and unsettled, I hated the opening of the door into the shop, the window with its ghoulish exhibits. Yet from first page to the last page I just could not put So Pretty down.

Your characters were sublime. Ada, so desperately lonely, so devoted to her little boy, estranged from her family, vulnerability oozed from within.

Teddy, another loner, a perpetual nomad, forever fleeing a past that never seemed to leave him behind.

I could never forget Turners other character Mr Vincent the owner of that shop, the shop that all avoided, that burst at the seems with curio that frightened and delighted. His silent, watchful presence rattled your nerves, his eyes like exocet missiles that bored into your very being.

Vincent and Teddy’s relationship was like watching a chess game as they worked each other out, the power struggle intense and at times frightening. But it was the relationship between Teddy and Ada that was Turner’s triumph, two young people looking for a meaningful connection. That connection was so lovely to read as Teddy embraced Ada and her young son, until Turner wove in some subtle changes, assumptions were made and those connections taken to the extreme.

The narrative became dark and oppressive, the imagery dangerous and you felt chills down your spine as each fought the other for power, for escape.

This was a novel that encompassed so much, from child abuse, murder, to the complexities of human psychology and what passes from parent to child. The effect of actions in a small community, the regrets of those that could have helped but didn’t left a lasting mark.

For all its darkness there were lighter moments, glimpses of hope and reconciliation. I may have felt like I had been through a nerve rattling wringer but my goodness I knew what a superb novel I had just read.

Well done and congratulations Ronnie Turner.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of So Pretty to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie isa Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.

#Blogtour The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave @PaulCleave @ OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #ThePainTourist

Orenda Books November 10th 2022

The Blurb

How can you catch a killer When the only evidence is a dream…?
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But, between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help.
Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…

My Review

Do you enjoy watching people’s pain and suffering, maybe your not the one doing it, maybe it’s someone else. If you answer yes to any of these questions then you could very well be a pain tourist, at least that’s Paul Cleave’s definition.

Paul Cleave’s pain tourist was a man whose wife had left him, who just wanted to be famous, so in his mind he had nothing to lose.

Detective Rebecca Kent’s take on the matter was of course completely different as she was given the task of finding out who was copying one of New Zealand’s notorious serial killers, our so called pain tourist.

Meanwhile in a hospital James Garrett woke up from a 9 year coma, to the realisation that his parents were dead and his sister, Hazel had escaped. His parents murderers were never caught and Kent is again tasked with closing the case.

To top it all retired detective Theo Tate is somehow dragged into the melee and Cleave proceeded to scramble this readers brain.

Let me clarify, the brain scramble was good, Cleave made me concentrate, absorb his wonderful narrative, made me think about medical advancement but most of all the brutality of murder for its victims and those around them.

To go into depth with anymore of the plot would spoil it for any reader, suffice it to say once engaged it will take all your will power to disengage.

Cleave concentrated a lot on the relationship between Kent and Tate, mutual respect and I always thought a little more. Yet both had their vulnerabilities, pasts that made them too cautious to let the personal blur into the professional.

James Garrett was such a brilliant character, his so called Coma World fascinated, his ability to unlock cabinets inside a giant warehouse felt like Cleave was unlocking the various compartments of his brain, his memory. At times it felt like torture, at others it gave James comfort, gave information to Tate and Kent as their investigations progressed.

Many authors would have struggled with the multiple strands but not Cleave, he handled it with great aplomb and I felt safe in his very capable hands.

The multiple strands gave the book a real dynamism, not much time for the reader to pause and take a breath. His characters were frenetic in their pursuit of the truth, their methods often unorthodox but that made the novel all the more dramatic. The final pages were filled with horror, disgust but also a sense of justice served, a job well done.

You hoped James and his sister would finally find peace, but most of all that Kent and Tate would unlock their own demons and find their own kind of peace.

I guess and am hoping that that peace and onward progression will be the subject of another brilliant and eagerly awaited book by the fantastic Mr Paul Cleaver.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Pain Tourist to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the tour.

About the author

Paul is an award-winning author who often divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He’s won the won the Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur Crime Novel of the Year Award, and Foreword Reviews Thriller of the Year, and has bee shortlisted for the Ned Kelly, Edgar and Barry Awards. He’s thrown his Frisbee in over forty countries, plays tennis badly, golf even worse, and has two cats – which is often two too many. The Pain Tourist is his (lucky) thirteenth novel.

#Blogtour Winter People by Grainne Murphy @GraMurphy @Legend_Times #WinterPeople

Legend Press October 6th 2022

The Blurb

The wild Atlantic coast of Ireland.

Three strangers.

One question: who are we without the people who love us?

Sis Cotter has lived her whole life in a small house by her beloved beach. Here, she grew up, reared her family, and buried her husband. Now her children are far away and, in three days, her house will be taken from her.

Next door, Lydia has withdrawn from her husband, her friends, her life. She watches the sea as her own private penance for a wrong she can never put right.

Peter’s best friend is dying, and his long-time foster mother is slowly forgetting who he is. Adrift without his two anchors, and struggling with the ethics of displacing people for a living, he looks for something to remind him of who he is and who he wants to be.

Winter People is a story of forgiveness, resilience, and the power of the sea to unlock what we are most afraid to say.

My Review

What can I say about Winter People other than beautiful, tender, emotive and utterly enthralling.

A small Irish coastal community, three characters that dwelled on its outer edges, the sea their outlook it’s ebb and flow in sync with their emotions and feelings.

Sis, Murphy’s main character was the one that captivated the most, her faithful elderly dog Laddie stole my heart. Here was a woman who nursed her husband to his death, raised three children and bravely and stoically approached the next stage of her life. Murphy’s descriptions of her arthritic bones, her creaky stiff muscles as she cycled into town, as she shuffled along the beach we’re just wonderful. What was even more wonderful were her thoughts, so vividly captured by Murphy as she considered her life, her parenting skills, her willingness to forgive, to accept her lot.

Sis’s, neighbour Lydia lived in splendid isolation in the newly refurbished blue house. She was the epitome of self flagellation, as she shut herself away from her husband and her friends determined to punish herself for a wrong doing. The large windows overlooking the sea were her windows on the world, the telephone and email there to stop eyes looking upon her, apportioning blame that was her due, her life’s task to wallow in. Whilst you empathised you also felt irritated, wanted her to let her husband in, take comfort in his willingness to help, to love and protect.

Peter, was almost on the periphery, but no less important in the novel, raised in a foster home, his birth mother drowned in drugs and drink. Murphy built a wall around him, impenetrable to the grief of his fosters mums dementia, his best friends final dying days. Girlfriends came and went as he failed to commit, to let them in and his job evicting people from their homes seemed to add to his general persona.

It all sounds very gloomy and in a way it was, but Murphy gave us chunks of light, of memories that were happy and carefree. It didn’t make the novel less enjoyable in fact it only enhanced the quality of Murphy’s narrative, her character’s emotions so raw, that the reader couldn’t help but invest in their lives, to hope the future seemed that little bit brighter, more hopeful.

Winter People was exemplary, touching, and just brilliant.

I would like to thank Legend Times for a copy of Winter People to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.


About the author

Gráinne grew up in rural west Cork, Ireland. At university she studied Applied Psychology and Forensic Research. In 2011 she moved with her family to Brussels for 5 years. She has now returned to West Cork, working as a self-employed language editor specialising in human rights and environmental issues.
Twitter: @GraMurphy
IG: @gramurphywriter

#Blogtour Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson @TheSimonBot @BoroughPress @MidasPr @SofiaSaghir #SometimesPeopleDie

Borough Press September 1st 2022

The Blurb

1999. Returning to practice after a suspension for stealing opioids, a young doctor takes the only job he can find: a post as a physician at the struggling St. Luke’s Hospital in east London.

Amid the maelstrom of sick patients, overworked staff and underfunded wards, a more insidious secret soon declares itself: too many patients are dying.

My Review

Sometimes People Die was much more than a medical thriller, it was a lament, a portrait of a doctor overworked, pushed to the edge. A hospital crumbling, unable to recruit, it’s staff overworked underpaid and all this in 1999, but sounds all too familiar in 2022.

It helped that its author was indeed one of those doctors, his medical insight, his emotions and experience more than evident in his nameless narrator. A nameless narrator who took the only position open to him after the shame of a drug addled past.

We entered a world of endless hours on shift. the cardiac arrests, the ill and infirm, and then bam a death, a seemingly ordinary death until it wasn’t. Stephenson put our narrator under the spotlight, his past misdemeanours made him the ideal suspect, but there were others that stood out, that could so easily have been the culprit.

As our narrator sweated, the relentless shifts continued but Stephenson threw in some memorable characters, my favourite Felix, a drug addict with a heart condition who became the bane of our young doctors life. George the flat mate, affable, chilled, his girlfriend Amelia, the doctor with all the answers. There was student nurse Louise, eager as a young puppy to do well.

As the true extent of the deaths hit the hospital, Stephenson skilfully played around with his suspects, dangled them in front of us before taking them away.

When, at last you thought it was wrapped up, Stephenson through a spanner in the works, our narrator determined to finally discover the truth.

I somehow knew who it would be but the journey there was thrilling, immersive and as someone who loves anything medical, addictive.

The only thing Stephenson needs to do to now is get some TV rights, some fantastic actors and we would have a fantastic drama.

I would like to thank Borough Press for a copy of Sometimes People Fie to read and review and Midas PR for inviting My Bookish blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

I am from Edinburgh in Scotland, but live now in Los Angeles. I have had stopovers along the way in London and San Francisco.

I’m a writer and screenwriter, and before I became a full-time writer I was a physician.

My new novel, ‘Sometimes People Die’ will be published in September 2022.

I have written two other books. ‘Set My Heart To Five’ came out in 2020. The Washington Post review said that I might be ‘Vonnegut’s first true protege’. You’d better believe I am going to be dining out on that for the rest of my life.

‘Let Not the Waves Of the Sea’, my memoir about losing my brother came out in 2012. It won Best First Book at the Scottish Book Awards, and was serialized on BBC Radio 4.

I’ve worked as a writer on various films including Pixar’s LUCA, PADDINGTON 2, and my own THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN. Like every other screenwriter in Hollywood, I have a bottom drawer full of unproduced scripts and forgotten promises. So it goes.

#Blogtour Whisper Of The Seals by Roxanne Bouchard @RBouchard72 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WhisperOfTheSeals

The Blurb

Detective Moralès returns in a breathtaking literary thriller set on the icy seas of Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, in the midst of a brutal seal hunt, where nothing is as it seems and absolutely no one can be trusted…
Fisheries officer Simone Lord is transferred to Quebec’s remote Magdalen Islands for the winter, and at the last minute ordered to go aboard a trawler braving a winter storm for the traditional grey seal hunt, while all of the other boats shelter onshore.
Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès is on a cross-country boat trip down the St Lawrence River, accompanied by Nadine Lauzon, a forensic psychologist working on the case of a savagely beaten teenager with Moralès’ old team in Montreal.
When it becomes clear that Simone is in grave danger aboard the trawler, the two cases converge, with startling, terrifying consequences for everyone involved…

My Review

Before I go any further let me just say that there are vivid descriptions of seal culling that some may find uncomfortable . On the flip side it had its place within the novel, not something Bouchard threw in to shock but to signify the greed, of its participants and the need to make money and survive.

Now that bit is out of the way what about the rest of the novel. For me this had to be one of Bouchard’s best, one that from the very first page reeled me in and released its grip at the end.

Once again, Simone Lord was that fearless fisheries officer unceremoniously thrown onto an all male sealing boat. She was a woman in a man’s world, derided, preyed on by men that saw her as fair game, there for their enjoyment. This is what I liked about Bouchard, no stereotypical woman for her, instead a woman who kept her vulnerability firmly under wraps, her resilience, resistance focused on the job, on finding that one person who could protect her.

Then of course we had Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales. For him it was all about coming to terms with his recent divorce, a holiday to get his head together. Could he leave the job behind, work out his feelings for Simone? The simple answer was, of course no, Bouchard was not going to let him have a relaxing time. Drawn into a fellow detectives case it soon became apparent something big was about to happen.

And so, Bouchard slipped ever so seamlessly between Joaquin and Simone, both stuck on their respective boats, sailing toward the unknown.

Bouchard knew how to tweak your feelings, your emotions that sense of urgency, of cold stone fear as Simone bravely battled her thoughts and the actions of the men.

Desperation swept in on all sides, the boat crew for the kill, for the dollar signs that loomed large, for Simone the need to survive, to warn others, to do her job. As the stakes rose, so did the chill Bouchard injected into the narrative, the vivid imagery of a cold, white, soulless climate, of murder, drugs and sacrifice.

You waited for Morales to join the dots, to perhaps be the knight in shining armour, a happy ending in sight. But hey, this was a crime novel, nothing guaranteed least of all from Bouchard.

It’s not for me to tell you the ending but let’s just say, I was shocked and I will leave it at that.

The Whisper of The Seals was what I would call Bouchard’s crossroads novel, a novel that challenged its characters to the extreme both physically and emotionally. It was her way of saying, we are at that point in the series where perhaps things needed to divert in another direction, new roads, new experiences. What a great way to keep us dangling, to leave this reader wanting more and hoping it won’t be long before the next Novel drops through the letterbox.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Whisper of the Seals to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the
Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets,
and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. Her fifth novel
(first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, followed by The Coral Bride, which was a number-one bestseller in Canada, shortlisted for the CWA Translation Dagger and won the Crime Writers of Canada’s Crime Book of the Year Award. Whisper of the Seals is the third novel. She lives in Quebec with her partner, an undertak

#Blogtour The Daves Next Door by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #randomthingstours #thedavesnextdoor

Orenda Books 21st July 2022

The Blurb

A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care. An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.
A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.
Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.
Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.
Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?
Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.

My Review

This was Will Carver at his absolute best. I have never read anything more original, more engaging and completely off the wall than The Daves Next Door.

Yes there were characters, no there wasn’t much speech, just one long blow your socks of monologue that questioned a vast array of what is wrong and right in todays society.

It all started with a security report, a multi faceted terrorist attack on London that had already happened, neatly swung back to the before as Carver systematically stripped back the why.

He started with the Daves, stuck in a loop of paranoia, fear, mental health dwindling down the proverbial drain. It did confuse me a little until bit by bit Carver unravelled their trauma and it all slowly began to make sense.

Vashti was one of my favourites, a nurse who had lost that spark, work a chore, all feeling pushed to one side. Her relationship with her patient, the sportsman was interesting, his ability to only see Vashti in colour, the rest of the world in grey. It was such a fantastic way for Carver to show the sportsman’s despair at his career ending injury, Vashti the one shining light, the beacon he gravitated towards, the one who could drive him on to full recovery.

Saul, the sad widower, death the only option until the two ‘angels’ his two lodgers, offered a path to his beloved wife Ada. His son, Ash the son wracked with guilt at his dereliction of care towards his Father, who suddenly acted to rectify only to make the ultimate sacrifice.

And what about Carver’s narrator? The man on the tube, the man who watched those around him, who waited for the right time do what he was chosen to do. He was Carvers ultimate mouthpiece, the one who questioned his characters motives, their inner psyche. Who was he, Carver asked us? Was he God, the all seeing, all knowing figure so many believed or was he a man poised to change the lives of many, the beliefs of others systematically placed in his brain, the power to change lives at his fingertips.

To me he was whatever you wanted him to be, Carvers genius instrument that questioned, cajoled the reader to dig deep, to question our reality, wether that be how we see things or how wider society views life.

The ending brilliantly captivated it all, a glorious conclusion of winners and losers, of epiphanies, enlightenment and despair.

Thank you Will Carver for once again pushing the boundaries, of being brave and skilful enough to not write the usual thriller but instead to be that off beat deep thinker we all love.

I would to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Daves Next Door to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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