The Katrina Code – The Cold Case Quartet, Book #1 by Jørn Lier Horst; Translated by Anne Bruce




Book blurb

Katharina went missing twenty-four years ago.

Each year on the anniversary of her disappearance Chief Inspector William Wisting visits her husband, the man he could never help.

He re-reads her files, searching for the answer he could never find.

The code he could never solve.

Until now.

This year is going to be different.

Another woman is missing.

And so is Katharina’s husband.

Wisting has to find him, but is he rescuing a dear friend, or playing a deadly game?

Set between the icy streets and dark forests of Norway, The Katharina Code is a heart-stopping story of one man’s obsession with his coldest case. Atmospheric, gripping and suspenseful; this is Nordic Noir at its very best.

My thoughts

This book took about a quarter of the way through to really ramp up the tension and get into it’s stride. The first quarter is really setting the scene, the place and introducing the characters, in particular Wisting himself. Whilst this is the first book of four which has Wisting looking at cold cases it is not the first book with Wisting as the main character. For someone who had not read anything previously written by Jørn Lier Horst this was invaluable background which was both interesting and helpful. So be assured that this book can be read without having read any of the previous books. If you have read the others there is plenty of good reading in this portion of the book that you will not only need to read but will want to.

The story itself has Wisting looking ‘off the books’ at an old case of a woman, Katerina, who went missing over two decades ago and has never been found. It is quite a mystery to him and a note left behind at the time seems to be a code which has yet to be solved. Over the years he has remained in touch with Katerina’s husband, Martin, always visiting him on the anniversary of her disappearance. As he goes for his annual visit this year Martin seems to have disappeared.

Wisting – Chief Inspector William Wisting of the Larvik Police, Norway – is a terrific character we find that he is a widow and, recently, has become a grandfather. He has grown children, twins, Line and Thomas. Wistings family life is an integral part of the story which allows Horst to show how cases impact upon him personally and from which we can learn his character, how he conducts himself, what drives him and what type of detective he is.

As the story develops we learn that CCG Kripos, a national cold case department, has re-opened an old case that of Nadia Krogh a child who had been kidnapped in the late eighties. The lead detective on the reopened case is Adrian Stiller.

Wisting is teamed up with Stiller and he learns of new evidence that has come to light on the Kroger investigation. His daughter, Line, also gets involved as she is asked to return to work early from maternity leave as an investigative journalist.  As we follow Wisting, Stiller and Line the threads of the case are laid out and we learn what happened all those years ago.

As the story comes to a climax Wisting is placed in a pretty precarious position in order to gain important information.

This book is a really good read and I would certainly recommend it to all who enjoy a good detective story. Wisting is a terrific detective, realistically portrayed, the story is well plotted and nicely paced. It will be interesting to see the TV version when it arrives in the meantime there are a good few books that can be enjoyed.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for an eARC of The Katerina Code via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for this review.


Publisher: MICHAEL JOSEPH an imprint of MICHAEL JOSEPH UK| USA | Canada | Ireland | Australia India | New Zealand | South Africa Michael Joseph is part of the Penguin Random House group of companies whose addresses can be found at


Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Penguin (13 Dec. 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1405938064

ISBN-13: 978-1405938068

Buy:         Waterstones    Amazon


Jørn Lier Horst is a prize-winning crime writer and former Senior Investigating Officer in the Norwegian police force. He made his literary debut as a crime writer in 2004 and is now considered one of the top Nordic crime writers. His William Wisting series has been extremely successful – it has sold more than 1 million copies in Norway alone, been translated into thirty languages, and is being adapted for television.


Visit Jørn Lier Horst Website                  Follow on Twitter @LierHorst

William Wisting Series

  1. Key Witness (Org. Nøkkelvitnet, 2004)
  2. Disappearance of Felicia (Org. Felicia forsvant, 2005)
  3. When the Sea Calms (Org. Når havet stilner, 2006)
  4. The Only One (Org. Den eneste ene, 2007)
  5. Nocturnal Man (Org. Nattmannen, 2009)
  6. Dregs (Org. Bunnfall, 2010) – translated into English by Anne Bruce, 2011
  7. Closed for Winter (Org. Vinterstengt, 2011) – translated into English 2013
  8. The Hunting Dogs (Org. Jakthundene, 2012) – translated into English 2014
  9. The Caveman (Org. Hulemannen, 2013) – translated into English 2015
  10. Ordeal (Org. Blindgang, 2015) – translated into English 2016
  11. When It Grows Dark (Org. Når Det Mørkner, 2016) – translated into English 2016 (A prequel to the series.)
  12. The Katharina Code (Org. Katharina-koden, 2017) – translated into English 2018 (Book #1 ‘The Cold Case Quartet’)


The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize in 2011 for Closed for Winter
The Riverton Prize in 2013 for The Hunting Dogs
The Glass Key award in 2013 for The Hunting Dogs
The Martin Beck Award in 2014 for The Hunting Dogs
The Petrona Award in 2016 for The Caveman

Other work

Together with award-winning illustrator and animator Hans Jørgen Sandnes, Horst has created the bestselling children’s book series Detective Agency No. 2 for ages 6-9. Set in the idyllic small town of Riverton, the Detective Agency No. 2 series follows the adventures of our main protagonists Tiril and Oliver – not to mention their dog Ocho! Together the two young detectives collect evidence, search for connections, and join the at times perilous hunt for criminals. Concluding each book is an afterword in which readers can put their own sleuthing skills to the test.

Jørn Lier Horst is also the author behind the highly praised CLUE series for children aged 9-12.


Anne Bruce has degrees in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University Nynorsk and Bokmål classic and modern texts, written and spoken Norwegian, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish. She has traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia on lecture and study visits, and undertaken translation and interpretation for visiting groups from Norway. She now lives on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.  She has translated Wencke Mühleisen’s I Should Have Lifted You Carefully Over, Jørn Lier Horst’s Dregs, and Anne Holt’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst.

Follow Anne Bruce on Twitter

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Shortlisted: 2018 Costa Novel Award



Book blurb

When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters. The Trojan War is known as a man’s story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead? In this historical novel, Pat Barker charts one woman’s journey through the chaos of the most famous war in history, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.

My thoughts

Having read a little of Greek mythology and history including some of Troy, Helen and so on I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read this fascinating book.

Written from the viewpoint of Briseis, former princess of the Trojan city of Lyrnessus, now Achilles’s prize, his slave. This take on the Trojan Wars brings home how the fate of women has so often hung on the whim of men. This is a fresh, new and exciting take on Homer’s Iliad.  Showing the effect of the Trojan war, indeed pretty much any war, on women and Briseis is a great voice to tell it. However, Pat Barker also gives account of how the war effects the men, how upbringing has shaped attitudes and how accepting of killing, of battle, of war and all it’s consequences men are and, if only for appearances sake, women have to be. Or do they? Should women remain silent? Should they accept their fate? Or can they be outspoken? Should they be willing to loose their own identity, their own traditions, customs and history? It is so very difficult to rail against a mighty foe. Briseis sees how very difficult it is to do any of this, indeed to even be seen as a person rather than a possession.

As we see how the War plays out we find out the fate of Troy, of Briseis, of Achilles, of the  women whose silence has been shattered in this very timely, wonderfully brought to life story.

This is a wonderful retelling, reimagining of that piece of history and one that will long live in the memory of the reader.

With thanks to Penguin Books UK, Hamish Hamilton via NetGalley for an eARC of The Silence of the Girls. This review is purely my own thoughts and, for which, I have received no payment.




Publisher: Hamish Hamilton  (30 Aug. 2018)

Hardcover: 336 pages   Language: English

ISBN-10: 0241338077    ISBN-13: 978-0241338070

Penguin Random House

Sep 04, 2018 | 304 Pages

Buy:             The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

AmazonUK       Waterstones       AmazonUS


AF542681-BEBF-4057-A2F8-65096CF7215CPat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing and exploring the lives of working class women, she sent her fiction out to publishers. Thirty-five years later, she’s published fifteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature, and won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK’s highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics. She lives in Durham.

Pat Barker|British Council


Books by Pat Barker


2018: The Silence of the Girls
2015: Noonday
2012: Toby’s Room
2007: Life Class
2003: Double Vision
2001: Border Crossing
1998: Another World
1995: The Ghost Road
1993: The Eye in the Door
1991: Regeneration
1989: The Man Who Wasn’t There
1986: The Century’s Daughter
1984: Blow Your House Down
1982: Union Street


2000: CBE
1996: Booksellers’ Association Author of the Year Award
1995: Booker Prize for Fiction
1994: Northern Electric Special Arts Prize
1993: Guardian Fiction Prize
1983: Fawcett Society Book Prize


The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The New Hercule Poirot Mystery


Book blurb

Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy.

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

My thoughts

This is the third book by Sophie Hannah that brings Agatha Christie’s Belgian Private Detective Hercule Poirot back, giving the reader a new mystery to enjoy.

As I considered what to write I have a small (!) confession to make. Ah, you say, already the influence of Hercule Poirot is at work. What might I have to feel guilty about? Surely such an upright citizen (?) could not have any, what do you say, mmmm….. skeletons in the closet? But, my friends, I must tell you this – I have never read any Poirot books well not until now. So, there you have it, shocking I know. However, there is more? oh dear! Perhaps worse still is that I have something of a preference for, she will remain nameless in this post, the other Agatha Christie amateur detective.

You may find all this somewhat beyond the pale. How could I dare to thrust my opinions upon you with so little familiarity with M. Poirot? I will not use my watching of him on the little or big screen in my favour just to say we must all begin somewhere and this is where I have begun my foray into the world of Hercule Poirot.

Well now, the book. The opportunity to read a Poirot mystery not by Agatha Christie appealed to me even though I had not read the previous two books by Sophie Hannah. Starting here is not an issue for the stories stand alone. Of course, as with any series, the style and characterisations grow stronger, more confident and rounded with each book. This being the third such book it is not surprising then to feel that Sophie Hannah is presenting an accomplished and quintessential piece of writing. It is unique and yet evocative of the great lady herself, a masterly piece of writing.

The mystery is thoroughly enjoyable, well thought out and will keep you guessing. I rather liked Hercule Poirot a character I had never really warmed to in my (non-reading) Poirot experience. The Mystery of Three Quarters is mainly written from the point of view of Police Detective Inspector Edward Catchpool who is a new character introduced by Sophie Hannah. As is Fee Spring, a wonderful character, who brings a down to earth element to the book and gives one outlet for the humour than can be found throughout the story.

The Mystery of Three Quarters is a terrific read, thoroughly enjoyable, well written and well worth reading. I can see that, like me, if you haven’t read Agatha Christie’s Poirot that these books from Sophie Hannah will open up a wonderful world of new stories from both authors and for those who are already fans of Agatha Christie’s Poirot surely these books will be a great pleasure to read and an opportunity to expand their collection of Poirot mysteries.

With thanks to HarperCollins via NetGalley for an eARC copy of The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. This review is purely my own thoughts and, for which, I have received no payment.


Pages:         401   (Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0008264457)

Publisher:  HarperCollins (23 Aug. 2018)   (Paperback:  4 Apr 2019)

Language:  English


Buy:             Waterstones       Amazon


E86ADA2C-7F97-4C52-85EA-14727F2FB983SOPHIE HANNAH is an internationally bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in more than 35 languages. Her novel The Carrier won Crime Thriller of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, and as a poet has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Sophie has written two previous Hercule Poirot novels, The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, both of which were top five Sunday Times bestsellers.

Sophie Hannah:   Website       Twitter


The Hercule Poirot Series from Sophie Hannah
Also by Sophie Hannah

Little Face   Hurting Distance   The Point of Rescue   The Other Half Lives   A Room Swept White   Lasting Damage    Kind of Cruel     The Carrier       The Orphan Choir      The Telling Error    Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen        A Game for All the Family  The Narrow Bed   Did You See Melody?



2F6698C5-2EDB-486B-9501-1F8CB27C93ACAGATHA CHRISTIE is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, more than 20 plays, and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott.

Agatha Christie:     Website         Agatha Christie Ltd.           Twitter

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay

The Skylarks’ War marks the centenary of the end of the First World War and is a classic in the making.


An evocative and heartbreaking novel of family and friendship in wartime from Hilary McKay, award-winning author of the Casson Family Chronicles.


Book blurb

The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.

When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?


My thoughts

This is the story of Clarissa ‘Clarry’ Penrose and her brother Peter along with their cousin Rupert and friends Simon, his sister Vanessa and Violet. It starts in 1902 and finishes sometime after 1918.

This is a wonderful story it depicts life in the early 20th century for Clarry and Co. in language that brings an understanding of the times so clearly and without fuss. It will make you laugh, cry and it will carry you along with the delightful and the dreadful stories of childhood and youth. Clarry is wonderful and Hilary McKay has used her voice beautifully to bring her family, friends and the period vividly to life.

An outstanding book, exquisitely written which will engage the reader and draw them into the lives, the life and the times keeping them engrossed until the very end.

This book may be for 9-11 year olds but it is a book that anyone who reads will be captivated by. It is timely to be published on the 100th anniversary of WWI ending but this is not solely a wartime story and so can be read at any time and, surely, it will be read often and by many over the years. Of course, it can and should be used as a vehicle in the study of the Great War and young peoples, especially girls, lives at the time in schools, libraries and homes. This is a book worthy of any and every bookshelf everywhere, deserved of all the praise and plaudits it has and should receive. I liked it and would highly recommend to all.

I received an e-copy off The Skylarks’ War from the publisher via NetGalley – for which, my thanks. I have not received any payment and all thoughts are my own.




Publisher:        Pan MacMillan Children’s Books

Age Range:      9 – 11 years

Published:       Main Market edition (20 Sept. 2018)

Hardcover:     320 pages             Language: English

ISBN-10: 1509894942                  ISBN-13: 978-1509894949

Buy:               Amazon UK


4F37C9B3-6963-4348-AFAB-8BC7DD338849Hilary McKay is a critically acclaimed award-winning author, having won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Exiles, and going on to win the Smarties and the Whitbread (now the Costa) Award for The Exiles in Love and Saffy’s Angel. Hilary studied Botany and Zoology at the University of St Andrews and went on to work as a biochemist, before the draw of the pen became too strong and she decided to become a full-time writer. Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales was her first book with Macmillan Children’s Books and is a critically acclaimed classic-in-the-making, whilst her novel The Skylarks’ War is a classic in the making. Hilary lives in Derbyshire with her family.

Hilary McKay Website



#BlogTour – The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond

The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.



Book Blurb:

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

My thoughts

The book opens with the narrator attending the funeral of his old tutor and friend Francis Benthem. Benthem had come to Cyprus some years before and they had lost touch over the years but he still regarded him as a father-figure, a mentor of his formative years as an artist. It was a curious funeral and our narrator, whose name we never learn, wonders about Benthems death and the life he lived in Cyprus. Who is Illy Prostakov and what was the work Benthem did for him?

Our narrator is curious, some might say too curious for his own good! As we follow him around Cyprus, meeting a variety of strange and fascinating souls in a variety of weird and wonderful places our curiosity equally draws us in.

For a short novel, there’s just 155 pages, it packs in plenty of mystery and given that the language and plot has to be tight you do not feel rushed. This literary thriller is somewhat dark but there is nothing graphic with much of the action coming toward the end of the book. And what an ending it is, nicely done!

Cyprus is splendidly brought to life and we get a real sense of history, culture and setting. I really enjoyed this element of the book. We learn who the ‘Golden Orphans’ are and their origin. The descriptive narration truly enhances the mystery and tension, evoking a real sense of disquiet throughout the book.

Blog tours are such fun as they bring books to your attention that you might not otherwise have come across and so you are able to enjoy different genres or types of genre such as The Golden Orphans. This novel was captivating and for those who like a dark, atmospheric read this book may well be one for you.



My thanks to Gary Raymond and Parthian Books for providing me an e-copy of this book & Emma (#damppebblesblogtours) for inviting me to participate in the blog tour….

Blog Tour

Like to find out more about The Golden Orphans ? Then why not take a spin around the rest of these terrific blogs…..



Published:     Parthian Books on 30th June 2018  @parthianbooks

Buy:                Amazon UK         Amazon US        KOBO      Waterstones


585FD98D-34DB-4CF3-86F9-A389FD60A17AGary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.


Gary Raymond on Twitter

Gary Raymond on Facebook

Amazon Author Page



#BlogTour – No Time To Cry by James Oswald

From one of the UK’s biggest crime writers – a phenomenal new series guaranteed to have your heart in your mouth. 


From the man who brought you the bestselling Inspector McLean novels.

Book blurb

Undercover ops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.

Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He’s been executed – a single shot to the head.

In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con’s shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief… right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.

There’s no place to hide, and no time to cry.



I’m delighted to have been invited to join the No Time To Cry BlogTour by Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours and to be opening the tour today alongside  @collinsjacob115  Do take a look at the BlogTour details below.

My thoughts

Although I’ve heard good things about his books I’d not read any James Oswald before! So when the opportunity arose to join this tour I jumped at it.

I’ve often said that one of my main reasons for reading a series from a writer, apart from a cracking good story of course, is the ability to get to know it’s characters especially the main character(s), the author has the time to bring that insight and depth. With No Time To Cry there is one main character and the reader is immersed in DC Constance ‘Con’ Fairchild. The story is told from her point of view, by her and we are immediately plunged into her thoughts, life and character.

The premise is terrific DC Fairchild is working an undercover operation and is called into the operations base where she finds her boss DI Pete Copperthwaite dead, he’s been shot, executed. DCI Bain attends the scene, even in the initial response to Pete’s murder it’s fast becoming clear that something is seriously amiss. Con is sent home to await a debrief.

She takes a slight detour on the way home to the station to check out the surveillance system in the ops base. What she finds only confirms all her fears and when she comes in for the debrief it’s clear where the blame is being laid.  Is Con really a suspect – how could that be? Pete wasn’t just her boss, he was her friend someone she looked up to and respected she could never do such a thing! Surely they know that….

Professional Standards are being brought in and Con’s life and career seem to be going down the pan fast. Then someone tries to kill her.

An old school friend makes contact with Con, asking for help, her little sister Izzy has disappeared. Con’s a bit surprised – why hasn’t Izzy been officially reported missing?

The characters are well drawn, as you would expect from such an experienced author, the story builds pace and tension with plenty to keep you guessing along the way. Some of the characters are not too nice and some of the subject matter may be difficult but there is nothing overly graphic. I liked Con, although the role Pete was given irked ever so slightly, she has an interesting background and a strong spirit.

As the plot thickens we follow Con north to escape the threat in London and get some space to work out what’s going on. There are twists and turns to this elaborate plot which unfold as Con puts the pieces together. Will she find Izzy before it’s too late? Will she clear her name of Pete’s murder and find the real killer? This is a compelling story.

I look forward to reading more of Constance Fairchild.



Now enjoy the BlogTour Wildfire Q&A with James Oswald……


Quickfire Questions with James Oswald

Give us three adjectives to best describe your new novel?                   Thrilling, breathless, short

What are the three most important character traits of your protagonist? Dogged determination, ability to think on her feet, she doesn’t much care what others think of her

Where is the novel set?
London, Northamptonshire, Perthshire and Angus

Who is your biggest influence as a writer?
Without a doubt, Terry Pratchett

Have you ever killed anyone off from real life in one of your novels?
Frequently. One friend even asked if he could be the villain. He dies naked in his bath.

What was your favourite ‘terrible’ review?
The Hangman’s Song, book three in the Inspector McLean series, has a one star Amazon review that ends “Incidentally, even the title is misleading – there’s no singing in the book.”

What is your favourite writing snack?
Chocolate. It’s the perfect brain food.

Which of your characters would you most like to have dinner with?
Madame Rose. Or maybe Mrs McCutcheon’s Cat.

Blog Tour

With thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the No Time To Cry Blog Tour and to Wildfire for a copy of the book. Like to hear more about it? Then check out these brilliant Blogs………



Published by:  36D76A6F-4EA2-46D5-AB7D-33FC7DF32D00     Wildfire an imprint of the Headline Division of Hachette UK

HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (An Hachette UK Company)   @HachetteUK

Publication: 1 Nov. 2018        Paperback; Ebook and Audiobook are also available.



James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James’s first two books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. AS COLD AS THE GRAVE is the ninth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

James Oswald Website     @SirBenfro


Inspector McLean Series


As J D Oswald, James has also written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men. The whole series is now available in print, ebook and audio formats.


#BlogTour – TRAP by Lilja Sigurdardóttir (Translated By Quentin Bate)

A breathtakingly original thriller by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series

Film rights sold to Palomar Pictures


Book blurb

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all …   Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My thoughts

I recently bought, read and reviewed Snare the first in this series and loved it so when the opportunity came along from Anne Cater and Orenda Books to join the BlogTour for Trap I was delighted, thrilled and happy to do so.

Would it be as good? Second books often take a dip for the reader, perhaps the after glow  from a such a good first book means anything else has to do such a lot to even come near to matching that. Well Trap doesn’t disappoint.

It takes up the story from Snare seamlessly, which means that you really should read that first, it is written in the same crisp, clever and deft way with the short passages not only keeping you gripped right from the start but bringing pace, life and tension into this wonderfully plotted story.

We’re in 2011, Sonja is in Florida with Thomás but not for long. Freedom can be very fleeting as Sonja realises and running away turned out to be all too short. Back in Reykjavík Sonja finds herself back to square one, perhaps even worse off as she is not being allowed to see Thomás. She is formulating another plan because not seeing Thomás isn’t an option and she wants to be free. Still plans can be made but there are no guarantees they will work out as well as is hoped. There are many twists and turns in the book so even when unexpected help seems to offer you what you desire it may not be quite what it seems and maybe the cost will be too high.

We continue to hear from Agla both through the investigation that is being conducted into the financial crisis and with her relationship to Sonja. This thread sets the timing, the modern period, of the book and allows us to better understand it. It also gives the book more depth partly for this reason but also, more importantly for me, because of the way it connects and weaves the characters stories. Something that Lilja Sigurdardóttir does so well.

I loved many of the characters, I didn’t love some characters. None of them are wholly innocent but, as in ‘real life’, are often flawed. Telling the story mainly through Sonja’s perspective allows the reader to empathise even if we don’t agree with what happens, we can understand why the situation has come about, similarly with Agla and Bragi, which is perhaps why it is easy to connect to their stories. Thomás’ voice, which we hear now and again, is wonderful and gives a further perspective on how adult choices can impact their children’s lives and how children see the resulting situation.

The translation by Quentin Bates ensures that you live in the world created by Lilja Sigurdardóttir so fully you can feel the icy blasts or the drip of sweat, both from the geography of the book and the situations within it.

This is a terrific book, a cracking read and most definitely recommended. I for one can hardly wait for the third book – Cage – to be published in English.


With huge thanks to Orenda Books for an e-copy of Trap and many thanks to Anne from #RandomThingsTours for inviting me on this wonderful #BlogTour

Blog Tour

Enjoy following the #Trap #BlogTour brought to you by the fabulous Orenda Books and Anne Cater…..




Publisher:       6CD2608E-0DFB-429A-940D-E582FB98C696    Orenda Books   (18 Oct. 2018)

Language:       English         Paperback: 230 pages

ISBN-10: 1912374358           ISBN-13: 978-1912374359

Buy:                  Amazon UK


98A11A54-4DAD-4EFA-A37E-AF32B4BC3420Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow Lilja on Twitter  and on her Website


Steps (Spor), 2009
Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010
Snare (Gildran) 2015 (Reykjavík Noir 1)
Trap (Netið) 2016 (Reykjavík Noir 2)
Cage (Búrið) 2017 (Reykjavík Noir 3)
Svik (no English title yet) 2018

Lilja’s latest book, Svik is a standalone thriller with a political twist and will be published in Iceland in October 2018 by Forlagid publishing.



A058E33B-78A4-4702-A31F-A65537E19136Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England.

He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as novels.

Visit him at Quentin’s website or on Twitter.