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review 2016-03-21 10:37
Review: Missing in Malmö (Inspector Anita Sundström #3) by Torquil MacLeod
Missing in Malmö - Torquil MacLeod

Publisher: McNidder & Grace Crime (10th December 2015)

 

ISBN: 978-0857161154

 

Source: Publisher provided review copy

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

When a British heir hunter fails to return home after a trip to Malmö, Inspector Anita Sundström doesn't want to get entangled in a simple missing person's case. She shows a similar reluctance when her ex-husband begs her to find his girlfriend, who seems to have disappeared. But when the mysteries take a sinister turn, Sundström finds herself inextricably involved in both baffling affairs, one of which seems to be connected to a robbery that took place twenty years earlier. As the cases begin to unravel, tragedy awaits the investigating team in the third Anita Sundström Malmö mystery.

 

Review:

Having read and enjoyed the first two Anita Sundström mysteries, I was eagerly looking forward to this third instalment. Torquil MacLeod has an engaging writing style that is easy to read and draws you from the outset.

 

The two missing persons cases that form the plot are both intriguing and confounding, and as Anita and her team delve further, some astonishing facts are revealed. Just when I thought I knew who had done what, another revelation was revealed. There are more twists and turns here than your average rollercoaster!

 

Feisty Anita Sundström is one of the most fascinating characters I've come across in the last couple of years, so getting to learn more about her personal story in Missing in Malmö was a much appreciated bonus to this fantastic story. Her trip to the UK, accompanied by her amusing perceptions of British mannerisms, adds a touch of humour that is both welcome and unexpected.

 

Thanks to McNidder & Grace for the review copy, which was provided in return for my honest review.

 

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review 2015-01-19 23:34
Someone to Watch Over Me
Someone to Watch Over Me: A Thriller (Thora Gudmundsdottir) - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

By Yrsa Sigurdardottir
ISBN: 9781250051479
Publisher: St Martin's Press/Minotaur
Publication Date: 2/17/2015
Format: Other
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, Yrsa Sigurdardottir’slatest complex crime thriller (Thora Gudmundsdottir #5 Series)reminding you of the classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,with this multi-layered dark spine-chilling psycho- Nordic noir.

Set in Iceland, a fire, an arson eighteen months earlier. A young man, Jakob with Down's Syndrome had been convicted of burning down a residential assisted living facility and killing five people.

A fellow inmate of the Secure Psychiatric Unit (SPU) at Sogan has requested Thor’s assistance, and says Jakob is his friend. He is twenty years old and may spend the rest of his life here. Karlsoon says Jakob did not do it, and wants Thora to prove it.

Until 1992, prisoners with mental health problems had either been placed in institutions aboard or simply kept among the general population at Litla-Hraun prison. Neither option was ideal. The first option: the language barrier, untold hardships and the distance from their family and friends. The latter: The prison was not an adequate healthcare facility.

Thora did not know how well the prisoners considered to be of sound mind would interact with those suffering from mental illness, and she could not imagine how the harsh conditions of prison life could possibly be conducive to the treatment of the criminally insane. All seven places at Sogna were always occupied.

The guy hiring her is no run of the mill inmate, due to lack of evidence in several cases, he received suspended sentence of six years for false imprisonment. Twelve years later he sexually assaulted a teen, and this time there was no neighbor who intervened. However, when reading through the records, the police had received an anonymous tip telling them exactly where to find certain things.

He was found guilty but declared no criminally liable due to insanity. This meant he was acquitted of criminal charged and sentenced to the SPU, until the court proposed he was no longer a threat. He now has been here eight years and says he has inherited money from his mother. And he says, “A child who’s had their fingers burned might still want to play with tire. “ (now wonder what he means by this) we soon find out.

The mystery heats up as one case turns into several involving arson, murder, rape, and financial corruption. Thora continues to receive texts from an unidentified sender who seems to be feeding her enigmatic clues. A mysterious set of numbers and letters appears in a text, as well as on a frosted window and in the drawings of an autistic boy. Then, there is a haunted house and a ghost. And how is the multiple murder connected to the death of a young woman, killed in what was supposed to be a hit-and-run?

Wow, Thora is really thrown into a complex case(s), and in addition dealing with the disabled, family of those with disabilities, as well as the world of rehabilitation, she is dealing with criminals--she has to question.

There are numerous pieces to this mysterious puzzle and Thora is tenacious, in getting to the core to connect all the dots. At the same time she relates to Iceland's recent financial and economical issues, and other items of reference to provide vivid descriptions and settings of the area. Many secondary characters, with twists and turns for a complex multi-layered engrossing suspense, and the cases all come together for an explosive ending.

Well written and intense, with extensive research into mental illness, emotional and social issues, with a nice balance of Thora’s work and personal life. My first book by this author, and look forward to reading more!

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1093770038
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review 2014-10-31 18:35
Not Fossum's Finest
I Can See in the Dark - Karin Fossum

As someone who has read every book by this author, this was my least favorite Karin Fossum book.

I didn't find this book as approachable or engaging as I have found others in her series. On that note, I will say as a true Fossum fan and the catalyst who led me into my love of Nordic Noir, her irony of writing on a criminal who was charged with a crime he didn't commit was hilarious.

On that note, if one is new to Nordic Noir, I would start with her Inspector Sejer series.

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review 2014-08-04 02:12
The Son by Jo Neabø
The Son - Jo Nesbo,Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbø is a pure gold phenomenon. An economist, active musician/songwriter/vocalist, ex-footballer (retired due to injury); he confessed in 2013 to be behind the pen-name of Tom Johansen; novelist of a successful children's book series featuring Fart Powders and a wildly popular, mad-cap Doctor Proctor; he's considered the top Norwegian crime fiction author globally, and now with his new anti-hero, there is five-star splendor in The Son...

 

30 year old Sonny Lofthus is kept in a perpetual catatonic state through a constant supply of drugs. Left in a position to be easily set up for the crimes of others, he is imprisoned at Oslo's most modern state of the art institution, Staten - an impenetrable structure that itself oozes evil from every brick of its foundation. Lofthus's name is even more tainted by the fact that his father committed suicide, a disgraced officer gone astray by his own corrupt misdeeds.

 

There is a power struggle of good and evil in Nesbo's uberdark novel. I'm not just talking 'good guy- bad guy stuff', or even a seasoned crime hero with a looming shadow like Harry Hole. The difference in Sonny Lofthus's case is that, although 30 years old, he has the mind of a teenager, an untested innocence, has been in prison nearly half his life and is already in the fires of hell. Immediately the reader sympathizes with his character. Immediately, we know that any ill conceived actions he does next will be tolerated, because we want him to prevail.

 

Counterbalancing this black soul is an aura of mystification - Sonny appears to have the touch of a miracle-worker: he can see into the deepest of a man's soul, he can absolve the worst of sins weighing on the guilty conscience, he can heal the sick, well, maybe spiritually anyway. And he's highly intelligent, too. Maybe he is the almighty?

 

When Sonny learns from an inmate that his father was set up and was, in reality, murdered, he plans his escape in the clever, high-tech fashion that only Jo Nesbo could pull off, nothing would get in the way of the bloody string of vendettas he has in mind. Nesbo readers expect the mind bending plot twists and palpitating thrills, the highly sophisticated criminal systems and Norwegian underworld network, they're here. New are the half-way hostels: the public funded programs that provide sanctuary for drug addicts to get off the streets of Oslo. This is such an interesting concept, one I would love to see compared to the ridiculously over-priced drug rehabs in this country.

 

There's a lot to entertain the die-hard Nordic noir reader; once finished, you'd want to read it again, straight away. I look forward to much more of Sonny Lofthus. I highly recommend this new Nesbo crime thriller (apparently to become a TV series).

 

We love Sonny, Jo!

 

Skoal!

 

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review 2013-11-10 17:26
Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnes Friis
Death of a Nightingale - Lene Kaaberbol;Agnete Friis

Find this review and much more at Read, Run, Ramble 

Thank you Soho Crime via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!

This is the third installment in the Nina Borg series by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnes Friis. I've reviewed both the previous books as well -
The Boy in the Suitcase and Invisible Murder.

Nina Borg, a Danish Red Cross Nurse hell bent on saving the world, is reunited with characters from the first and second books, Natasha and Katerina Dorshenko. Natasha is on the run with her daughter Katerina. They're running from a past that has haunted them since Natasha's first marriage to Katerina's father, Pavel. Pavel was a journalist who's writing often shared secrets some didn't want shared, which eventually led to his death and Natasha's running.

While telling the current day story of Natasha and Katerina, Kaaberbol and Friis also weave in the story of two young Ukrainian girls growing up in Stalin's Great Purge during the 1930's. This is one of the aspects I like most about the Borg series. Kaaberbol and Friis always have two pretty major plots that intersect in unsuspecting ways so readers will always be looking to make a connection, trying to make the pieces fit, but the authors are too crafty to make it that easy - readers will have to wait until all is revealed!

As the two stories unravel readers may get confused. This novel was a bit harder to follow for some reason. I can't pinpoint why because all Nordic tales are harder for me to follow since I don't have the dialect or background down (though I'm getting there as I read more), but this one had me a little lost several times. All was clear by the end though so don't give up!!

Nina sometimes garners sympathy from readers and other times will probably simply frustrate them, but that's what is great about a protagonist with issues! She's flawed just like the rest of us. In this story she still battles between her career and her family. Nina loves her children and her husband, but due to past issues she's faced, she has many demons to conquer and they often manifest in ways that make her feel unequipped as a mother, and set her off on her path to save others, which often puts her family right in the middle of the drama. Whether it is missing a major event in one of her children's lives or simply disappearing for long periods of time, Nina has caused quite a fault line in her marriage and her relationship with her children.

I enjoyed this installment, but not as much as I thought I would. I've mentioned it was a little more confusing, but it was also a little slower than the past two - it dragged a bit and I struggled to stay with it. I believe the two go hand in hand because as things started becoming clearer and the confusion was lessened, the novel became increasingly more interesting. I still plan to continue with the series if more books are released.

I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews. 

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