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The Seven Doors By Agnes Ravtn

The Seven Doors‘The Seven Doors’ is the latest book by Agnes Ravtn.

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition. When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit. With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Nordic Noir so I was looking forward to reading ‘The Seven Doors’.

The story is seen through the narrative of Literary professor Nina who believes that English professors should be capable of investigating crimes due to their knowledge of myths and folklores and this sets up the premise of the story. Nina finds herself obsessing over the disappearance of Mari Neilson who was the former tenant in an apartment that she and her husband Mads had. She was unaware of the woman being a tenant in the house until she and her daughter visited it as her daughter Ingeberg was wanting to move in ahead of her second pregnancy.

The story then flows with Nina doing her own investigative work into the disappearance, retracing Mari’s last steps and her relationships with her parents as well as her ex husband Nicolas Bull, who’s returned to the Bergen area after being gone for years. Although we only meet Mari once in a story for a brief introduction, Agnes creates a full image of the woman with stories from her parents and ex husband all giving an insight into the woman.

The story is cleverly crafted with references to Nordic folk lore which is where the title of the book comes from. A captain called Bluebeard’s Castle who had 7 doors in his house and forbid his wife from looking behind them. It’s a tale of revenge, loss and jealousy and it’s essentially what this book is also about.

The story is extremely atmospheric and the author includes vivid descriptions of the town, the food and the festive traditions. The descriptions of the snow covered streets to the unsettling folklores made for fascinating reading. The story is primarily about the complexities of relationships, Nina has a strained relationship with her often outspoken and robust daughter Ingeberg and struggles to connect with her granddaughter who is always pushing her away and Mads is often working and leaving Nina to her own thoughts.

This book was a fascinating to read, but the author does not include speech marks so it takes a while to get used too but after a few pages, you don’t notice it.

Atmospheric and suspenseful with tension simmering throughout, ‘The Seven Doors’ was originally a Nordic book that has been translated by Rosie Hedger and for the English market.

‘The Seven Doors’ is a twisted story with drama and unreliable characters that made for gripping reading.

You can buy ‘The Seven Doors’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Hermit By S.R White

Hermit‘Hermit’ is the latest book by S.R White.

After a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia, detective Dana Russo has just hours to interrogate the prime suspect – a silent, inscrutable man found at the scene of the crime, who disappeared without trace 15 years earlier. But where has he been? Why won’t he talk? And exactly how dangerous is he? Without conclusive evidence to prove his guilt, Dana faces a desperate race against time to persuade him to speak. But as each interview spirals with fevered intensity, Dana must reckon with her own traumatic past to reveal the shocking truth.

‘Hermit’ is a quite a somber and perculiar story that was initially a slow burner but once it got flowing, l quickly found myself absorbed in the story.

The story is about police detective Dana, who on the day that she is due to be off from work, gets called in for a murder case.

The main suspect is a quiet man called Nathan Whittler who’s found in the store where the owner has been fatally stabbed. Nathan is a reclusive character who hasn’t spoken to anyone in 15 years and has no fixed abode. Dana has been given 12 hours to solve the crime and break down Nathan’s barrier. But the day in which all this happens, is an anniversary that Dana prefers to spend alone.

The premise to this story is an intriguing one with a quiet and reflective detective who’s skill is to read people and get them to open up. Nathan is a complex character, having disappeared 15 years leaving no trace, he’s become detached from human interaction and his vulnerability is exposed when Dana interrogates him. The scenes with Dana and Nathan make for interesting reading, as much as Dana wants Nathan to tell the truth, she’s also protective of her vulnerability and sees some similarities in Nathan, as they both harbour pasts and secrets.

The story is set in the Australian outback and this makes for the perfect setting for the intense and claustrophobic story.

The book is a suspenseful story that really pulled me in, the story is cleverly crafted with flawed and sympathetic characters that the reader feels a connection with. I found Dana quite fascinating with her troubled past and her interactions with the colleagues who add an element of humour to the otherwise dark story.

One thing that troubled me about the story was that there wasn’t a proper reveal to the significant day that changed Dana’s life. Throughout the story, there were many references to the Day and made it to be quite a big part to the story and for not to properly reveal it. I found it to be quite disappointing. My only thoughts for this, was maybe the author was leaving it open for another book and if that’s the case, I’d readily read the book

A mysterious and thrilling story with an exciting plot line, ‘Hermit’ is a gripping tale that was impossible to put down.

You can buy ‘Hermit’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Helen Fields Reveals New Book – The Shadow Man

The Shadow ManIf you’re a fan of Helen Fields, then exciting news as she has revealed her new book for 2021 called ‘The Shadow Man’, which is a standalone novel and not part of the ‘DI Callanach’ series.

What the back cover says –

He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.

Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.

Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.

And he’s watching.

I’m a huge fan of Helen Fields’ books and I look forward to curling up with this thriller.

You can pre-order ‘The Shadow Man’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th February 2021.

A Song Of Isolation By Michael J. Malone

A Song Of Isolation‘A Song Of Isolation’ is the latest book by Michael J. Malone.

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went? Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country. While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

I’ll be honest when I settled into reading this book, I was unaware of the synopsis, so it was a bit of blind reading on my part, but I think that was the reason why I was genuinely enthralled with this story, a story of redemption, guilt and revenge.

The story is about successful actress Amelie Hart who on the day is deciding that she is going to break up with her partner Dave, is arrested for abusing their neighbours’ little girl. Ironically on this day, Dave is intending to propose to Amelie. The story then follows the couple as they go through the next few years with this allegation hanging over them, Dave serves a prison sentence even though Dave has always maintained his innocence. Whilst being in the public eye, Amelie is hounded by the press and by trolls on social media and decides to relocate to France to set up a new life and identity for herself. And Damaris, the little girl who accused Dave of the assault is left dealing with the scars of the accusations and abuse.

The multiple narratives to this story give it an interesting slant. Dave is a kind man, who has fought for his innocence and is serving his time with some of the worst people in the world and he is considered to be one of them which is heartbreaking to read in some parts. I genuinely liked Dave and as the story progressed, we see him regain some strength and belief in himself, but it’s saddening how the ordeal has impacted on his relationships with Amelie and his parents, who were there supporting him throughout. Amelie is also an interesting character, she’s a timid character who has experienced something significant in her past that impacted on her career and made her take a step back from the spotlight. So Dave’s allegation is public, it brings back memories of unhappier times and also shows Amelie who are her friends and who are enemies when everyone has an opinion on the situation. There are many unfortunate characters in this book and Damaris is one of them. Young, naive and stuck in the middle of an unhappy marriage.

I thought it was clever for the story to begin with the moment that Dave is arrested for the crime. At that point the reader hasn’t formed an opinion on him and think that he’s evil creature that the press and neighbours have portrayed to be.

A gripping and cunning story that really pulls the reader in, ‘A Song Of Isolation’ is a complex and dark story that delves into the dark side of human traits, exploring relationships, greed and the sinister world of the paparazzi, this book was a finely tuned thriller.

You can buy ‘A Song Of Isolation’ on Amazon

Blurred Lines By Hannah Begbie

Blurred Lines‘Blurred Lines’ is the latest book by Hannah Begbie.

When Becky walks in on her boss with a woman who isn’t his wife, she’s horrified, but says nothing. She owes Matthew too much. But when the same woman accuses him of rape, Becky is trapped in a nightmare. Was what she saw rape – or is Matthew, her trusted mentor, telling the truth? Becky must try to ignore her own traumatic past and its terrible hold on her. As Becky attempts to untangle these blurred lines, she risks everything, even her home and family, to find the truth…

I’ve been fortunate to have read some fantastic books this year but I have to say that the twist in ‘Blurred Lines’ has been the best one yet!

The story is about Becky who’s a budding film writer, walks in on her boss having sex with another woman. This woman then claims that she was raped and is looking for the woman who saw them to come forward as a witness. This happens at a critical time in Becky’s career when her script has been picked up by both a director and actress and finally her dreams might become a reality.

Becky is the mother to a teenage daughter called Georgia and is best friends with Georgia’s dad called Adam.

The story is written in past and present tense. The present tense is when Becky is also a teenager and goes to a house party and taking some pills and waking up the following morning with no memory. As time goes by and the pressure is on Becky to come forward, Becky finds herself questioning her own history and trying to piece together what happened to her that night at the house party that changed her life forever.

I genuinely loved this story, it was addictive reading with such a well written and crafted story story that I spent my Sunday absorbed in this book. Becky was a fantastic character, a strong woman who’s primary concern is her teenage daughter. As the story progresses and we see Becky explore her past and try to fill in the blank spaces, we see her realise her own worth and confront fears.

Fantastically written with one of the best twists of 2020, ‘Blurred Lines’ is a story of toxic masculinity, control and the pressures of society. With flashbacks, unreliable narratives and unlikable characters, this book is a compelling story, that’s prevalent to the #MeToo and is timely in its writing.

You can pre-order ‘Blurred Lines’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th August.