Delighted to be a part of the #ThreeHoursNovel #paperback #blogtour with huge thanks to @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks and of course, @Rosamundlupton

The blurb

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Children and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news. In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

My thoughts…

Yet do I fear thy nature…

Phew! Thrilling, terrifying and the stuff of nightmares… but also deeply rooted in humanity, this is a narrative that hooks you from the opening page into a world of violence, fear and deep shock; when all too real terror strikes at the heart of a rural community.

I teach in a school, and the notion of ever being in such a situation is deeply traumatising; the construction of this novel pulls you in to a seemingly actual timeline and really does not let you go until the last page is turned.

The heart of this story is what humanity draws upon in the darkest of moments, of what lies with our hearts, our compassion, our resilience and is rooted in our communities, whether we know it or not.

I loved this book; it was a nail-biting experience from start to finish, but the beauty of the relationships and selfless behaviour under extreme pressures also kept emotional tears in my eyes, and turned a harrowing story of radicalisation, grief, loss and the willingness to sacrifice into something very special . A book that stays with you long after the closing page is turned.

Highly recommended.

The Author

Rosamund Lupton graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. After reviewing books for the Literary Reviews and being invited to join the Royal Court Theatre, she won a television play competition and subsequently worked as a screen writer. Her debut novel Sister, was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies. It was the fastest-selling debut of 2010 by a British author, and was winner of the Richard and Judy Best Debut Novel of 2011 Award and the Strand Magazine Critics First Novel Award. Film rights of Sister are currently under option.

Lupton’s critically acclaimed second novel Afterwards also went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller lists and was the No. 2 Sunday Times fiction bestseller of 2011. The Quality of Silence her third novel was a Sunday Times best seller and a Richard & Judy book club pick.

My turn on the #blogtour for #Betrayal by @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks #Icelandnoir #thriller #newbook #bookchat

It’s my turn to chat about BETRAYAL by Lilja Sigurdardottir and published by Orenda Books, with thanks to Anne for the invite. This is an impressive Nordic Noir thriller set in the heart of Icelandic politics…

The Blurb

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.
But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…

My thoughts…

This is an impressive thriller set within the world of Icelandic politics, and its multi-layered narrative hooks you in via the split perspectives of our central characters, headed by Ursula, as she begins a new ministerial post. The story is built through rather short, sometimes choppy chapters; I really enjoyed the structure of the story-telling, and it dispersed what could have been a heavy read. This is no doubt a busy book, with layers from the past and present pulling together as you pick up the threads of all the characters lives and how they interconnect, as the theme of betrayal roots itself.

I always enjoy the sense of place many Nordic crime novels share, and this book is no exception. From the stilted and austere rooms of parliament, to homes and cityscapes netted with snow, this is a carefully crafted read.

I enjoyed the principal characters of Ursula, Stella and Gunnar. Gunnar in particular is endearing and well-drawn. It’s the complexities of Stella that are also engaging, and her position of a cleaner, is a clever play of this flawed and important character. I enjoyed her interaction and overall plotting with Ursula.

Ursula herself, is complex and has to deal with extremely challenging situations. Her past haunts her, and this builds fascinating layers, particularly as she deals with the issues of her new role. She remains constant as she battles the politics and misogynism around her.

A disconcerting and determined thriller set within the dangerous world of corruption and politics. Highly recommended.

The Blog Tour

The Author

Icelandic 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, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Orenda Books

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher
and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme.

Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been shortor long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions.

Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.


http://www.orendabooks.co.uk
@OrendaBooks

Delighted to be on the #BlogTour for #LittleBookofHope by @LouHallWriter @RandomTTours

It’s lovely to be a part of this blog tour chatting about the LITTLE BOOK OF HOPE by Louise Hall, with thanks to Anne for the invite. Please keep scrolling to find out more about my experience with this little pocket book with a big heart.

The Blurb

The past few months have made us realise that change is inevitable sometimes good but sometimes it can be cruel and makes your world go out of control. We might experience anxiety, low moods, night sweats, exhaustion or worse. We lose all hope and feel that there is nothing to look forward to.

Little Book of Hope helps you find your way back again through Reflections to guide you through the difficult times, together with: Family. Friends. Rest. Time – for yourself. Walk. Talk. Cry. Grieve. Meditate. Pray. Accept things. Patience.

Dedicated to all those around the world who have lost hard but loved much – that you may re-discover Hope and welcome the beautiful pleasure of joy back into your lives.

My thoughts…

It was a day when everything seemed to be coming at me from all directions. It was a day that tested my ability to cope, to keep going, to keep smiling. My divorce had just been finalised, my future needed building again, job insecurities burdened, and I began thinking of the need to find a new home for myself, my daughter, and my beloved pets. It was a day I was struggling with my health, inflammations, aches, pains, ulcers flaring from my Crohn’s. A day of struggle watching my parents dealing with my nan with dementia, and being unable to find an answer, of feeling helpless…and then the sudden loss of a friend of many years, taken so quickly. It all came at me at once whilst I was sitting in my car, a gasping sense of panic, extreme sadness and fear. After a few deep breaths, I got out and made my way home. On unlocking my door, I noticed a little parcel lay on my mat…

Being honest, I don’t believe in much, life has disillusioned me in so many ways, so whether just by coincidence, or cosmic intervention, or some would say divine intervention, I unwrapped and read a few pages of the LITTLE BOOK OF HOPE.

Everyone needs hope, in so many stages of our lives, and little books like these, I guess can be a comfort. I am a little cynical, but I think there’s always a time and place where something else is needed, and comfort can be sought. Louise Hall’s little pocket size book arrived at a time when I needed to sit down and think, and I suppose hope that things will get better. I know, they will. I know that with time, with support from family and friends, life will build again, and we can embrace a new start. This book is designed to dip in and out of, there are more religious sections, but not overwhelmingly so, therefore it worked for me. I didn’t read a few of the lines, I actually read it from start to finish. Not just because of this blog tour, but because I needed a lot of hope at that time. It made me cry, and I think that’s what I needed, to wash away the sadness, and to pick myself up again.

So, that’s my little story. As many of you know, books are for me a form of escapism. They allow me to escape, to live other lives, to visit other places, other worlds, to see life from so many different perspectives. This little book is all about YOU, and giving you that little pick up, when you need it. You can apply its words to so many situations, and it can give you the hope to hold on in there, or have patience, or to sit and reflect.

A pocketsize little book, that despite its small size holds inside the enormous capacity for hope, love, support, and care that you just might need, and a large dose of faith. For those times when life is tough, and perhaps a perfect little gift for others who may need it one day.

With thanks to Louise and Anne for the book and tour invite – and the rather cathartic blog post. Happy, more positive days and a better future are ahead. Little books like this can make a difference.

A thoughtful little book that offers you a time to pause, to take what’s needed and the hope to push forward.

The Blog Tour

The Author

Louise Hall is from Malahide, Co. Dublin. She has previously published two works of non-fiction, Medjugorje: What it Means to Me and Medjugorje and Me: A Collection of Stories from Across the World. Her fiction has been published in The Irish Times and been shortlisted for numerous competitions, such as the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Award, the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Competition and the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. Pilgrim is her debut novel.

Website: www.louisehall.ie

Twitter: @LouHallWriter

Instagram: @louisehallwriter

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Book-Hope-Louise-Hall/dp/1780364032/

Delighted to be on the #BlogTour today for #TheSevenDoors by Agnes Ravatn @OrendaBooks #NordicNoir #readers #bookreview #newbook

‘Unfolds in an austere style that perfectly captures the bleakly beautiful landscape of Norway’s far
north’
Irish Times

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her adult daughter Ingeborg are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
When Ingeborg decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman who rents it disappears, leaving behind her son, the day after Nina and Ingeborg 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.

My thoughts…

This was one of those books that once you start reading, you keep going until the end, despite the late hour. It’s not action packed or fast paced, it’s a very steady read, but completely absorbing. I have to admit there were some inferences that starting raising my curiosity fairly early on, and the ending proved that my ‘spidery’ senses were correct, so the outcome was not a surprise for me, but I loved watching the interactions of all the characters throughout: the network of lies, suspicions, greed, power-play, and manipulation provides great reading.

This is a layered psychological thriller with plenty of underlying drama. At the core is Nina, who is being displaced from her roots, and having to relocate as her house is going to be demolished. I really enjoyed her character, in particular her tenacity and drive to not give in. With themes of connection, roots and uprooting wrapped around the central mystery, there’s certainly a decent amount of background and depth to the narrative.

I loved the references to art, literature, and fairy-tales. The Bluebeard underscore was woven darkly and beautifully; the threaded allusion addition was very welcome, and I really enjoyed the insights it offers for readers, with the seven doors parallel.

Overall, a dark, layered allusion themed Nordic Noir that hooks you in until the closing lines.

The Author – Agnes Ravatn

Agnes Ravatn

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her
literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she
has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections:
Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and
Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. In these works,
Ravatn revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility.
Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), was an international
bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award,
shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015. Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.

Thanks to Anne for the tour invite and to Orenda Books for the review copy – wishing this book every success it deserves.

Please buy from independents if you can XX

Pleased to be a part of the #BlogTour for #Innocent by @KinsleyErin @headlinepg @RandomTTours

I’m very excited and grateful to be a part of the Blog Tour for Erin Kinsley’s Innocent – many thanks to Anne for the invite and Headline for sending the book. I love a good thriller with a large dose of drama, and this was billed as great for people who enjoyed LIAR and BROADCHURCH. As soon as I started reading, I could see this as a TV drama, and please do keep reading to find out why…

A MURDER TEARS A SMALL TOWN APART. BUT WHO DID IT?

The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But at a lavish summer wedding a local celebrity is discovered slumped in the gardens, the victim of a violent assault that leads to a murder investigation.

As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and the lives of the locals are turned upside down.

Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…

Please do check out these other brilliant book bloggers for more bookish chat about ‘Innocent’

My thoughts…

This book from the start was so easy to visualise as a TV series, I could picture the mix of close and long shots, and the switches in perspectives, as all the central players come into focus. In all good thrillers, you need a great location and great diverse characters, and Innocent provides all of this in abundance. I really enjoyed it.

The book is set in the small town of Sterndale, and begins with a brutal assault of a celebrity, Tristan Hart, who lives in the town with his wife, Izzy and their young daughter. This novel certainly begins with ‘the calm before the storm’, as the perfect couple leading a perfect life, fractures within the opening pages and is pulled apart over the course of the novel. Secrets, lies and betrayals take centre stage as the reader is tasked with working out what’s behind the surface and who could possibly have acted so violently.

From the start, there are plenty of suspects to choose from, and this only builds as the investigation progresses. I enjoyed the Police investigation perspective as those who knew Tristan Hart are investigated, and secrets are revealed. The investigation and interviews are written in detail, and sometimes repeated back, some may find this a repetitious, but I enjoyed the reflection time to wonder about the suspects.

This is not a fast-paced book, it takes its time to describe this community and the events that shake it up, I enjoyed taking my time reading it as well, and loved the heart behind the story. I enjoyed the tensions, the reveals and the emotional depth within this thriller. With some smart red herrings to put you off the scent, there’s some super plotting in this book that makes you want to keep reading.

A emotionally charged, intelligently designed thriller that demands you keep turning the pages. Highly recommended.

Please buy from Independents if you can XX

Pleased to be joining the #blogtour for #TheOneThatGotAway by @Egan_Hughes #compulsivereaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #newbook #readers with thanks to @BooksSphere

You love him. You trust him. You can’t escape him.

The blurb

Mia thinks she has escaped her controlling ex-husband, Rob. She’s found herself a new home, a new boyfriend and a new life.

But when the police arrive to tell her that Rob has been found dead on his boat, things quickly fall apart. Mia is terrified she’ll be suspected, however the police are keeping all options open. They know Mia had reason to hate her ex-husband, but she’s not the only one. Plenty of people wanted Rob Creavy dead, not least his new wife, Rachel.

What they don’t know is that Mia has a secret, one she’s desperate to protect.

But someone else knows. Someone with very dark secrets of their own . . .

My thoughts

‘The One That Got Away’ is a tense thriller built on lies, abuse, manipulation, jealousy and deceit that ends with murder. The story is told in different time frames via our frame narrator, so it’s really enjoyable piecing everything together. One of the things I enjoyed about this story is controlled plotting of the narrative, and the insight into gaslighting behaviour.

The story begins with a death, and the reader finds themselves questioning what really happened, as we find out more about Mia, her current life and her past as Jess. In the present day, Mia is dealing with the aftermath of her ex-husband’s murder, and its implications on her current life. This story is split up with the experience of Jess, as she falls in love, gets married and finds her life becomes anything but happy.

This book is a strong debut, for me personally it stalled a little in the middle, and I wanted the narrative to develop at a quicker pace, but that’s just my experience. The narrative drive comes from the question, why now? why does this murder happen at this particular time and who are the suspects? I enjoyed how little clues and red herrings were implanted carefully into the story.

Overall, a solid psychological thriller debut. Huge thanks to the author, and publisher for the review copy.

Please buy from independents if you can XX

#BlogTour #WritteninBlood by Chris Carter @simonschusterUK @harriett_col #RandomThingsTours

So happy to be a part of the Blog Tour for WRITTEN IN BLOOD – if you’re not aware, this is the 11th book in Chris Carter’s Robert Hunter thriller series, and… there’s a serial killer to catch. With huge thanks to Anne for the tour invite, and do keep scrolling for some bookish chat…

The Blurb

A serial killer will stop at nothing…


The Killer
His most valuable possession has been stolen.
Now he must retrieve it, at any cost.
The Girl
Angela Wood wanted to teach the man a lesson. It was a
bag, just like all the others. But when she opens it, the
worst nightmare of her life begins.
The Detective
A journal ends up at Robert Hunter’s desk. It soon
becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose.
And if he can’t stop him in time, more people will die.


If you have read it
You must die

My thoughts

I first met Robert Hunter in ‘The Crucifix Killer’ and have really enjoyed this series – if you are a new reader, then don’t worry, each works as a stand-a-lone. In this case, Hunter is pitted against a serial killer, who comes to the attention of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit, via the theft of a journal. This brings both the thief and Hunter to the attention of the journal’s author and the game begins. It soon becomes clear that there has been a serial killer in circulation for a considerable time, and this person is truly a ‘professional’ and needs to be caught.

What I really enjoy about Carter’s books, and very much this one, is the ease of the story telling; you know you are in safe hands, as Carter crafts the plots, red-herrings, tensions, characters and reveals with such control and dexterity. I loved the puzzle narrative via the journal, as we slowly learn from the killer’s words about the victims, their lives, and begin to work out what’s behind the inconsistencies in the patterns.

Hunter is smart, and like his name he sets his sights on his prey and is relentless; this also comes with high personal costs. There’s a great balance between Hunter and his partner Garcia, and they make a great team. In addition, we have small-time thief Angela, who becomes caught in the killer’s sights and needs protecting; I really enjoyed her story, and how this added emotional depth to the overall crime thriller.

This is a dark book, that looks into the mind of a controlled and incredibly dangerous psychopath. Thoroughly enjoyable, and it’s a highly recommended read.

The Author

Chris Carter

Born in Brazil of Italian origin, Chris Carter studied psychology and criminal behaviour at the University of Michigan. As a member of the Michigan State District Attorney’s Criminal Psychology team, he interviewed and studied many criminals, including serial and multiple homicide offenders with life imprisonment convictions. He now lives in London.
Visit his website http://www.chriscarterbooks.com

BLOG TOUR DATES

Please buy from INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS if you can XX

GIVEAWAY – Please LIKE and COMMENT for a chance to WIN a digital copy of #TheWaitingRooms by @evecsmith @OrendaBooks

THE WAITING ROOMS, published by the brilliant Orenda Books, and thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite!

GIVEAWAY for a digital copy of ‘The Waiting Rooms’ – I will pick a winner at RANDOM on Monday, all you need to is LIKE and COMMENT, if you’d like to FOLLOW me that would be AMAZING, but not a requirement of the GIVEAWAY. Do keep reading for info about the book, and the other brilliant bloggers reviewing this new novel.

The Blurb

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

The Author

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues. Set 20 years after an antibiotic crisis, her debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places.

BLOG TOUR

#BlogTour #TheCurator @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault @BethWright26

With thanks to Beth for the tour invite. This is the third book in the Washington Poe crime thriller series, and to find out more do keep reading…

And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

The Blurb

A serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria.
A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetised, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier? And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

My Thoughts

Don’t you just love that moment when a new book arrives from one of your favourite series; it’s like meeting up with old, and missed, friends. M. W. Craven’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw series is one of those books, and ‘The Curator’ is the latest adventure into the crime thriller world, and what a crime fighting team! The SCAS (Serious Crime Analysis Section) are back and headed by D.I Stephanie Flynn, who is now heavily pregnant. Poe and Bradshaw are soon working with her again on an unusual and macabre case. All the books work easily as stand-alone, so don’t hesitate to pick up this book if you’re new to the series.

‘The Curator’ – I love the title – is a tightly plotted and tense puzzle, where a series of crimes is being orchestrated from the shadows. It’s up to Poe and Bradshaw to unravel the threads of some rather gruesome crimes and capture the villain. For me, the highlight of these books are the characters and their interplay, there are lovely personal relationships continuing to develop, and an intense dedication to hunting down the culprits. I loved the plot in this book; the idea of a ‘Curator’ controlling the ‘players’ was fun to watch develop.

A twisty, puzzling and satisfying read, placing Craven’s cerebral dexterity firmly in centre stage position. Disturbingly dark, sharply plotted with a dash of panache!

A highly recommended read: I can’t wait to see what Craven comes up with next!

#blogtour THE SPLIT by Sharon Bolton and published by Orion Books

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Sharon Bolton’s ‘The Split’, I’ve not read a Bolton book or series that I haven’t loved, and this is no exception. With thanks to Alex for the tour invite! Please read on for more information and bookish chat…

SHE’S GOT NOWHERE LEFT TO HIDE.

A year ago, in desperation, Felicity Lloyd signed up for a lengthy research trip to the remote island of South Georgia.

It was her only way to escape.

AND NOW HE’S COMING FOR HER.

Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder. Out at last, he’s on her trail.

And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.

BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU RUN, SOME SECRETS WILL ALWAYS CATCH UP WITH YOU…

My thoughts

If you like a puzzle, then this is the book for you. From the extreme, isolated landscape of South Georgia, to the city of Cambridge nine months earlier, the reader is taken on a journey through a multi-layered narrative with a fascinating unreliable narrator: Felicity Lloyd.

The narrative seems disjointed for a substantial part of the book, but stick with it, it mirrors the central plot and the narratives will come together in a tense climax that will have you holding your breath!

I love the setting of South Georgia. It provides a harrowing and unforgiving landscape that opens and closes ‘The Split’ and provides the setting for an intriguing opening and a nerve-wracking finale, there is also a final twist for the reader that is hard to see coming.

This the story of Felicity, who is a glaciologist and a young woman on the edge; she is living in fear and we first meet her when she is working in the freezing waters of South Georgia with her colleague Jack. What soon becomes clear is that Felicity is running from someone, and that person is close on her trail. Before we can learn more, the narrative shifts back to the past. It is here the reader must adjust to a new setting; it seems like a completely different book and the reader is introduced to a new set of characters and an unsettling mystery.

There are several interesting characters, some more mysterious than others, I liked the character of Joe, the psychologist and councillor; he is not without flaws, but it makes him a more realistic character. I enjoyed finding out about his work, his relationship with this police officer mum, and the difficulties he is dealing with. Both he and Felicity have suffered trauma, and both are battling with their demons.

Also embedded into this story is a murder investigation in the rough sleeping community, this adds yet another dimension to a multi-layered plot and narrative voices. There are several subtle clues along the way, and I would recommend using a notebook and working on your inner Sherlock! I read 80% of the book with the Pigeonhole reading community (the book is split into 12 sections over 12 days, and you read with others and can leave digital comments in the margins), there are advantages and disadvantages reading this book with the group. The advantage is you are forced to read slowly, this enables you to think more about that section. I think I would have missed several clues if I had been reading in my usual pace, so this is your disadvantage of the book club, if you can call it that, as you’re forced to slow down.

This was not the expected read from the blurb, in fact it is completely different story to what you’d be expecting, but it’s a super puzzle of a novel. I always enjoy Sharon Bolton books, and this was no exception.

‘The Split’ is a puzzle of a thriller read, it’s emotional, challenging and meticulously plotted! Highly recommended.