Black Skies – Arnaldur Indridason

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Black skies sees another book in the Reykyavik series without its main character of Erlendur and so this time focuses on Sigurdor Oli, and his investigations into the murder of woman who had been trying to blackmail an acquaintance of one of his friends.

The tale runs concurrently with the investigation of Elinborg in the previous book Outrage, which was an interesting concept I’ve seen done often on TV with certain linked shows, rather than in a novel.

I found this a slower read than Outrage, but I think that is because I really dislike the awful, slightly lazy and completely snobbish character of Sigurdir Oli, which is  a true testament to Indridason’s writing talent. 

The plot was as complex as ever, and what I like about these books, is that the writing style seems almost simplistic as it is so easy to read, but simplistic is exactly the one thing that it isn’t at all.

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Outrage – Arnaldur Indridason

With Iceland noir fast approaching, I have been catching up on my Arnaldur Indridason books, as he is the Guest of Honour for this inaugural festival.

I have, however skipped a couple of novels for a couple of reasons. I stopped reading his books a while ago as at the time I was having a serious Scandinavian / Nordic phase and (Camilla Läckberg, Jo Nesbø etc) was beginning to get my characters confused, so the last one I read was book four, The Draining lake, which I loved.

That, and that I realised that he is now on book nine, and whilst I am a fairly prolific reader, with the increasing number of books I have to read, I wouldn’t get to through them all before we head to his homeland.

Hence I have just finished book 7….

 

 

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This is the first of Arnaldur Indridasons Reykjavik series that I have read that doesn’t feature his main detective Erlandur.  I was surprised at first thinking it may not be as good, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I read the book in a weekend and loved the way I got to see and understand so much more of Elinborg as both a policeman and a person.

 As complex as ever, all the way through I was convinced that I has sussed out who did it and why, only to find I couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

It’s a great read, and whilst making me keen to catch up to book 9 I also can’t wait to go back and read the two books I have skipped.

When I put my mind to it…

This is what happens.

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If you’ve been here any length of time you will know that I read a lot. This means it is often the case that I find myself in the position of having a book I am really enjoying reading, at the same time as a life that is sucking reading time.

After a while I get annoyed, with both life for being life, and with me for not making time to read, so I do just that. I make time.

I find a quiet spot, set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes, hit start, then hit the book.

The photo above is what happened last time I did this. I was annoyed that I was on holiday, but had no time, due to entertaining a five year old from dawn til dusk and beyond.

Then came the day that we had finally exhausted him to the point of collapse with a late night, followed by an early morning, a five mile walk and a couple of hours on the beach. The Boyfriend took to his bed with a book, knackered and I sat down with wine, and a timer and knocked out 73 pages in 30 minutes, and yes, not including James Patterson for obvious reasons, this is probably a record for me.

It still goes to show what you can be capable of, when you set your mind to it. Now if only I could be 5% as good as that with writing….. Well.

Soundtracks

Everyone loves a good soundtrack. It’s why movie companies around the world spend millions on composers and musicians to get the right sound for their film.

I myself am not a massive music fan. I know what I like and what I don’t, and my range of favourite tunes stretches from Country and Western to Heavy Metal, and encompasses Reggae, Ballads, Dance, Contemporary Pop, and pretty much every other musical label in between.

I often have music on in the background when I read, and as such on occasion I like to give a soundtrack to a book, by picking a particular song that sums up the story. As a song is a story in itself this can often be a difficult task. On other days it instantly springs to mind.

The other day when I finished The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald, I immediately picked up my iPod and played this track, Freight Train by Sara Jackson-Holman. It is everything that The Cry is, and if you like the song, you’ll love the book.

Freight Train can be found on the album Cardiology

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing – P. D. Viner

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Twenty years ago Dani Lancing was brutally raped and murdered.

Her death left more tragedy in its wake by tearing her family apart. Her Father has withdrawn from the world and lives with only a ghost for company. Her best friend, is now a Detective, a last hope for lost young girls, and her Mother, obsessed with the truth is about to find out what happened, all it takes, is for her to become a murderer.

This book took me completely by surprise. It was nothing at all like my expectations, it was much better, and another of my one sitting reads.

The narrative switches in turn between the three main characters, as they embark on the journey that will lead them to the truth of what happened to Dani, and captures well the devastation to a family caused by such a tragedy, the healing power of knowledge and understanding, and the dangers of hidden lives and secrets kept for the best of intentions.

Whether you like murder mysteries, love stories, ghost stories or all of the above, there’s something in this book for you

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is available from September 12th 2013

The Cry – Helen Fitzgerald

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A missing baby, two distraught parents and a media frenzy. What happened to baby Noah?

I picked this up early one evening and if it wasn’t for the annoying need for sleep, I would have finished it in a single sitting. I absolutely loved it. It is exquisitely written, heartrending in places, and as I have come to expect from her books, nothing is as it seems

Telling the story of Joanna & Alistair in the weeks following the disappearance of their son, The Cry brilliantly details the breakdown of relationships in the wake of such tragedy. It also displays the speed at which the global imagination is captured by such events, and how social media has begun to play a larger part in them, not only as a means of support, and a way of increasing public awareness, but also as a method of investigation, and a tool of judgement.

It is in turn a tale of broken families, controlling relationships, grief and murder. If you’re looking for a book that is guaranteed to generate some great discussions at your next book club coffee morning, then this one is definitely it.

The Cry is available from September 5th.

Yes! We will be there.

Back when I was at Crimefest in May, I became vaguely aware of an event that was going on in Iceland later this year. I thought little of it.

Whilst I was at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, known simply in crime writing circles as Harrogate, I heard more about IcelandNoir.

It caught my attention, a little.

Holidays for the boyfriend and I are currently on a not about to happen basis. It has been almost three years since our last overseas holiday, and since then we’ve only had one other break away of at least a week, when we travelled round Scotland and The North, back in March.

Our next planned foray overseas was to be in 2015.

The thing is I can’t wait until CrimeFest next year to see some of my friends again, and it’s too long to go without something to look forward too.

We would normally go to FantasyCon, hosted by the British Fantasy Society, but this year, since the UK is hosting World FantasyCon, it’s too big a thing for us, and also at the wrong time in my shift cycle for me.

The alternative, or so we thought, would be Bloody Scotland, but again the timing is ill-fitting with my shifts.

Then a friend told me they would be attending IcelandNoir. Then another couple of acquaintances also mentioned they would be there, and my mind began to churn.

How long is the festival? How long would we need to go for? How much would it cost to go? Could we afford it? In short? We couldn’t go, was the first answer I came up with.

Then my heart got involved, which in turn inspired the money talks, the what have we gots, the what can we do withouts, the things coming up, and the things coming in….

The talks finally ended in a maybe, just not yet. Lets get some potentially large bills out of the way and see what happens.

Then I got a phone call out of the blue. The result of which means we ARE going to IcelandNoir, we are going to strike at least two things off the Boyfriends Bucket list (already off mine) and yes, as of today we are both registered with the festival and we WILL BE THERE.

W00T!!!!