Anne Bonny #BookReview The Darkness by @ragnarjo Ragnar Jonasson 5* Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Iceland #Hulda #NewSeries @PenguinUKBooks The Darkness has arrived. . .

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The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson
Translated by Victoria Cribb
Hidden Iceland series #1
From my TBR pile
Synopsis:

A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach.

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . .
And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

My Review:

The cover for this novel caught my eye over social media. Then I read all the awesome reviews from bloggers and decided, I had to buy it. Kate over at Bibliophile Book Club, can be very persuasive with novels she has loved. The end result, was a night of only 3hrs sleep! It is that addictive! I don’t know whether to blame Kate or the author, so I am just gonna have to roll with the mantra #SleepIsForWimps lol Either way, I absolutely loved this book and can’t recommend it highly enough!
Here are my thoughts on The Darkness. . . .

The novel has a thoroughly modern synopsis, the death of a refugee and the lack of police due care and attention. It is also the introduction of the authors new protagonist Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir. Hulda’s characterisation is brilliant! She comes across almost as an Icelandic Vera Stanhope. She is brash, close to retirement and doesn’t care what others think of her. Similar, to Vera, she has a past that slowly emerges over the course of the novel. I just absolutely loved Hulda. She is easily one of my favourite female protagonists of the year, and I am extremely picky when it comes to that kind of bold statement. I love complex characters with a backstory and for me Hulda ticks all the boxes.

The novel opens with Hulda informally interviewing a suspect in a hit and run. The suspect is a mother, who may/may not have committed a crime out of love for her son and her desire to protect him. (Ragnar Jonasson hits you in the feels #1)

There are a series of chapters that portray a mother and daughter relationship. You know the scenes are from the past due to the narrative. A mother fighting not to be separated from her young daughter. But you don’t become aware of who they are and their relevance to the story, until much later. The background plot, is incredibly moving and as a mother myself, It really pulled at my heartstrings.
(Ragnar Jonasson hits you in the feels #2)

The novel then introduces Hulda, she is approaching retirement and life in her 60s. She fears growing old alone and I began to wonder has Hulda sacrificed everything for her career? It is when she learns that her boss Magnus, has already replaced her (months earlier than necessary) with a ‘high-achiever’. That she has just two weeks left and then her job/office will be gone!
This is a bitter pill for Hulda to swallow.

‘Accepting your age was one thing; accepting retirement quite another’ – Hulda.

The cold case she chooses, is the case of a Russian refugee Elena who washed up as Vatnsleysustrond cove. The victim was just 27yrs old, the case received no media interest and was quickly marked as suicide.
That is until now. . . .

When Hulda assesses the case file, she finds evidence of lazy, unprofessional police work. She firmly believes the original investigating officer Alexander, had zero interest in the case and Hulda has no belief in his abilities as a detective.

‘Hulda knew that, if she didn’t seize this last chance to get to the bottom of the mystery, no one else would ever bother’

Hulda makes her way to Njardvik and the asylum hostel, which was Elena’s home prior to her death. The manager Dora, views the work, not as a ‘person centred service’ but as a ‘business opportunity’. There is an overall lack of concern for Elena’s welfare both before, and after death.
Nevertheless, Hudla persists, she certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

‘That was the worst part – having no one who cared’

Hudla also approaches Elena’s immigration lawyer Albert Albertson. She learns that the day before her death, her application for asylum had been granted. So why would Elena suddenly commit suicide?
The plot thickens, as they say!

Elena’s past is explored. The isolated, lonely and dire situation refuges face, is laid bare. It makes for heart-breaking reading and it made me wonder how many real-life Elena’s exist out there all over the world? With no one who cares about their life or death?
(Ragnar Jonasson hits you in the feels #3)

Hudla’s past is also explored, it really adds depth to an already fascinating character. I am certainly not going to provide any spoilers. But Hudla is perhaps one of the most thought-out characters I have come across all year!!!!!
My best friend is a police officer, she has been for many years and she will be until she retires from working life. I firmly feel the author captured the very essence of what it is means to be a female police officer. The sacrifice, dedication and fight to survive in a male dominated occupation.

Although the novel is within the crime fiction genre. There are multiple examples of beautiful writing.
The following is one of my favourites. . . .
‘Time was like a concertina: one minute compressed, the next stretching out interminably’
This is the start of a fantastic trilogy. I cannot wait to read the next novel. 5* Genius

Highly recommended

RJ
Ragnar Jonasson
Website – All the information on the location & Ragnar Jonasson’s previous novels
Twitter

 

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Shipyard Girls In Love by @arevellwalton Nancy Revell @arrowpublishing #Saga #WW2Fiction #NewRelease #Series Even amid the war a broken heart can heal. . .

Shipyard Girls in LoveShipyard Girls In Love by Nancy Revell
#4 in the series
Synopsis:
Sunderland, 1941
With a brief break in air raids providing some much-needed respite from the war, things are looking up for head welder Rosie, who has fallen head over heels for Detective Sergeant Miller. But how long can their romance last in such uncertain times?

Life remains full of challenges for Gloria, who must face her abusive ex-husband and confront her own guilty conscience about baby Hope’s real father. The secret is tearing her apart but if she admits the truth, she will risk losing everything.

Both women are determined that their love and faith will be enough to keep the most difficult of promises, but nothing is as simple as it seems…

Extract:

Prologue

East End, Sunderland
July 1918

‘I just don’t understand, Mam.’ And it was true. Sixteen-year-old Gloria Turnbull simply did not understand. ‘I thought we would be together for ever.’ Gloria spoke her words quietly, as though more to herself than for her mother’s benefit. ‘We promised each other we would.’ Quiet tears were now rolling down Gloria’s cheeks as she turned her forlorn gaze to her mother, who was perched on the edge of her daughter’s narrow wooden-framed bed. ‘There’ll be someone else out there for you,’ Peggy tried to console her daughter as she started to get up off the bed. It was nearly six o’clock and she knew Clifford would be back soon. If there wasn’t a plate of something hot, filling and tasty waiting for him, there’d be another war on. ‘Trust me,’ Peggy said, gently pushing her daughter’s curly brown hair away from her eyes, ‘there will be others after Jack.’ ‘There won’t be! There won’t be anyone else, Mam!’ Gloria’s voice was thick with emotion. ‘Not like Jack – I know!’ Peggy opened her mouth to rebuff her daughter’s
comments, but closed it again. Gloria was not far off her seventeenth birthday. She had only ever had eyes for Jack,

and Jack had only ever had eyes for Gloria, or so Peggy had thought. Everyone who knew the pair had presumed they’d be engaged before long. Even Clifford had been saying to her just the other night that it was ‘about time’ young Jack came to ask for his daughter’s hand. ‘I’ll bring you some supper in after I’ve sorted yer dad out,’ Peggy promised as she left the bedroom and closed the door quietly behind her. Only when she heard her mother shooing away her younger brothers and sisters, who had been milling around in the hallway wondering what was going on, did Gloria allow her tears to come freely. Why, Jack? Why? Gloria wanted to scream. She wanted – needed – an answer. Gloria smothered the sound of her heartache in the bunched-up pillow she had pressed hard into her face, and she coiled her body up tighter, as if by doing so she might disappear and become nothing, feel nothing. At the very least she hoped to barricade the world and all the hurtful feelings that came with it away from her being. Deep down, though, Gloria knew that it was too late to ring-fence her heart. It had already been shattered into hundreds of pieces. And like a mirror that had been dropped, the shards of glass had been flung far and wide and there was no way it could be pieced back together. Jack’s sudden decision to end their courtship had come like a bolt out of the blue. There had been no warning, no falling-out, no gradual dwindling of feelings. Far from it – they had been as mad about each other as when they’d first met when Gloria was fourteen and Jack fifteen. And they were certainly as passionate about each other, although Gloria, of course, was saving herself for marriage. They’d only ever really had one major falling-out in all the time they had been together and that was a few months

back, when they’d argued over Gloria having a ride home from work on the back of a lad’s motorbike. The greeneyed monster had showed itself in Jack and they’d had an almighty bust-up. Neither of them would back down, with Jack declaring Gloria shouldn’t have accepted the ride, and Gloria standing her ground and saying there was nothing wrong in it – that the boy was just a workmate. It had been the first time their stubborn natures had clashed so forcefully and it had taken a few weeks before they’d kissed and made up. When they did, though, they’d seemed closer than ever before, talking about getting married and even joking about how many children they’d have. Jack hinted that he intended to ask Mr Turnbull for permission to marry his daughter on the day of Gloria’s seventeenth birthday next month. But then, without any kind of warning, their lives together came to an abrupt halt when Jack came to meet Gloria after work at the ropery and told her he was ‘really sorry’, he was ending their courtship. At first Gloria thought it was some kind of wind-up, but when he told her he was serious and she asked him ‘Why?’ – a question she would ask herself for a long while after – Jack seemed unable to give Gloria an explanation, but instead just kept on apologising. When Gloria kept on demanding an answer, tears had formed in Jack’s eyes, which alarmed Gloria even more. She had never seen Jack cry. Not once. ‘Something’s not right!’ Gloria was beside herself. ‘Yer don’t just love someone one minute and turn yer back on them the next!’ But that was exactly what Jack did. ‘You deserve better than me, Glor. Much better,’ he said before he turned and walked away.

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
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The Shipyard Girls #1

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The Shipyard Girls At War #2

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Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls #3

Review for The Shipyard Girls coming soon!

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