Anne Bonny #BlogTour ~ Extract Unrest by @jesper_stein #NordicNoir #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @TheMirrorBooks #Unrest #AxelSteen

UNREST_HIGH
Unrest by Jesper Stein
Translated by David Young
Synopsis:

When the bound, hooded corpse of an unidentified man is found propped up against a gravestone in the central cemetery, Axel Steen is assigned the case.

Rogue camera footage soon suggests police involvement and links to the demolition of the nearby Youth House, teeming with militant far-left radicals. But Axel soon discovers that many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case and in preventing its resolution.

With a rapidly worsening heart condition, an estranged ex-wife and beloved five-year-old daughter to contend with, Axel will not stop until the killer is caught, whatever the consequences. But the consequences turn out to be greater than expected – especially for Axel himself.

Extract:

Piver went into Nemoland. He felt safe enough in here to turn his attention back to the camcorder. He bought another gold label and settled in a dark corner on an old sofa and took out the camera.

A section of Nørrebrogade right next to the Box appeared on the screen. The full light of day. Pavement, cycle lane, road, cycle lane, pavement, wall and a section of the cemetery. He estimated that the camera covered 100 yards along the street and 50 yards wide. The time indicated that it was set up at 10.21 on Thursday morning. He spooled forward and saw the riots, demonstrators throwing stones, rubbish bins being pushed over, the police driving wildly after people in their transport vehicles. He relived the whole day.

At 15.23 he saw three plain-clothes officers chasing a man and smacking him up against the wall of the cemetery. There didn’t appear to be any demonstrations at that point. Piver stopped, spooled back and tried to find a button he could use to zoom in. He couldn’t, but there was no doubt what was happening on the small screen. The man had his hands twisted behind his back by two of the officers, while the third pressed his hand against his throat in a half stranglehold. The man’s cry for help came through clear as a bell. The officer holding the man around his throat now began hitting his upper body with his baton. At the same time, the other two had put him in handcuffs, and now they lifted him up and began to drag him off. Both had their batons out and used them several times. They were really hitting him hard – on his back, neck and head, before throwing him into one of the police vans. The man didn’t resist at any point.

Was that what they were afraid of? Was all that talk about a murder just a smokescreen to hide the fact that they were looking for some footage that clearly showed pure, unadulterated police violence?

Whatever – it looked completely crazy. Piver was agitated.

He carried on watching on fast forward. Yesterday’s riots flowed across the screen like a surreal ballet with activists and uniformed officers in the leading roles and curious Copenhageners and the press as passive spectators. Occasionally, it went quiet, and the grey asphalt of the street lay bare like an abandoned stage. At one point, two containers were set on fire and the white light of the ames rose and disappeared at express speed. He kept an eye on the cemetery as it moved towards evening and darkness fell. He stopped the tape whenever he saw someone moving into the murk under the trees behind the yellow wall. There were uniformed police officers on patrol, plain-clothes police and individual citizens, but nothing that looked like a murder.

Until 01.33.

They came out from under the trees inside the cemetery just opposite the camera. One of them was wearing dark clothes and a cap pulled down over his head so that his face was obscured. The other was bareheaded with dark hair, but walking as if he were drunk or dizzy. The first one had an arm around him and it looked as though he was helping him along. They disappeared behind the wall exactly where the cops had been bustling about with their projectors all morning. A couple of minutes passed and the man with the cap appeared again. He stared at something that was hidden behind the wall. There was a white flash. He put something in his pocket, which Piver guessed was a camera or mobile, lifted his cap and first looked up, then to the sides before turning around and disappearing under the trees into the cemetery.

Piver’s whole body went hot. His pulse was pumping so crazily that he got earache for a moment. Could it really be true? Here it was. The evidence the cops would do anything to get hold of. There was no doubt. Now he understood why it was crucial for them.

Jesper Stein, journalist, forfatter
Jesper Stein
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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
UNREST_blog tour 2018 (V2)

Anne Bonny #BookReview American By Day by @derekbmiller 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #AmericanNoir @TransworldBooks ‘It’s not a justice story but a story of a broken justice system’

cover
American By Day by Derek B. Miller
Review copy
Synopsis:

She knew it was a weird place. She’d heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there; to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic.

America.

And not someplace interesting, either: upstate New York.

It is election season, 2008, and Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life.

To find her older brother, she needs the help of the local police who appear to have already made up their minds about the case. Working with – or, if necessary, against — someone actually named Sheriff Irving ‘Irv’ Wylie, she must negotiate the local political minefields and navigate the back woods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further.

My Review:

This novel is an impressive blend of Nordic Noir and American Noir. It’s not a justice story but a story of a broken justice system.

Police Chief Inspector Sigrid Odegard of Oslo, Norway has only recently been exonerated in a tough case where deadly force was used. When she is summoned to her father’s residence. Her father, Morten is 69yrs old and lonely. He is estranged from his son; Marcus and we learn that this is surrounding past issues when their mother Astrid died. Marcus has never truly gotten over the death of his mother, he has blamed his father and fled to the US. Marcus seeks a better life, a fresh start, but will he find it?

Over the course of the conversation between Sigrid and Morten, we learn that father and son had been in contact via letter recently. That the written communication began seven months ago and ended abruptly a week ago. Morten is concerned and urges Sigrid to investigate. When I say ‘urges’, I mean he already has her flight booked.

On the journey we learn that Marcus had acquired a position at a university and had recently found love. Sigrid is an unusual character she applies rational thought and almost immediately begins compiling the ‘data’ she has surrounded her own brother. She is apprehensive about entering the USA, regarding it as a weird place.
The contrast between the society and way of life in Norway and America is intriguing throughout the novel.

When Sigrid arrives at Marcus’s apartment she is greeted by a hooker named Juliet. She tells Sigrid that not only is Marcus missing but that local Sheriff Irving Wylie has been asking questions regarding the death of Marcus’s girlfriend Lydia.
Did Marcus commit murder?
What kind of mess has Sigrid walked into?
Can she find Marcus before the police?

Alone and in a foreign country, Sigrid know she has to confront the situation with the Sheriff head on. But what she uncovers just leads to more mystery and suspicion. Sigrid often clashes with Irv about police tactics and attitudes. Especially when the case leads to the past police shooting of an unarmed African American boy named Jeffrey, who was just 12 years old.

‘In Jefferson County alone there had been almost two dozen police shootings that had left someone dead. Eighty percent of those dead were black despite fewer than ten percent of the population being black. Everyone knew something was off, but event by event, every shooting sounded right and reasonable. But how could that be?’

When Sigrid gains access to Marcus’s computer files, she learns this case is so much deeper than she originally believed. The novel deals with the issue of institutionalised racism within the police force and the aftermath of trauma for the community of the murdered victim. When I read the scene of Jeffrey’s death, I became as angry as Sigrid, at the injustice of it all.
But can Sigrid take on the American justice system and find her brother?

The novel is set in the 2008 election season and the potential of Obama as president plays out in the background. It is impossible to ignore the political, social and race themes within the novel. This is a detailed crime fiction novel, that I can see being very popular amongst readers of the genre. 4*

DBM
Derek B. Miller
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#BlogTour #GuestPost Snare by @lilja1972 Lilja Sigurdardottir @OrendaBooks

SNARE new front cover
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir
Translated by Quentin Bates

Synopsis:
After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonja is struggling to provide for herself and win sole custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated by the fact that Sonja is in a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a nail-bitingly fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

#GuestPost

Good people, bad people or just people?

Lilja Sigurdardóttir

I am not a great believer in evil. In my mind, evil is more a consequence than a cause, as behind so many crimes, when traced back to their roots, there most often is a tragedy of some sort, rather than a decided will to do harm. It´s the result, the consequences for the people victimised by the crimes, that is the true evil.

I spent some time in prison researching for The Reykjavík Noir Trilogy that starts with Snare and came to the conclusion that a majority of crimes are committed by good people. Good people that have made mistakes, been ill, addicted or lost their ground in life by some cause, been ignorant to or in denial about the harm they cause, but are in their essence well-meaning.

The Nordic view on crime and punishment is quite mild and Iceland shares that system where imprisonment is seen as a last resort, only used when people have committed serious crimes. I am probably under the influence of this mild Nordic view on crime, which I do understand is a privileged view of societies that don´t have so much crime.

True to this view of mine I usually don´t write black-and-white characters. In Snare, they are not neither good nor bad, but rather a mixture of both. Even the enemies, the scary ones, have something good in them and the nicest characters that the readers root for, are maybe the criminals.

One of the main characters in the book, Sonja, is a rather well-off young mother and wife when her world collapses, partly because of her own actions, and partly due to greater forces. When divorced, she struggles to make ends meet so that she can regain custody of her son and after falling for an offer to make quick money, she is ensnared in a vicious cycle of drug smuggling. As a reader you condemn what she does and know she is committing criminal acts, but you can´t help but root for her because the reason that she does what she does is her love of her son. You can see the tragedy of her life.

Agla the banker, another character in Snare, is absolutely blind to the consequences of her crimes. She uses reasoning that has been heard very often in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial meltdown: “Everybody was doing it.“ Agla is a woman who has had to fight her way all through life, being the only girl in a big group of siblings and then entering the male-dominated world of finance. So her impulse to do as the others and prove herself to be even better at it, becomes understandable in a way, even though you know its wrong.

Bragi, the customs official who is hunting Sonja down in a game of cat and mouse, is living a tragedy every day, as his wife suffers from Alzheimers´ and is slowly disaapearing before his eyes. Bragi has recently realised that despite living in a welfare society that has solutions and offers for taking care of the elderly and ill, he is completely alone in his heartbreak. And that pushes him to behave in unexpected ways.

Even the little boy Tómas, commits a “crime“ of sorts when he lies to his father about his mother´s situation. An eight-year-old knows that it is not good to lie but he does it in an attempt to help his mother out and in his young mind he is justified by his love for her, and therefore does not feel guilty even if he knows lying is wrong.

I love writing multi-layered, complex characters that dance on the sometimes fine line between right and wrong. Somehow those types of characters connect to you in a deeper way as a reader. Probably we connect with them because none of us is 100 percent good or evil. We are all a curious mix of both, esentially well meaning people that sometimes do bad things.

Lilja Sigurðard.
Lilja Sigurdardottir
Author bio:
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, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Translation rights have been sold in eight countries to date, and film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Authors links:
Twitter: @lilja1972
Website: liljawriter.com
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4406512.Lilja_Sigur_ard_ttir
Via Orenda Books:  http://orendabooks.co.uk/lilja-sigurdardottir/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sigurdardottir.lilja

 

#BlogTour #BookReview #FrozenWomanBook by Jon Michelet @noexitpress

*I received an arc via the publisher, in return for an honest review*

cover
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet
Translated by Don Bartlett
Synopsis:

TWO TIME WINNER OF NORWAY’S BEST CRIME NOVEL

A FROZEN BODY

A MURDERED BIKER

A RADICAL LAWYER WITH A MURKY PAST

In the depths of the Norwegian winter, the corpse of a woman is discovered in the garden of a notorious left-wing lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death.

A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by Thygesen, dies in suspicious circumstances.

As Thygesen receives anonymous threats, investigating detectives Stribolt and Vaage uncover a web of crime and violence extending far beyond Norway’s borders.

Does the frozen woman hold the key?

My review:

This is a novel that is so much more than its cover and synopsis. The publicity team were spot on with the comparisons to Steig Larsson and the millennium trilogy. I was very surprised with the depth of the novel and I think it is written very well, much bigger issues interwoven into a murder.

Vilhelm Thygesen finds the murdered body of a frozen women in his garden. The victim has been stabbed to death and the police quickly suspect she is of eastern European origin. The crime scene offers little in the way, of forensic evidence and the murder appears motiveless. Detectives Stribolt and Vaage from the Gronland police have a complex murder on their hands. Thygesen himself, is not without controversy, with previous links to murder and fraud, the detectives instantly suspect him for having committed the murder.
But why would a man murder a young woman, bury the body in his garden and then call the police?

Thygesen is well known left-wing lawyer, retired now at 63 years old. His leftie socialist politics having caused him various run ins with the law and even led to him assisting the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Are his politics to blame for the murder? If so, who killed the girl and why? Detectives Stribolt and Vaage nickname the nameless victim ‘Picea’, they continue to find no leads and when a local biker is found murdered, they are forced to ask themselves if there is a connection……….

Oystein Strand a local biker and member of the ‘Seven Samurai’ motorcycle club (MC) is found dead after being recently released from prison. When the brakes are found to be faulty on his bike, is this a fatal accident or pre meditated murder? What happened to Strand in prison? And how is this linked to the frozen woman? The MC gang is made up of the undesirables of society. Low end criminals with a taste for violence and mayhem. The inner workings of the gangs, their rivalry’s and their links to drug importation is exposed. But when Thygesen starts receiving anonymous photos of the frozen woman alive, prior to her murder.
The detectives must work out, how it all links in.

The politics of the legal/police/ media system in Norway is explained and the writing style is very matter of fact. There is no in-depth background on the detectives. The novel focuses solely on the murder and its relation to other criminal/political events.
A dead woman, political corruption and violent motorcycle gangs.
But what connects them all? 4*

JM
Authors links:
Website: http://www.jonmichelet.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1260891.Jon_Michelet
Via publisher: http://www.noexit.co.uk/index1.php?imprint=1&thisauthorid=368

Author bio:

Jon Michelet has been one of Norway’s leading authors through five decades. He made his debut in 1975 with the crime novel He Who Is Born to Be Hanged, Shall Never Be Drowned. He has since published numerous novels, plays and non-fiction books, and co-authored five bestselling reportage books from the Football World Cup with Dag Solstad. Michelet has also worked as a sailor, a docker, a journalist, publisher and newspaper editor. He is renowned in Norway for his strong commitment to a number of political and cultural causes.

Michelet has been awarded the Riverton Prize for Best Norwegian Crime Novel twice, for White as Snow and The Frozen Woman both part of his long running Vilhelm Thygesen series. He has also had phenomenal success with his epic series, A Hero of the Sea. Telling the story of the dramatic experiences of a Norwegian merchant navy sailor during WWII, the five novels published so far have been topping the charts since 2012, and have sold well over half a million copies, making Michelet a household name in Norway.

Blog Tour: Review and Q&A for, A Presence Of Absence by Emma Vestrheim & Sarah Surgey

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A Presence Of Absence by Emma Vestrheim & Sarah Surgey

The synopsis:

The Odense Series is a new Nordic Noir/Brit Crime series that blends humanist stories and family drama with gritty crime in the central Danish city Odense.

British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has seen in many years.

The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants.

When Simon realises that his wife’s suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke’s past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?

Back home in London Simon’s family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.

With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.

My Review:

This is a British/Danish set crime thriller. The novel opens with an eerie prologue & with chapter one we meet Simon Weller, London based cop. Dealing with the grief of his wife’s suicide, Simon is having a hard time avoiding the attention of his (now adult) children. Simon’s family is made up of his son Thomas, smothering daughter Sanne and shifty son-in-law Michael. Feeling the intense pressure of Sanne micro-managing his life & developing an alcohol problem Simon flees to the birthplace of his wife, he flees to Odense.

Odense is a small town in Denmark, birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen the writer. Whilst Simon grieves for his wife Vibeke, the local busybody finds a dead woman hanging from a lamppost. The discovery draws striking comparisons to Simon’s own wife’s suicide & he begins to wonder was it suicide? Or was it murder? Unbeknown to the reader, Simon has already quit his police job in the UK & had planned on working with the Danish Funen police. Simon knows little in the way of the language but has extensive police training, so he is paired with (failing at life) cop Jonas.

The police characters are very well written and I love that the authors added diversity with a cop in the form of Detective Romain an Afghan migrant. I really wish he had been more prevalent to the storyline. The novel is very atmospheric and although it is my first Danish crime novel read, it won’t be my last.

Back to the plot, the woman found hanging is uncovered to be Elsbet Sorenson. Daughter to the wealthiest family in central Denmark. The police chief is personal friends to the family & they are well known within Odense. Upon further inspection the body is found to have a mouth stuffed with hay. But who would want to kill the harmless, dedicated local school teacher?
Elsbet had a Swedish Ex-boyfriend Hektor & a messy complicated relationship. Was she killed in a love triangle gone wrong? Or is it something more sinister?

In London, Simon’s children aren’t coping with their dad’s departure. Sanne is relentless in her attempts to control Simons assets. Thomas meanwhile, grows suspicious of brother-in-law Michael. The tension from London is interwoven into the story & keeps you guessing on how it is relevant to the main plot. It is very well done.

With another body discovered in Odense, Simon has his work cut out for him. The body is a local retiree named Erik. Found hanging from a lamppost, He also has ties to the school and it becomes obvious this is the link they were looking for. Funen Dragskole is the local boarding school and through further investigation, we discover Elsbet had recently become stressed, erratic and out of character. Also found with the drug Prozac in her system, things are not adding up. Simon & Jonas finally form a bond and become a true police partnership. But is it enough? Can they solve this complex case?
In the back drop Sanne makes her way to Denmark!

Slow in the beginning due to laying the foundations of this duo location story. The case now continues at rapid pace. With Odense holding secrets of the past & the local residents not so forth coming. Simon & Jonas must work as a team. Chapter 33 is written from the perspective of Elsbet 3 months earlier, as a series of diary entries. This really adds to the novel and as the reader it offers up the chance to see the situation from the perspective of those involved. After all, don’t we all have secrets?

I found this novel to be tense & unpredictable. The ending is packed with deep emotional pain, that had me reading with my hand over my forehead shaking my head as I read the words. I love the concept of Britain/Denmark as locations and certainly hope there is more in this series! 4*

Q&A:

Q) For readers new to you, can you explain a little bit about yourselves and your background?

 A) I am a freelance writer who has specialised in Nordic culture, arts and the literary world for the past few years. I ran Nordophile.com which showcased Nordic cultural events, more recently I interviewed and featured many prolific Nordic authors. I still freelance and in between looking after my 4 daughters, I have finally moved on to my own book writing!

Emma is also a writer but primarily she is the editor for her magazine, Cinema Scandinavia. She attends many film festivals and interviews Nordic actors, screenwriters and directors.

I live in the UK with my family and Emma, although Australian, now resides in Norway with her husband.

 Q) I love the concept of having a novel written between Denmark & Britain. But how difficult is this in the writing? Does being a writing partnership help?

 A) We both come from a background of reviewing and promoting Nordic books and films so when we decided to both get together and write our own, this was the route we wanted to go down. But, we wanted to add something slightly different as we felt personally that it would add a different dimension. Being British I wondered how well Brit crime would work alongside Nordic Noir, it did, so The Odense Series was born!

 Q) The Presence of Absence is a brilliant debut; it offers up something new & unique to the reader. Will there be more in the series? Will we meet with Simon & Jonas again?

 A) Oh, yes, definitely! We spend a good part of the book in the beginning developing our characters. This was intentional because we knew we were wanting to produce a series rather than just a stand-alone book. We want our readers to ‘really’ know the characters and feel for them. We want our books to play out in their minds and we think by the end of the book the reader will be genuinely wanting to know what happens next for them.

Simon, Jonas (our British/Danish detectives) are going to be featured throughout our series and many of the characters around them.

Our second book ‘The Enlightened’ carries on with the fall out in London, the after crime in Odense and sees a fresh case taking our detectives to a very gritty case up in the most northerly part of Norway where Norse mythology and murder links back to Odense.

 Q) One thing I loved in the novel was the characterisation. Everyone was complex, had inner fears/anxieties. Which made it so realistic. There were no clichés, people responded to situation in exactly the same way they would in real life. How did you come up with the individual characters?

 A) We had done quite a bit of early stage writing when we realised how much we were dealing with grief from our characters, on different levels and with different reactions. We didn’t want this thread to be haphazard and really wanted to give justice to the grief and humanistic stories

 Q) Prior to reading this novel, I had never heard of Odense and unfortunately haven’t been so lucky as to visit Denmark yet. I am sure I wasn’t the only reader to google image search Odense. It looks absolutely beautiful & picturesque. What made you decide that it would make the perfect location?

 A) Denmark was our first thought for which Nordic country we would set it in. We didn’t want Copenhagen as we thought that has been done and would be too obvious. I had featured the Hans Christian Andersen Festival in Odense for a magazine the year before and as myself and Emma started to look at other Danish cities we realised that the link to this great literary great was too good to not thread in. HCA features in our story running parallel to a young boy whose only escape is HCA books.

 Q) With regards to writing/reading, who are your inspirations? What are your favourite novels?

 A) We are both quite eclectic, I think. I could quite easily sit and read Nordic noir books back to back as I could British crime, factual stories or travel inspired books. I love books, bookstores and libraries as a whole. They say “a room without books has no soul” and I agree!

About the authors:

sarah

Sarah Surgey:
Sarah Surgey is a 36 year old British feature writer for various magazines. She lives in the UK with her husband and 4 daughters.

She has had an interest in all things Nordic for many years and has written about many genres within this subject for publication. Although British, she has Danish family and enjoys exploring Denmark and its culture whenever the opportunity arrives.

Sarah was brought up with crime books and inevitably has always had crime story scenarios going around inside her head. After interviewing many famous authors for different magazines within the Nordic literary circle and always knowing the answer to her question of “why did you start writing?” she felt now was her time to get her stories out there, for people to read!

emma

Emma Vestrheim:

Emma Vestrheim is the owner and editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia, a Nordic film and television journal that analyses popular Nordic titles. Part of her work includes working with directors, actors and filmmakers, and her numerous interviews with the biggest names in Nordic film and television have given her a privileged access to what makes Nordic narratives so successful. Cinema Scandinavia publishes bimonthly and is available in major Nordic film libraries.

Author Links:

http://theodenseseries.com/
Twitter: @OdenseSeries and @EmmaVestrheim