book reviews · Bookish

Betrayal by Lilja Sigurðardóttir (Review)

Good afternoon everyone! Had some technical gremlins so it’s later in the day than I would have liked with this one – I ended up having to re-write it! But I am pleased to be bringing you a review of Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, translated from Icelandic by Quentin Bates as part of another wonderful Orenda blog tour. Please be sure to check out the other awesome stops on the tour!

I received a copy of Betrayal for free for review purposes.

Betrayal is a standalone work of Icelandic Noir about corruption in politics as Úrsula, the newly promoted minister and former aid worker ends up unknowingly drawn in to a plot to benefit everyone aside from herself.

As soon as Úrsula is in office, she knows what she wants to get done in her year tenure at the ministry. Right off the bat, she makes a promise to a mother who is on tenterhooks about the progress of her daughters rape case, having no idea that there was far more to it than a police officer being the culprit as some of her colleagues attempt to hinder her at every juncture. She finds an unlikely acquaintance in Stella, whom shows Úrsula a place where she can smoke in private. A cleaner whom usually goes ignored.

I really liked the characters in Betrayal. Úrsula was so passionate and believable but also very human. Her driver, Gunnar who was very serious and clearly had far more to him than meets the eye – I’d have liked to have learned more about why he is the way he is. Stella. Rough around the edges. An alright sort whose done some bad things whom I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards.

Betrayal is well paced with short, punchy chapters that flip between the perspective of numerous characters as Úrsula works at the ministry to the best of her ability while receiving threats and tackling obstacles that are deliberately placed to hinder her. I felt really bad for Úrsula as it seemed she would not have an easy run. Often the point was made about having a woman as a minister and the portrayal of her in the media. It felt very believable. All in all, I really enjoyed Betrayal and following Úrsula on what turned out to be a very chaotic and short tenure as minister. I found it to be a compelling read.

About the Book

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 why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…

Bookish

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn (GIVEAWAY!)

Hey you lovely bunch. Can you believe it’s almost OCTOBER? Eeeek. This year has been such a weird one. Anywhoo! Today I am on the Orenda tour for The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn, translated from Norwegian (Nynorsk) by Rosie Hedger. It’s out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. BUT! You can win an e-book copy for free! Read on for the details… Be sure to check out the other wonderful tour stops!

Sounds good, right? If you want to win your very own copy for free, just head over to my Twitter @LizzumsBB and follow myself and @OrendaBooks, then like and retweet this tweet to be in with a chance! Open until the 18th October 2020 to anywhere in the world. Thank you kindly to the folks at Orenda for letting me host this giveaway and for giving away a copy to one of you lovely lot!

About the Book

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.
 
Exquisitely dark and immensely powerful, The Seven Doors is a sophisticated and deeply disturbing psychological thriller from one of Norway’s most distinguished voices.

book reviews · Bookish

Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and I am bringing you a review! This book is out now and available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Varg Veum is a private detective, operating out of Bergen, Norway. Previously accused of pedophilia, after images were planted on his computer, Varg has been trying to pick up the pieces after he was proven innocent, but his name still tainted.

One day, someone attempts to run Varg down. Around the same time, he has discovered that two people in the aforementioned pedophile case had died, but he senses something is amiss. Nobody has commissioned him to do so, but he decides to investigate their deaths and discovers the dark truth about the people involved in the case.

The books main theme is a case about the deaths of two pedophiles and mentions child abuse including that which occurs in a family setting. Some readers may find this triggering.

The book is translated from Norweigan, but it is well written and immersive. I found it to be suspenseful and really easy to settle in to and I guess that’s thanks to the author also being from Bergen. The nouns threw me off because I spent a while contemplating how they’d be pronounced, but that was all the more interesting to me and I was glad they didn’t anglicize the names. As an English reader, I really enjoyed the foreign setting.

The ending was punchy, hard hitting and satisfying and I was really pleased with the outcome and how the author wrapped the book up. It’s part of a series, but it read just fine as a standalone and I don’t feel overly baited to the next installment – although, I’d be interested to reading it, for sure!

About the Book

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Bergen.