Tag Archives: thriller

Review: ‘Block 46’ by Johana Gustawsson

The mutilated corpse of a jewellery designer is discovered in a harbour in a Swedish marina while a young boy’s body is found in London with similar wounds around the same time. Emily Roy, a Canadian profiler on loan to Scotland Yard, begins to investigate the case alongside French true crime writer Alexis Castells. As the story continues, Roy and Castells uncover evidence to suggest that there may be a link between these murders and the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Written by Johana Gustawsson, and translated into English by Maxim Jakubowski, Block 46 is a tense thriller which unravels slowly but masterfully. The chapters are choppy and keep the plot moving along nicely. The language used throughout the book is beautiful which juxtaposes the violence of the murders well.

The plot is utterly intriguing and I can see how the partnership of Roy and Castells could be turned into a successful series – there are plenty of narrative strands that could be explored further.

When I saw Johana Gustawsson talk about Block 46 at Newcastle Noir, I saw that the subject had deeply affected her and I couldn’t wait to read this book. The fact that Gustawsson has weaved present-day narratives with an historical element makes this a really unique novel. A must-read.

Vic x

Review: ‘Exquisite’ by Sarah Stovell.

Imagine you are feted author with the world at your feet. You have a startlingly successful career, a loving family and a beautiful home. You go to teach on a week-long residential writing course in Northumberland and meet a talented but troubled young woman. The chemistry between you is instant and you embark on an all-consuming affair like the ones you write about: or do you?

Exquisite is a breathless and claustrophobic read which captivates you until the final page. I literally could not put it down. It’s been a long time since I read a psychological thriller as good as this. I could see the action unfolding in my mind and already have a clear picture of who would play these characters in a TV or film adaptation.

The way in which Sarah Stovell has crafted this book requires a tremendous amount of skill. The narrative completely reflects the obsessive and confusing nature of the relationship between Bo Luxton and Alice Dark. Exquisite is layered  to perfection and ensures that your sympathies never lie with one person for very long. Sadly, it’s terrifyingly believable.

A must-read.

Vic x

Review: ‘Settled Blood’ by Mari Hannah

Settled Blood

A young girl is found at the base of Hadrian’s Wall and DCI Kate Daniels is called in to investigate. Shortly after the gruesome discovery, a prominent businessman reports his daughter missing. A pattern begins to form. As the investigation delves into the seedier side of the north-east, a number of suspects emerge and begin to complicate matters further for Daniels.

If you read ‘The Murder Wall’ by Mari Hannah, you will be aware that Kate Daniels is a complex, intelligently written character with plenty of skeletons in her own closet to contend with as well as being head of an investigative team. Her team, too, are believable characters with very human problems. This makes the story all the more realistic.

‘Settled Blood’ is absolutely compelling, I didn’t want to put it down. Almost everyone is a suspect in this fast-paced, intelligent thriller. I love Hannah’s ability to evoke a certain feeling that relates specifically to the north-east of England, her understanding of the locale and her wonderful descriptions add a lot to her clever narratives.

I cannot wait to read the next Kate Daniels novel.

Vic x

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