The 2019 Petrona Award shortlist has landed!

The Petrona Award 2019 official shortlist is here! A diverse and compelling selection from across Scandinavia…

Mrs. Peabody Investigates

Here we go!!!

Six outstanding crime novels from Denmark, Iceland and Norway have been shortlisted for the 2019 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.They are… *drumroll*

  • THE ICE SWIMMER by Kjell Ola Dahl, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)
  • THE WHISPERER by Karin Fossum, tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)
  • THE KATHARINA CODE by Jørn Lier Horst, tr. Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph; Norway)
  • THE DARKNESS by Ragnar Jónasson, tr. Victoria Cribb (Penguin; Iceland)
  • RESIN by Ane Riel, tr. Charlotte Barslund (Doubleday; Denmark)
  • BIG SISTER by Gunnar Staalesen, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)

THE ICE SWIMMER by Kjell Ola Dahl, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)

Kjell Ola Dahl has achieved international acclaim for his ‘Oslo Detectives’ police procedural series, of which The Ice Swimmer is the latest instalment. When a dead man is found in the freezing waters…

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***COVER REVEAL*** Amer Anwar- Brothers In Blood

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WINNER OF THE CWA DEBUT DAGGER

THE MUST READ THRILLER OF 2018

A Sikh girl on the run.
A Muslim ex-con who has to find her.
A whole heap of trouble.

Southall, West London. After being released from prison, Zaq Khan is lucky to land a dead-end job at a builders’ yard. All he wants to do is keep his head down and put the past behind him.
But when Zaq is forced to search for his boss’s runaway daughter, he quickly finds himself caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge.
With time running out and pressure mounting, can Zaq find the missing girl before it’s too late? And if he does, can he keep her – and himself – alive long enough to deal with the people who want them both dead?

“An engaging hero, a cunning plot, and a fascinating journey into Southall’s underworld. We’ll be hearing a lot more from Amer Anwar.”

– Mick Herron

“A fine debut novel. With his engaging characters and skilful plotting, Anwar brings a fresh and exciting new voice to the genre.”
 Ann Cleeves

Raven’s review…

Winner of the CWA Debut Dagger Award, Brothers In Blood marks the start of an incredibly promising crime thriller writing career for Amer Anwar. This one of the most vibrant and edgy crime thrillers I have encountered for some time. From the very start of the book, I was completely immersed in the trials and tribulations of central protagonist Zaq Khan, who through the fickle finger of fate finds himself entangled in a very dangerous situation indeed. Subject to blackmail and intimidation, he is tasked with uncovering the whereabouts of his boss’s errant daughter, Rita, who has ostensibly run away from an impending forced marriage. Finding himself at odds with his boss, Rita’s two meat-headed brothers, and ghosts from the past seeking to inflict some serious physical damage upon him, Zaq needs to be resourceful, cunning and more than a little devious to survive this trial by fire…

Zaq is a truly likeable and engaging character, who immediately gets the reader on side with his mix of easy humour, craftiness, and genuine good guy demeanour. Anwar instils him with a honesty and charm that has you rooting for him from the outset, as pressure is brought to bear on him from all angles. He’s fast-talking and quick thinking, and despite the hole he finds himself in does not lose his keen sense of morality to extricate Rita, and by extension, himself, from a nasty situation.  I loved his interactions with his best mate Jags, and the solid camaraderie that exists between them, despite the twist in fate that sees their lives having progressed on two very different courses. I also admire Jags’ natural ability to act as a second mother to Zaq in terms of tea-making and painkiller providing as his mate gets into a succession of scrapes, and is always happy to play second fiddle to Zaq’s suicidal plans. This has to be one of the greatest friendships forged in crime fiction, and is a constant source of delight throughout. Anwar’s band of bad boys, out for Zaq’s blood are equally well depicted, slow, dull-witted, and handy with their fists, and allowing for some exciting and very well written fight scenes, where there is a realistic and palpable pain. There’s nothing worse than a fight scene where everyone is seemingly unmarked by the experience, and boy, does Zaq take some punishment.

Set around the environs of Southall and its Asian community, the life, colour, languages and atmosphere of this area shines through Anwar’s depiction of its inhabitants. The sights, sounds and delicious aromas of the area bring a vibrancy and liveliness to his descriptions, and gives the reader a real sense of the connections between our main protagonists and their community. The plotting is assured, and I liked the way that Anwar leads us in a seemingly linear direction, which is entertaining enough, but then pulls a couple of startling revelations that take the story in a different direction indeed. The pace is perfectly controlled, and I genuinely found this incredibly hard to put down, as it is punctuated by a glorious mix of fast visceral action, a dash of heart-warming interactions, a further sprinkling of violence and chicanery, and then a steady build up of misdirection to an exciting, and not altogether predictable ending.

I absolutely loved  Brothers In Blood, and having become a little jaded with the British-set crime thriller scene of late, this gave me a right old flying by the seat of my pants reading experience, which seemed fresh and exciting. A cracking new voice on the thriller scene, and yes, I can’t wait to see what Amer Anwar produces next. Pure brilliant and highly recommended.

_________________________________________________________

Amer Anwar grew up in West London. After leaving college he had a variety of jobs, including; warehouse assistant, comic book lettering artist, a driver for emergency doctors and chalet rep in the French Alps. He eventually landed a job as a creative artworker/graphic designer and spent the next decade and a half producing artwork, mainly for the home entertainment industry. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London and is a winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. Brothers In Blood is his first novel. For everything else, he has an alibi. It wasn’t him. He was never there.

Published by: Dialogue Books
Release date: 6th September 2018
Also available as ebook and audiobook.

A new nest for Raven…

Hello everyone!

Let’s start with a very big APOLOGY for my complete lack of blogging, reading, social media interaction and sharing of my fellow bloggers’ posts of late.

For the last few weeks my life has pretty much been like this… 

 due to a sudden, and desperate, need to find somewhere new to live, and perhaps most importantly, somewhere to house my books! But, joking aside, it has been a somewhat stressful and worrying time, with the clock ominously ticking, and a lack of suitable nests available. 

However, and I say this with the greatest relief, I have at last found somewhere to rest my feathered head, and Friday is removal day. Huzzah!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, bearing in mind I haven’t even read a complete book in at least two weeks, and I have absolutely no idea what I need to be reading when, or which of the multitudinous boxes the relevant books are in. Ah. The fun of unpacking awaits. 

Once again, I apologise for my absence. Can’t wait to get back to normal.

Well. As normal as I get. 

 

 

Teaser No. 3… Nuala Ellwood- My Sister’s Bones + Exclusive Extract

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Exclusive extract from My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

“I carefully climb up onto the chair and stand looking into next-door’s garden. The noise has stopped and there is nothing there but an empty washing line and a pair of old wellington boots lying by an overgrown rockery. The shed is in darkness.

‘Hearing things again,’ I tell myself as I climb down from the seat, but just as my feet touch the ground the noise starts again, this time louder and more frantic, and it is coming from beyond the fence.

I scramble back on to the chair and peer over. And then my heart flips inside my chest.

There, in the window of the shed, is a face.”

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1ST NOVEMBER 2016

 PRE-ORDER E-BOOK HERE

Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

At first Kate tells herself it’s just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it.

What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it . . . and make it out alive?

 

Advance reviews for My Sister’s Bones:

‘Compelling and intriguing, right from the very first page’ (Sharon Bolton, Sunday Times bestselling author of Like This, For Ever)

Gripping and beautifully written, My Sister’s Bones is a tense, atmospheric, deliciously dark story (Amanda Jennings)

A stunning book. I was drawn in by Nuala Ellwood’s hypnotic, haunting and elegant prose. Compelling, unsettling and powerful this is a book that will stay with me for a long time’ (C. L. Taylor)

Loved I Let You Go and Behind Closed Doors? My Sister’s Bones is guaranteed to be this year’s most twisty and twisted read – you’ll never see what’s coming! (Ava Marsh, author of UNTOUCHABLE)

‘Ellwood’s protagonist Kate is a female hero in the best sense, flawed but brave. Very quickly you are sucked into her fragile, damaged world, until you no longer know what is real or imaginary’ (Helen Callaghan, author of DEAR AMY)

This book is amazing – harrowing and compelling…a clever plot that twists right to the very end (Luana Lewis)

An accomplished and page-turning thriller…it’s impossible to guess where it’s going next’ (Nicholas Searle)

 

 

It’s Teaser Time…Steph Broadribb- Deep Down Dead

stephToday I am joining the official countdown to the release of Steph Broadribb’s debut novel DEEP DOWN DEAD. In her blogging guise as Crime Thriller Girl we have come to know. and love her wide- ranging and incisive crime reviews, and are on tenterhooks to see what her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead has in store. Yes, we’re all pretty excited…

Here’s a quote…

“Me and JT together were like gasoline and fire. Intensely hot, but impossible to control. And when we did partner up, the people I cared for died. This time, I knew for damn sure, I could not let that happen.”

Want to know more?…

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

And just hit this link to pre-order…

DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb is published by Orenda Books. It will be released on 15th October 2016.

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Raven’s Joining In! #20booksofsummer – and Raven’s Mum too!

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I’ve been following Cathy’s #20booksofsummer reading challenge at 746books.com for a couple of years now, and having seen a whole host of my favourite bloggers taking up the gauntlet, decided it was time to join in the fun! Running from 1st June to 5th September you can set yourself a challenge of nominating as many books as you would like to, or have time to read, within these dates. 

With my bookshelves positively groaning with books I have not had time to get to, and crime books naturally taking precedence, I think this will be a great opportunity to finally read some non-crime books that have been calling to me from my stupendously stupendous TBR pile.

 As you can see from the photo below there is only 1 book that could be loosely categorized as crime, but the rest are strictly fiction, and what’s this? A science fiction book too! For anyone who knows me this is a bold move!

Oh yes, it’s an eclectic mix….

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And to add to the fun Raven’s most excellent mum, also a voracious reader, has decided to join the challenge with, I have to say, an enticing shelf too. She will be tweeting her thoughts along the way via the hashtag #20booksofsummer… Brace yourselves… 😉

mum

If you want to join in the fun with 5, 10, 20, or however many you please, have a look at Cathy’s blog here , on Facebook or via cathy746books on Twitter.

A happy summer of reading awaits. It’s just a matter of choosing what to read first…