Ok, I have to admit that I’ve got a bit behind on my reviewing. So I hope the authors won’t mind but I have three reviews for you today.
Before It’s Too Late by Jane Isaac
First up, the very lovely Jane Isaac with Before It’s Too Late. This is the second book of Jane’s that I’ve read and it features DI Will Jackman. Unlike her DCI Helen Lavery series that’s set in a fictional town, this book is set in Stratford upon Avon and I love the little touches that she includes to add authenticity – you can tell she’s done her research.
A young female Chinese student has gone missing. To begin with it looks as though this might be related to two recent murders. Jackman is brought in to investigate the young woman’s disappearance. But when a male Chinese student goes missing too, it’s clear to Jackman that this case isn’t as straightforward as he thought. Jackman is an unusual officer. You realise quite early on in the book that something has happened to his wife but it’s later you discover what it is and that tension plays well throughout the story. Add to that the haunting voice of Min Li as she endures her confinement and Before It’s Too Late makes for a fabulous read. I look forward to the next instalment of DI Will Jackman – Beneath The Ashes.
Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson
I don’t think any of us could have failed to see the excitement of the Icelandic people during Euro 2016. TV reports from Reykjavik showed fans dancing and cheering in the streets – even when they lost! But most striking was the light. Even though it was late at night, the land of the midnight sun was still bathed in sunshine. Conversely, darkness is abundant during winter, especially in Siglufjordur, in the north of Iceland, where the surrounding mountains hide what little light the sun might bring. And then there’s the snow and ice and biting cold wind. Just reading Nightblind made me want to shiver. As I so often do, I’ve read the books out of order and this is the second in the Ari Thor series (Snowblind is the first and Blackout has just been released as an eBook). However, I don’t think this matters too much.
Ari Thor is sick. Properly sick. He has flu. He can’t possibly go back to work tonight. He needs another day at least. So his boss, Herjolfur, has no choice but to do another night shift. He just hopes that Ari remembers that he’s got time off very soon and Ari needs to be back at work. Although Herjolfur is the senior police officer, he still feels a little nervous when he’s called to an abandoned house on the edge of town. And so he should be. It’s the last call he ever takes.
Ari Thor is reunited with his old boss, Tomas and together they investigate Herjolfur’s death. The murder of a police officer is an unlikely occurrence in Iceland and so the pressure is on. As darkness sweeps across and envelopes Siglufjordur, can the murderer be found?
This is my first foray into Icelandic noir and it definitely won’t be my last. Jonasson interweaves his story with great atmosphere, tension and pace. On the one hand I loved Ari Thor and then on the other, I wanted to give him a good slap and tell him to sort out his personal life! It’s not surprising that the TV rights have been sold. This will make an excellent TV series.
Vanishing Point by Daniel Pembrey
And to finish, a short read. Perfect for reading on a journey or on the beach. But maybe not if you’re at a yoga retreat…
Jenny wanted to get away from it all. The Mexican yoga retreat recommended to her by her yoga teacher sounded perfect. Time to unwind, meditate, make decisions about her future – starting with her husband, John. But Jenny never returned. A year on, John travels to Mexico to discover what happened to his wife.
Daniel Pembrey is fast making the novella his own, with other titles The Candidate and The Lion Hunter. He manages to pack in a lot of plot, characterization and atmosphere. I would say a short and sweet read but it’s more of a short and slightly disturbing one!
Five stars for all three books!
If you want to follow any of the authors on Twitter
Jane Isaac @JaneIsaacAuthor
Ragnar Jonasson @ragnarjo
Daniel Pembrey @DPemb