November wasn’t a great month quantity-wise, but as far as quality goes, I can’t complain. They were almost all four-star books, so it made it all worth it.
Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza
This is my very first advanced reader’s copy ever, and who better than a book by one of my favorite authors ever, Robert Bryndza?
First of all, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Robert Bryndza, as well as Raven Street Publishing for my advanced reader’s copy. The book only comes out on January 12th of 2023, but I’m glad I got the privilege of reading it in advance.
This is the fourth book in the Kate Marshall series by the author. In this book, Kate Marshall and her partner Tristan investigate the disappearance of a three-year-old boy that happened eleven years ago.
While being rushed to the hospital after being pulled up by a current in the sea, private investigator Kate Marshall befriends Jean, an elderly lady in the same ward. Jean confides in Kate that her three-year-old grandson disappeared from the campsite in Dartmoor eleven years ago.
Kate agrees to take on the case because Jean is still filled with grief after all this time, but she discovers that her dark past could have potentially put Charlie in jeopardy. Did he wander off and get trapped by the river’s riptide by Devil’s way, close to their campsite? Or even worse, was he abducted?
The investigation leads them to other discoveries, such as the murder of the social worker who was assigned to their case. What really happened to the little boy? And what about Anna, the social worker? Is her murder related to Charlie’s disappearance?
This is my first Kate Marshall book, and I must say that I enjoyed it very much. After getting acquainted with the Erika Foster series I became a loyal fan of Robert Bryundza’s writing. Although this is my first one in this series, I find it just as addictive as his previous series.
If you’re not familiar with the author’s multi-layered storytelling style, you should definitely pick up his books. They can be read as stand-alone, but to get involved in the background stories, I strongly suggest you read them in order.
In the Devil’s Way, Kate and her partner are starting to fall into a routine that is still fairly new to them.
Although I have no background into Kate’s previous state, mental or physical, in this book she’s vulnerable and shaken up by her accident. Therefore her partner Tristan, although younger and less experienced than her, picks up the slack while she’s recuperating. They make a great team, based on mutual respect and admiration.
The setting offers the readers an atmospheric vibe, something that I’m used to in Nordic noir books. I must say, I enjoyed the description of the location and the danger it poses. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but feel worried about a little kid getting lost in the bogs, especially in the dark.
The characters are flawed and human, each dealing with their own issues. He doesn’t sugarcoat their present states of mind and allows their train of thought to follow their natural paths.
Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. I gave it four out of five stars and would recommend it to fans of chilling thrillers. If you love to follow the main character’s personal journeys, this book is for you.
The Book Haters’ Book Club by Gretchen Anthony
A cute book by Gretchen Anthony, a first by this author.
Bookstore co-owners Elliott and Irma have a special relationship. They met in their twenties and owned the Over The Rainbow bookshop for decades. Their lives are complex and complicated, and Elliott’s sudden death comes as a shock. Irma is devastated and she wants to sell the shop, while her two daughters and Thom, Elliott’s partner, want to hang on to it. But there’s more to the story than that. They fight for what they believe to be right, and their bond becomes unbreakable.
I love the way the author narrated this story. It’s a feel-good, laugh-aloud story of family, love, and the relationships you hang on to. It took a bit of time to get really interesting because the first half of the book was about the impending sale. But once we passed that hurdle, the book really picked up.
What I also liked quite a lot about the book is all the excellent book recommendations. A must-read if you’re a reader who enjoys reading books about bookstores. Plus a very different genre I usually gravitate towards, but I’m really glad I did!
The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler
I set this book to read for Nordic Noir in November this year. Since this is my favorite month of the year for nordic noir thrillers, I figured I’ll read it for this occasion. Since it’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months, I’m glad I finally got to it.
This is the sixth installment in the Joona Linna series by Swedish writing duo Lars Kepler. If you’re not familiar with the series, you can start off with the fourth book, the Sandman. It also happens to be my favorite one so far.
This one is not, unfortunately. It was okay, but it didn’t blow my mind.
Joona Linna gets a pass out of prison so he can help Saga Bauer solve a gruesome crime. The Foreign Minister is killed in his own home, while the prostitute he hired is left alone. Terrified, she helps the police figure out who this Rabbit Hunter is, and what is his motivation for killing. There are more murders, and the killer is always a few steps ahead. But how are all the victims connected, and can the duo solve it before more people die?
The storyline was at times unbelievable, it even had me roll my eyes a couple of times. Maybe the translation also had an impact on how it made me feel, but I didn’t connect with this book as much as their previous ones. Although one of the main characters in the book, Saga Bauer is not featured enough in the investigation in my opinion.
Other secondary backstories were unnecessary to the whole picture, and I thought it was a bit much. Once you read the book, you will probably figure out which part I’m referring to, but I won’t give away more.
All in all, you can skip this one and it probably won’t affect the series in any way.
Cold as Hell by Lilja Sigurdottir
I finished this book just as the month came to a close!! This is my second book by the author and the first in the Arora series.
Arora and her sister Isafold are not on speaking terms, so Arora gets annoyed when her mother calls and asks her to go to Iceland and look for her. Although the sisters are not as close, Isafold always calls her mother. So, when she hasn’t heard anything about her in about two weeks, she starts to panic.
Arora tracks down people’s money for a living, but she’s not equipped to track people.
Reluctantly, Arora goes to Iceland and talks to everyone her sister was close to, but she seemed to vanish without a trace. As she tries to dig into her sister’s disappearance, the hotel owner where she’s staying is intriguing. He’s caught her interest, but she wants to find out more about his financial situation, as he seems a bit suspicious.
Her uncle Daniel, who is not technically her uncle, is a police officer on leave, and she seeks his help at her mother’s suggestion.
There are a couple of storylines that happen at the same time, but they make sense in the end.
This is a Nordic Noir book, and a great one to get you started in the genre. It isn’t as gruesome or gritty as some others I’ve read.
I liked the way the author blended two storylines into one, so you always had something to wonder about. Although Arora seemed to make questionable decisions at times, her heart is in the right place.
Cold as Hell is a book to keep in mind for sure. I am looking forward to the second installment in the series, Red as Blood, which came out earlier this fall.
This sums up my list of books I’ve read in November. As you can see, it was not great, but decent enough. Now, hopefully, I can end the year on a high note. Also, I’ll have to think about which books were my favorites for the year. It will not be an easy task, as I’ve read a few great books! We’ll see! Until next time, keep reading my fellow bookworms.