#BlogTour #BookReview Unhinged by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks

Unhinged Blog Tour BannerjpgWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Unhinged by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst, translated by Megan Turney. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Orenda Books for my digital review copy. Do check out the review by my tour buddy for today Claire at bookreviewsforu.


UnhingedAbout the Book

His colleague is dead. His daughter may be next. It’s time to do things his way…

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo murder cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.

Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.

As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust … and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

Format: Paperback (276 pages)           Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 17th February 2022 Genre: Crime, Contemporary Fiction

Find Unhinged (Alexander Blix & Emma Raam #3) on Goodreads

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Hive | Amazon UK
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My Review

Described by the Sunday Times as ‘An exercise in literary tag-teaming from two of Norway’s biggest crime writers with a bold new take’, Unhinged is the third in the authors’ crime series featuring police investigator Alexander Blix and young news blogger Emma Ramm. I haven’t read either of the previous two books in the series and I’m kicking myself for not having done so now because there are too many references to events in the earlier books to make it worthwhile. However, that does mean Unhinged can definitely be read as a standalone.

The book opens with Blix being questioned about how and why he came to shoot a man whose identity he claims not to have known. The story then alternates between Blix’s interrogation and descriptions of the events which led up to that moment, including how his daughter, Iselin, came to become involved. As the book demonstrates, actions have consequences – often unintended – and the results can be life-changing. A dramatic event part way through the book threatens to destroy Blix and Emma’s relationship irreparably, a relationship already complicated by their past experiences. It also makes Blix reflect on actions he’s taken in the past, wondering if his interventions have done more harm than good and sending him into a spiral of depression that sees him lonely, isolated and in a very dark place. He is emotionally ‘unhinged’.

Meanwhile, Emma’s journalistic instincts see her continue to investigate just why someone might have wanted to kill Sofia Kovic. What did Sofia know that would make her a target for an execution style killing?  Perhaps someone else out there is also ‘unhinged’ but in a much more destructive way?

At one point Blix describes his approach to a new case: ‘He always looked for things like this in an investigation. Discrepancies. Things that didn’t quite fit.’ When reading crime fiction this reader is the same but the authors are masters in the art of inserting red herrings and laying false trails that you can’t resist following but which usually result in a dead end. The book is full of ‘I can’t believe you just did that’ and ‘I wasn’t expecting that’ moments along with a few ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea, Blix’ and ‘I definitely don’t think that’s a good idea, Emma’.

The ending of the book had me cursing and wiping away tears at the same time. But after all, as Thomas Enger confides in the authors’ acknowledgments  – which, by the way, is sheer genius – ‘I know all about cliffhangers’.

Thanks to Orenda Books and the skill of translator Megan Turney, English speaking crime fans can enjoy another fabulous helping of Nordic Noir.  I’m not a fan of the word ‘unputdownable’ and I’m not going to use it now (okay, I just have) but the deliciously complex plot and relentless pace of Unhinged makes it the perfect one sitting read. It’s brilliant.

In three words: Taut, compelling, intense

Try something similar: A Memory for Murder by Anne Holt

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About the Authors

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively.

A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is a journalist-turned-author whose trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer.

Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller, closely followed by Smoke Screen, and the series has sold more than two million copies worldwide, outselling Jo Nesbo in their native Norway, Sweden and Germany.

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#BlogTour #BookReview Music of the Night edited by Martin Edwards @RandomTTours @FlameTreePress

Music Night (2) BT PosterWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Music of the Night, the latest anthology of original short stories by members of the Crime Writers’ Association, edited by Martin Edwards. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Flame Tree Press for my digital review copy. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today, Amanda at The Butler Did It.


Final Music of the Night CoverAbout the Book

Music of the Night is a new anthology of original short stories contributed by Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) members and edited by Martin Edwards, with music as the connecting theme. The aim, as always, is to produce a book which is representative both of the genre and the membership of the world’s premier crime writing association.

The CWA has published anthologies of members’ stories in most years since 1956 with Martin Edwards as editor for over 25 years during which time the anthologies have yielded many award-winning and nominated stories by writers such as Ian Rankin, Reginald Hill, Lawrence Block and Edward D. Hoch.

Stories by long-standing authors and stellar names sit alongside contributions from relative newcomers, authors from overseas, and members whose work haven’t appeared in a CWA anthology before. Among the gifted stars of today whose fiction featured in a CWA anthology at an early stage of their crime writing careers are Mick Herron, Frank Tallis and Sarah Hilary. It isn’t a closed shop, and never has been.

The CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) was founded in 1953 by John Creasey and organises the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards which celebrate the best in crime writing. The CWA is a pro-active, thriving and ever-expanding community of writers based in the UK but with a reach that extends worldwide.

Format: Hardcover (288 pages)            Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Publication date: 22nd February 2022 Genre: Crime, Short Stories

Find Music of the Night on Goodreads

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Hive | Amazon UK
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My Review

The contributors to this anthology are a positive Who’s Who of contemporary crime fiction and much of the fun is seeing how each author responds to the theme of music.  In some of the stories the musical element is in the background, for example as a setting for a crime.  In others it is the key (pardon the pun) to the whole structure of the story.  A particularly good example of the latter is the story by Ragnar Jónasson who instructs that it should be read while listening to 4’33” by John Cage. I also really enjoyed ‘The Melody of Murder’ by Antony M Brown in which the killer’s trademark is creating crime scenes which resemble famous album covers.  Perhaps my favourite story was ‘Love Me Or Leave Me: A Fugue in G Minor’ by Art Taylor, a strange and rather unsettling story based around a fragment of melody that apparently no-one else can hear.

I always admire authors who can create really taut short stories and some great examples in the collection are ‘Mix Tape’ by Cath Staincliffe, ‘Taxi!’ by Chris Simms, ‘Violin – CE’ by David Stuart Davies and ‘A Vulture Sang in Berkeley Square’. I also enjoyed being introduced in short story form to some crime series I’ve heard of but haven’t read such as Vaseem Khan’s Malabar House series.

There is something for everyone in the collection whether you’re a fan of historical crime, police procedural or noir – or perhaps I should say whether your playlist contains classical music, pop, rock, jazz… or even silence. Whichever is the case, I can safely say that Music of the Night contains no bum notes.

In three words: Inventive, engaging, witty

Try something similar: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards

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Martin EdwardsAbout the Editor

Martin Edwards is the author of eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries, and the Harry Devlin series. His ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder has won the Edgar, Agatha and H.R.F. Keating awards. He has edited twenty eight crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics. In 2015, he was elected eighth President of the Detection Club, an office previously held by G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers.

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Music Night (1) BT Poster