Orenda Books – What a year that was … Part 1 @Orendabooks

This is me and my sister every time we look on Amazon and find that there is a new Orenda book title up for preorder. Super excited and we hot foot it, bouncy penguin style, to the nearest internet access to get going. I seldom even stop to read what the book is about because I trust Karen Sullivan and her team to bring me some of the best titles the publishing world has to offer, and I know that, whatever I read, it will be brilliant. 

I first became aware of Orenda Books (although at the time I wasn’t aware I was aware) at Crimefest in Bristol back in 2016. This was also the time when I figured I’d give blogging a go, but this was nothing to do with Karen so please do not blame her. I went to a few panels where I heard the likes of Michael Grothaus, Amanda Jennings and Ragnar Jonasson talk about their books and I was intrigued by each of them, finding myself ordering the books before the panel had even finished. And it was on a long trip up to Scotland for Bloody Scotland that I decided to give Ragnar’s Ari Thor series a go on audio book, leading on to me reviewing the books on my blog, and bringing me to the attention of the wonderful Karen Sullivan. Karen sent me my very first ever book post and I will always be grateful to her for that and for introducing me to even more exciting, diverse and exciting authors each and every year. 

What was in that first package? The Mountain in My Shoe by Louise Beech; A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone; The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto; and The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn. All absolutely stunning books that I adored and I have not looked back since. You can read any of the reviews by selecting the titles above.

Now every single year, Orenda Books provide me with hours of entertainment and I have travelled the length and breadth of the country to attend launches and book signings. The authors are genuinely some of the nicest and kindest people you could ever hope to meet, with some of the best stories you could ever wish to read. If you ever get the opportunity to attend an Orenda Roadshow (and I believe there are more being planned for early next year) then do. You won’t regret it. Karen Sullivan has to be one of the most supportive publishers of both her authors and readers, and I can’t recommend the books enough. Want to know just how fabulous they books are? Well, here is a recap of all the fun, frustrating, breath stealing, poignant and ultimately engrossing reads Orenda Books have give us in the first half of this year.

January

Hydra – Matt Wesolowski

A family massacre. A deluded murderess. Five witnesses. Six stories. Which one is true?

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…
Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.


Read my review here.
Purchase Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

Deep Blue Trouble – Steph Broadribb

Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but the little girl’s cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking.

Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row.

Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free.This is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything…

Breathlessly paced, and bursting with high-voltage action and edge-of-your-seat jeopardy, Deep Blue Trouble is the unmissable next instalment featuring one of the most memorable and fearless female characters in crime fiction.


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

February

Killed – Thomas Enger

Crime reporter Henning Juul thought his life was over when his young son was murdered. But that was only the beginning…

Determined to find his son’s killer, Henning doggedly follows an increasingly dangerous trail, where dark hands from the past emerge to threaten everything. His ex-wife Nora is pregnant with another man’s child, his sister Trine is implicated in the fire that killed his son and, with everyone he thought he could trust seemingly hiding something, Henning has nothing to lose … except his own life.

Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-awaited finale of one of the darkest, most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who?


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

Blue Night – Simone Buchholz

The hair stands up on the back of my neck and I get an age-old feeling in my belly. Like there’s a fight ahead. Like something’s really about to go off…

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in.

Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…

Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UKKobo | Waterstones

March

End Game – Matt Johnson

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the author of a book about secret operations goes missing, along with his agent and an explosive new manuscript, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over.

With his friend and former colleague, Kevin Jones, in trouble, and police complaints branch gunning for them both, Robert teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the growing conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services.

End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricate and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

We Were The Salt Of The Sea – Roxanne Bouchard

Truth lingers in murky waters…

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation.

On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Moralès reach straight for a large whisky…

Both a dark and consuming crime thriller and a lyrical, poetic ode to the sea, We Were the Salt of the Sea is a stunning, page-turning novel, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

April

Keeper – Johana Gustawsson

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims.

With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down.

Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

The Ice Swimmer – Kjell Ola Dahl

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder.

With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.


Read my review here.
Purchase Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

May

The Old You – Louise Voss

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

Fault Lines – Doug Johnstone

Brilliantly constructed speculative crime fiction
A classic whodunit
Dark psychological suspense

Doug Johnstone returns with his most explosive and original thriller yet…

A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. 

On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

Absolution – Paul E. Hardisty

It’s 1997, and eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In Paris, Rania LaTour, Claymore’s former lover, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared.

On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.

So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rain fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible.

Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a wa
y to survive in a world gone mad.

At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK Kobo | Waterstones | Amazon US 

June

Big Sister – Gunnar Staalesen

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.


Read my review here.
Purchase links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Waterstones

And that was just the first half of the year!!! Join me later to see the rest of the brilliant books Orenda Books have released this year and maybe find your next favourite book.

Happy reading

Jen

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