Orenda Roadshows 2020 – A Preview

Now you may have seen a bit of buzz on social media in the past week and a bit. Why? Well because the lovely Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books has announced the dates and host bookshops for this years series of Orenda Roadshows. I for one am very excited as I love this time of year, and I know a number of my fellow booklovers and Orenda-shippers are equally as bouncy as me.

Orenda Roadshows 2020 – Glasgow Edition

So what is an Orenda Roadshow I hear (some of) you ask? This is the nationwide celebration of all things Orenda where you will find the largest number of authors in any one place, outside of a bog standard festival, talking about their books, sharing the book love and spending time with their readers. It is both informative and entertaining. Fun and a place for serious book purchasing. There is also the chance you may be able to pick up some not yet released titles as the authors prepare for their upcoming launches. You just don’t know.

To give you an idea what to expect, over the next few weekends I’m going to be resharing my round up of the last three years worth of Orenda Roadshows. Before I do though, here is the list of this years venues and the bookshops you need to stalk on Twitter and Facebook to keep abreast of the bookings opening.

24th February: Waterstones Glasgow
25th February: Drake the Bookshop, Stockton on Tees
26th February: Linghams Booksellers, Heswall
27th February: The Bookcase, Lowdham
28th February: Griffin Books, Penarth

Tickets are already on sale for Heswall, Stockton-on-Tees and Glasgow so don’t delay. Book today. For those of you who are still undecided, let me tempt you some more with what happened at my first ever Orenda Roadshow in Liverpool, way back in 2017…

My Bookish Night Out
Orenda Roadshow 2017

So Tuesday I decided to cash in a little annual leave and took the afternoon off to head off to Liverpool with my sister. Our destination? Waterstones at Liverpool One and the Orenda Books International Crime Fiction Roadshow.

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Now, if you’re a follower of the blog (poor folks) you’ll probably have an inkling that I’m somewhat of a fan of Orenda Books’ authors. I’ve got to be honest; I haven’t read a duff book yet that Karen has backed and released. I was absolutely thrilled to see that she was going on tour with some of her crack team of writers, many of whom I’d already read and reviewed. Like – well 7.5 out of the 8 if I’m being honest, and it was only 0.5 of one because I have started the book but haven’t quite finished it yet. (This was true then – I’ve read 82 books now – they’re all fabulous)

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It was a brilliant night, with the wonderful Karen Sullivan (@OrendaBooks) introducing her authors. They told us a little bit about their books as well as reading short excerpts from all eight novels, before answering a few questions about who inspires their work, where their ideas come from and, in the case of Steph Broadribb, giving us a little insight into the training she did as a Bounty Hunter as part of her research for her sensational debut, Deep Down Dead. There was also some debate over whether there was any pressure on authors to write ‘noir’ which led to an emphatic no from all parties and the agreement that they write what they want to read first, rather than being confined by genre expectations.

If you aren’t aware of the eight fabulous authors who were at the event (shame on you) then here is a little bit about each of their superb books which, in the words of Antti Tuomainen, are all ‘really good’ and are all ‘really cheap’. Trust me, you had to be there but this guy has a totally wicked sense of humour.

img_2529Thomas Enger – Reading from Cursed

Follow on Twitter: @EngerThomas

What secret would you kill to protect?

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son.

With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

Although this is book 4 in the series, you can read this as a standalone (though why would you want to). I really enjoyed Cursed, so much so that I went out to buy the first three before I’d made it even half way through. You can purchase Cursed here and also get a taste of what’s in store for you by reading my review, here.

img_2530Louise Beech reading from The Mountain In My Shoe

Follow on Twitter: @LouiseWriter

A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself.

On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.

Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.

It was fantastic finally getting to meet Louise Beech although it was perhaps mildly disturbing that by the end of the night her ‘boobs’ seemed to be everywhere… 😉 You can purchase the brilliant The Mountain In My Shoe here and read my review here.

img_2532Steph Broadribb reading from Deep Down Dead

Follow on Twitter: @crimethrillgirl

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.

What can you say about the woman who knows how to use a Taser? Why she’s fabulous of course. Completely fabulous. Actually, bounty hunter training aside, she really is pretty cool, an absolute fabulous blogger and has released one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. You can purchase a copy here and read my review here.

img_2533Antti Tuomainen  reading from The Mine

Follow on Twitter: @antti_tuomainen

A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late?

In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life.


A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results … The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.

I absolutely loved reading this and it was brilliant listening to Antti reading the book in his native tongue. Have no idea what he said; in truth it could have been the local Chinese takeaway menu he was reading from, but it sounded good and the book is fabulous in any language. 😉 You can purchase The Mine here and read my review here.

img_2534Michael J Malone reading from A Suitable Lie

Follow on Twitter: @michaelJmalone1

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna.

Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match… And she loves his son, too. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.

A brave, deeply moving psychological thriller which marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s top crime writers.

For a read that turns the whole subject of domestic violence on its head while providing a truly emotionally engaging read, then look no further than this little beauty. You can purchase A Suitable Lie here and read my review here.

img_2536Kati Hiekkapelto reading from The Exiled

Follow on Twitter: @HiekkapeltoKati

Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?


Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?

This is book 3 in the Anna Fekete series but again it can be read as a standalone. This taps into the socio-economic issues affecting Europe as a whole, with a really emotive look at prejudice and the refugee crisis as Anna returns to her home village for a summer holiday. It’s a simply brilliant book and well worth a look – and with her love of punk, Kati has the best taste in neck wear ever. I know someone who would love her studded collar! You can purchase The Exiled here and read my review here.

img_2535Matt Johnson reading from Deadly Game

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Johnson_UK

Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered. Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK.

Now I have only just listened to the audio book of Wicked Game, the first in the Robert Finlay series, on my recent trip to Edinburgh, so my review is going to be posted this weekend. Have to say though that I loved it. It tapped into everything I like about the action and thriller genre while displaying the emotion and authenticity that can only come from the author’s personal experiences. And Mr Johnson is a really nice chap too – such a pleasure to speak to him. In the meantime you can order Deadly Game here and perhaps pick up Wicked Game while you’re at it. Read my review of Deadly Game and Wicked Game if you’d like a taster

img_2531Matt Wesolowski reading from Six Stories

Follow on Twitter: @ConcreteKraken

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who took that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure.


In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame… As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

One of Karen’s newest finds, Matt Wesolowski’s novel, Six Stories is currently available in e-book format with the paperback due for release on 15th March. You can purchase/preorder the book here and you read my thoughts on the book here.

It was an absolutely brilliant night and both Mandie and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Well worth the 160 mile round trip and braving the small rain shower to attend. And I may have purchased the odd one or two (or eight) books (again). After all, it’s the new internal grafitti that adds value and I never ever read any of my signed books…

Now tell me you don’t want to go to one of these roadshows this year. I do hope to see a few of you there. I’m going to be at all five, roving reporter stylee for our year of Orenda feature. Cannot wait. (My sincere apologies to all of the authors who will be sick of the sight of me by then end of the week …)

Have a brilliant weekend everyone.

Jen

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