book review · NetGalley · noir fiction · psychological suspense · series · thriller

Book Review – Behind Blue Eyes

Behind Blue Eyes

by C.S. Duffy

The perfect man.

The perfect life.

The only problem is the dead body on the beach.

Investigative reporter Ellie has just given up her life in London to be with the man of her dreams in Sweden when she stumbles across a half decomposed skeleton on Midsummer’s eve.

She’s flung into a murder investigation in a country where she doesn’t speak the language and doesn’t know a soul.

Except Johan.

The love of her life.

Who she is beginning to suspect knows a lot more about the body than he is admitting.

Is he the perfect man, or has Ellie uncovered the perfect crime?

A psychological suspense thriller with a twist of Scandi noir – perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

My Review

5/5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read by C.S.Duffy, and it will not be the last.
Behind Blue Eyes is the first in the Stockholm Murders series, and it has that great Scandi noir vibe to it. Utterly compelling, intriguing and mysterious, I was hooked from very early on.
The story centres on Ellie James, an investigative reporter from London, who drops everything to move to Sweden after an intense, but fairly short-lived romance with her one true love, Johan.
With no job, friends or language skills, the move is daunting so meeting Johan’s friends for a Midsummer’s party is a big deal. But, with the exception of Mia, they aren’t the most welcoming of people, and when they lapse into Swedish conversations – which they did a lot – her isolation is even more pronounced. I must add here that the descriptions of Stockholm and its islands are beautifully written, not in a touristy way since there is a dark underbelly referenced too, but the setting is vibrant and refreshing, adding to the tone of the story when necessary.
Not even expecting them to miss her, she wanders off on this remote island to clear her head and reassess her decision. Finding a skeleton is not in her plans, but when they body is later identified as a former girlfriend of her beloved Johan, then Ellie’s investigative instincts cannot be quashed.
As her enquiries proceed, it’s clear she has not been privy to all of the facts – there are cover ups galore that bring about many twists and turns.
The story is told from Ellie’s viewpoint with bite-sized chapters from the killer whose identity is closely guarded by the author. It’s thrilling, thought-provoking, lively and tense. Ellie’s decidedly British humour breaks down the tension only for it to be ramped up seconds later.
Connecting all the dots reveals a much bigger crime than originally suggested, and the suspects seem to be everywhere. It will keep you hooked right to the end. I’m looking forward to the next book now, and this is a new author for me to follow.
I received an arc from NetGalley – thank you – and also kudos to BooksGoSocial & C.S. Duffy for an amazing story.

As always,

blog tour · book review · political · satire

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Rats

The Rats

by Douglas Board

The Rats: A White House Satire

Ros March, disabled lesbian mum and former Royal Marine, has just moved to Turnberry on Scotland’s west coast. Her cottage overlooks one of the world’s most famous golf courses – Trump Turnberry – as well as the scenic bird sanctuary Ailsa Craig. But idylls deceive. In truth Ailsa was once overrun by rats, who were exterminated at the end of the twentieth century, and Ros’s landlord turns out to be a delusional Islamophobic misogynist who calls himself ‘Potus Two’. When Potus Two announces that both he and Ros will have the chance to meet the President on Turnberry’s hallowed grounds, Ros hatches a plan. Even a slim chance to do something about one of the biggest rats in the world is not something she will pass by.

Purchase Link:

https://douglasboard.com/novels/the-rats-a-white-house-satire.html

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0789PC6LG

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0789PC6LG

Promotional Videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq07R072IhU

Author Bio

Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.

Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.

As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @BoardWryter

https://douglasboard.com/home/

My Review:

As this is a short read, I decided to wait until today, June 4th, to read it, knowing that the “star” of the story would be in London on a state visit. Call me a glutton for punishment, but it seemed like a good idea at the time although I’m now feeling the side effects of too much Trump. At least, in the case of this book, I could refrain from the usual eye-rolling and enjoy a great story without the echo of “Fake News”.

Having read the book description, I had no idea where this story was going to take me, and without spoiling it for others I’ll just say that this was one of those times where the unexpected was deliciously satisfying. Anyone who picks this up will realise it’s a White House satire – it says so on the front cover – and so won’t be expecting the same pomp and ceremony that Trump himself is currently enjoying.

I relished every one of many delightful lines, such as these:

“he lived in a Cirque du Soleil world of private facts”

“and then, the windbag was with them, all grin, hairspray and hand gestures”

and ” the man who thought Armageddon was a fashion label”

The story compares Aisla Craig and the infestation of rats with what is going on – and fuelled by – POTUS 45 in the current global political climate. Someone, somewhere, somehow needs to put an end to the infestation – cue Ros!

In Ros we have a female, gay Royal Marine who served in Afghanistan (and paid the price in losing her leg). She represents all those groups who have borne the brunt of policy cuts and removal of rights, and is perfectly cast to exact the revenge she does. With her landlord being a POTUS fanatic (this chap is a basketcase missing a basket!), she gets the opportunity to meet the man – her private demon – in the flesh.

The results are dramatic, and the satire at this point is at its sharpest. We get a glimpse of the inner workings of the White House – the filled in swimming that now needs to be converted back again as well as other changes that are required after the “incident”. It’s fair to say that what happens after the “incident”, the actions and thoughts of 45 and his merry men do not portray any of these people in a good light. But, then again, what could?

As a short read, this packed a hefty political punch, perfectly timed to coincide with current events.

Totally recommended to anyone with a strong stomach – not one POTUS but two (the landlord) and then the real thing in London too. You have been duly warned. Enjoy!

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As always,