Category: New Fiction

The latest in Danish Crime Fiction: Mercy, Jussi Adler-Olsen

I just had to read this new Danish crime novel after reading a reviews online (which you can read here) and I wasn’t disappointed. The novel is told in alternating chapters, firstly the present and then events that happened five years previously. It took me a few chapters to get the hang of the two stories and see where they were leading, but once I got into the book I couldn’t put it down. Here’s a synopsis from Penguin Australia’s website who is the publisher.

At first the prisoner scratches at the walls until her fingers bleed. But there is no escaping the room. With no way of measuring time, her days, weeks, months go unrecorded. She vows not to go mad. She will not give her captors the satisfaction. She will die first.
Copenhagen detective Carl Morck’s been taken off homicide to run a newly created department for unsolved crimes. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she’s dead. Everyone says it’s a waste of time. He thinks they’re right.
The voice in the dark is distorted, harsh and without mercy. It says the prisoner’s torture will only end when she answers one simple question. It is one she has asked herself a million times:


Adler-Olsen builds the suspense really well and the characters are interesting and a little irreverent – not at all like the attractive, glossy detectives that feature in a lot of the American crime fiction. Carl would much rather have a nap, or play games on his computer than tackle the files on his desk. I particularly liked Carl’s sidekick, Middle Eastern immigrant Assad, who is engaged as clerk, cleaner and general dogsbody to the new Department Q but has some hidden talents – his keen observation of the smallest details and where did he learn to use a switchblade so effectively? I have to say that I don’t envy the victims in Scandinavian crime novels as they seem to have the most extreme situations, and this is no exception in Mercy but I won’t spoil the story by giving away the answer to the question posed above.

New In Store This Week

Summer holidays are over for most, the children are back at school, and the weather is more settled, we hope!  Time for something new to read.  Titles which arrived at the beginning of February include:

For the Men:

The Legion by Simon Scarrow
I know that some of my male customers are followers of this author.  His new book, The Legion, the 10th book in his Roman series.

“Trouble is brewing in Egypt. Rebel gladiator Ajax and his men have been posing as Roman soldiers and attacking naval bases, merchant vessels and villages. Prefect Cato and Centurion Macro have been charged with the task of tracking down the renegade warrior before the problem gets out of control. Joining forces with Legion III, they hope to destroy their enemy on the battlefield. But the cunning gladiator has other ideas…”                  (From Hachette website)  

For the Ladies:

Shelly Beach Writers’ Group, June Loves

What do you do when your husband dumps you for his PA, your company goes broke and your nearly published novel is cancelled?

Gina, a barely 50-something corporate high-flier, is counting her losses when a chance meeting throws a sea change her way. A job as a house/dog-sitter – albeit in a minus one-star leaky cottage in windswept Shelly Beach – seems the perfect opportunity to relax and regroup. But Gina hasn’t counted on the locals, and soon finds herself reluctantly convening the writers’ group, babysitting, baking, seal-watching, bicycling . . . and perhaps even falling in love.   (Penguin website)

I thought this was a lovely, feel good novel.  It reminded me of a contemporary The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society story as it is told in the form of a diary and relates the everyday happenings in a small community.  An added bonus is that it is set on the Mornington Peninsula so many of us will be able to relate to the seachange feel as Gina establishes a new life away from the big city. 

For the Crime Buff:

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

The latest in the Inspector Armand Gamache series by Canadian crime writer, Louise Penny. 

“As Quebec City shivers in the grip of winter, its ancient stone walls cracking in the cold, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache plunges into the strangest case of his celebrated career.  A man has been brutally murdered in one of the city’s oldest buildings – a library where the English citizens of Quebec safeguard their history.  And the death opens a door into the past, exposing a mystery that has lain dormant for centuries …. a mystery Gamache must solve if he’s to catch a present-day killer.”

You might have caught a review of the book in The Age a few weekends ago, but if you didn’t, the goodreads website which I find is a good source of reviews by readers can be found here.

Kim Edward’s New Book – The Lake of Dreams

For those that loved Kim Edward’s The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Kim has a new novel out this month, The Lake of Dreams.  Here’s the publisher’s synopsis:

At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home to upstate New York from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father’s unresolved death a decade ago.  Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected.  Late one night, as she paces the hallways of her family’s rambling lakeside house, she discovers, locked in a window seat, a collection of objects that first appear to be idle curiosities, but soon reveal a hidden family history.  As Lucy explores these traces of her lineage-from an heirloom blanket and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained-glass windows, both in her hometown and beyond-a new family narrative emerges.  It will link her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yield dramatic insights that will free her to live her life to its fullest and deepest.