Stalker by Lars Kepler (tr. Neil Smith) #BookReview #BlogTour

The internationally bestselling authors of The Sandman and The Hypnotist return with a terrifying new thriller: Detective Joona Linna--recently returned from compassionate leave--reunites with hypnotist Erik Maria Bark in a search for a seemingly unassailable sadistic killer. 
The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she's being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman's body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there's nothing they can do. Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna's worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things. 
Years bef…

A Cold Cold Heart by John Nicholl #BookReview #BlogBlitz

DI Gravel and his daughter Emily are oblivious to the terrible danger she is in when she accepts a job working for the solicitor Charles Turner.  

Meanwhile Gravel is on the hunt for a serial killer. And when Emily becomes the killer’s latest obsession, the murderer will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

But as further bodies are discovered, the killer seeks to befriend DI Gravel and misdirect his investigation.   

How can you catch a killer who is hiding in plain sight? Can DI Gravel and Emily come away from this case with both their lives in tact? 

Sometimes evil wears a suit...

It's my pleasure to be taking part in the blog blitz for A Cold Cold Heart today. Many thanks to the author, publishers and Sarah Hardy for inviting me and for my ecopy of the novel.
A Cold Cold Heart isn't a whodunnit - the reader knows who the culprit is from the very start, instead the thrills in this book come from the anticipation of the inevitable and from the drama that results. Detective Inspector Gareth 'Grav' Gravel is desperate to catch the serial killer on the loose who is targeting young women, particularly when his daughter, Emily moves back to her home town. Widowed Grav is a bit of a shambles, truth be told. He's dangerously overweight and his unhealthy lifestyle - the stress, junk food, smoking and drinking  - means he is at real risk of suffering a heart attack. He might be a bit of a dinosaur in the modern police force but there is something rather endearing about him, particularly when it comes to his nurturing of DS Laura Kesey's career and how he struggles to offer the sort of advice and support his daughter would have once turned to her mum for.
What he doesn't realise is just how much danger Emily is in. It's not giving anything away to say that her new job has put her directly in the sights of a monster. She is thrilled to find  a position with solicitor, Charles Turner but very soon the twisted psychopath has her in his sights.
Charles Turner is about as sinister and depraved as they come. On the surface he is a respectable solicitor but he really gets his sick pleasures from capturing young women who he keeps imprisoned before viciously assaulting and murdering them. Certain chapters are written from his perspective and it's probably worth mentioning that these are especially dark. Turner is sexually aroused by his crimes -  his language and the ordeals he subjects his victims to, reflects this. It's only a matter of time before his identity is revealed but will it be too late for Emily? The tension builds to breaking point as it becomes a race against time to save her.
The two police officers investigating the case - DI Gravel and DS Kesey make a great partnership and are probably the most engaging characters in the book. Emily suffers a little from her victim-hood status as her character development is often about taking her to the point where Turner finally pounces. It's after she is captured that I really felt she came into her own as she battles to survive against all odds. Charles Turner is perhaps the archetypal serial killer; a high achieving narcissist with mummy issues. If I had one small criticism of the book it would be that I didn't feel his relationship with his mother was explored to its full conclusion. Although seemingly the trigger for his depraved attitude towards women, I still felt there were questions that remained unanswered about their history. I realise the author may have intended for the truth to remain somewhat ambiguous and many readers may well prefer it that way, so this really is a small gripe in what is otherwise a really enjoyable police procedural.  A Cold Cold Heart is a dark and chilling thriller that kept me eagerly turning the pages as I raced to discover who would come out on top in this gripping cat and mouse case.

A Cold Cold Heart is published by Bloodhound Books and can be purchased here. Don't forget to check out the other blogs taking part in this blitz, details are below.

About the Author

John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, writes popular dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon international bestseller, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.  A Cold Cold Heart, John’s sixth book, is published by Bloodhound Books in January 2018. John is represented by Toby Mundy - Literary agent at TMA. 


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