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…

Artemis by Andy Weir #BookReview #BlogTour

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Life in the lunar city of Artemis is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz is offered a score too lucrative to turn down – if she can plan the perfect crime – and survive it...
And in a city on the moon, there’s only one rule for criminals: don’t get caught.

I loved The Martian when I read it back in 2014 and have been meaning to read Artemis for ages so I was delighted when Anne Cater from Random Things Tours asked if I'd like to take part in this blog tour for the book. Many thanks to Anne, Andy Weir and Del Rey for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.
As with The Martian, Artemis is set in the near future; humans have colonised the moon but still reference 20th century pop culture, including Star Trek and Star Wars (of course) but also Scooby Doo and Oscar Wilde. The city of Artemis has a population of 2,000 residents and a lucrative tourist trade, and as with most economies there are those at the top - the billionaire entrepreneurs and wealthy visitors - and those who have to do what they can to get by. Jazz Bashara is in the latter category but she has big plans. Artemis is a multinational city with the various industries controlled along national lines according to which immigrants first established them. Jazz is from Saudi Arabia and so her father works as a welder. She should have followed in his footsteps but her rebellious teenage years have seen her follow a different path. She works as a porter and delivers packages to the five different spheres - known as "bubbles" which form the city. However, it's not just the legitimate parcels she transports - she also smuggles contraband to those who are willing to pay for it. When one such customer offers her a lucrative deal that's too good to refuse however, she moves away from petty crime and becomes entangled in a dangerous web of corporate sabotage and organised crime.
Jazz is every bit as smart, resourceful, self-deprecating and reckless as Mark Watney but where he mostly had to work alone, Jazz has people around her. Her relationships with them are often somewhat complicated and her progression through the novel from her state of enforced loneliness, anger and guilt to somebody who is able to make her peace with her past and realise she can rely on others is as engrossing as the risky mission she must undertake for the sake of her hometown. One of her friends, Kelvin is actually her penfriend and lives on Earth. Their communication takes the epistolary form and allows Jazz's back story to be woven seamlessly into the novel. Her relationship with her father is more troubled but ultimately proves to be touching as she realises how strong is the love of a parent for their child. I also loved Svoboda; he's sweet, fiercely intelligent, socially awkward and exactly who you want on your side in what becomes effectively a lunar heist. As with all the best heists, she puts together her team in a bar and naturally things don't exactly go to plan...
I loved Artemis and read it in less than a day. The science part of the science fiction is detailed and plausible but not so complicated to mean that the novel is difficult to follow. The vivid descriptions meant I could visualise Artemis perfectly; in any book with an imagined setting, it's crucial that the reader is able to believe that this world is possible and Andy Weir nails it -  Artemis seems the natural next step in human advancement. Fast-paced, exciting, intelligent and very witty, Artemis is a brilliant novel which will appeal to confirmed sci-fi lovers but the engaging interplay between the characters should also tempt those who perhaps shy away from the genre ordinarily. I highly recommend it.

Artemis is published in the UK by Del Rey and can be purchased here. Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
ANDY WEIR built a career as a software engineer until the success of The Martian allowed him to write full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and devoted hobbyist of subjects such as orbital mechanics and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has SOLD 5 MILLION COPIES in the English language. It went on to become a major motion picture from 20th Century Fox, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. Film rights to Artemis have already been sold to 20th Century Fox.
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