The Mist

Ragnar Jonasson

Published by Michael Joseph – Available Now

The Blurb

Just before Christmas a blizzard sweeps across Iceland. In their remote farmhouse, Erla and Einar are hunkering down for the night – when there’s a knock at the door.

It’s a stranger, desperate for shelter. They take him in – but they’ll wish they hadn’t because this man is not who he says he is. And, when the power cuts out, it’s the beginning of a terrifying ordeal.

Detective Hulda Hermannsdottir – recovering from a family tragedy – is called to an isolated farmhouse and a haunting mystery . . .

My Thoughts

As suspense thrillers go this is pretty darn good. When a stranger knocks on the door of an isolated farmhouse in the desolated countryside of eastern Iceland you just know nothing good is going to come from it. It is the night before Christmas Eve when the stranger comes knocking as husband and wife Einar and Erla are preparing for the festive season. But with the arrival of the strange man comes some strange happenings, first the phone line is cut quickly followed by a power cut leading to a tense and charged atmosphere. Erla’s suspicions are raised from the off and you do get a sense all isn’t quite as it seems with her too. The house holds some kind of secret, it is seems somewhat unsettled and unhappy, Erla herself is not wholly happy with her surroundings but as it is her husband’s birthright she seems resigned to a lonely existence.

The other strand to the story focuses on police investigator Hulda who has recently suffered a family tragedy, you don’t know what this is until the story fully develops but she has thrown herself into work to try and bury the pain of her home life. She is sent to investigate a gruesome discovery out in eastern Iceland, needless to say not everyone has survived the festive period in the desolate farmhouse but there are plenty of shocks along the way.

I really enjoyed the plot of this story, it is tense and gripping and set against the backdrop of the snow filled Icelandic countryside the feeling of desolation is palpable. The feeling of desolation and the knowing that no one is close at hand to help builds the tension superbly, you know there is so much more to this story than meets the eye but you just don’t quite grasp what that is until everything starts to unfold.

If you like tense thrillers then this book, and the others in the series, will be right up your street. Be prepared to get hooked on the story, it is a terrific page turner that is chilling and dark right until the very end.

The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas

Published by Head of Zeus on 12th November.

The Blurb from the Publisher

The Kendrick family have run their world famous doll-making business in near isolation since the early 1800s. Only family members are permitted to work for the firm, and only the men know the closely guarded secrets of the workshop. Because Kendrick’s’ dolls aren’t coveted for their craftmanship alone. Each doll has a specific emotion laid on it by its maker. A magic that can make you feel Bucolic Bliss, Heady Optimism or even Consuming Paranoia at a single touch.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, but instead must fulfill a woman’s role working on the shop floor. When a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the family, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…..

My Thoughts

Firstly, thank you to the publisher for gifting me a free copy of this book in exchange for me honest review. Secondly, this book is beautiful. It is a story to lose yourself in, it is capable of transporting you away from the doom and gloom of 2020 to an almost mythical and, most definitely a magical, world of doll-making, although at times I did feel slightly on edge at the thought of all these wide eyed dolls who sit on the sidelines and watch the story unfold, but that just added to the feel of the book.

I was captured by this book from the very start, the synopsis alone is enough to pull you into the world of the Kendrick family and whilst the characters are varied in their traits there was always a sense that underneath they had much more to their story than what was perhaps being told to us, but that was fine for me, it added to the ambiance of the story and created an even more dark and mythical feel. That said Persephone is a wonderfully determined woman who is committed to smashing the patriarchal hold over her life and there are plenty of strong minded women to back her up. I really enjoyed the strong feminine vibe throughout the story and how that raging battle between the sexes was fought.

The book has a very gothic, almost Victorian feel to it so I had to remind myself that this is in fact set in the modern day, but I felt that was testament to the wonderful atmospheric writing that the author has used here in this book, and the use of magic in a modern day setting was a superb twist to what a normal magical tale perhaps would be like.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The story is superb and the characters complex. The writing is as magical as the story itself.