A wintry welcome to the first post on Kim’s Kaffeeklatsch. Hope you have your books and your libation of choice. Mine is coffee and lots of it. Coffee is so important that I rate the books I read by the amount of coffee consumed in one sitting. Which is what those coffee mugs under each book on this post means. The higher the number of coffee mugs, the more riveting the read.
So pull up a chair and let’s talk books and what we are reading this week…
My coffee brand of choice this month is: Hummingbird Crave Fresh Beans
Winter has arrived with force in my corner at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand. I read in all seasons and all moods but when it comes to winter reading, I tend to match my books to the weather outside my window. This winter I decided to make my imaginary way to the stories of suspense, crime and horror in the Scandinavian winters.
As I write up this blog post, the wind is howling outside and the trees are swaying like some crazed person desperately waving for rescue. With North-Easterly winds gusting up to 170km/hr, the night is dark and menacing. In other words, stories with a tinge of horror, suspense and fear set in the deep dark Northern winters of the Scandinavian countries are the perfect match this Winter.
This week I have been reading The Hypnotist ( Lars Kepler) and tonight I just finished The Darkest Room (Johan Theorin).
The Hypnotist (Lars Kepler)
Goodreads & Amazon
Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell
In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.
It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.
An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.
I am a sucker for an arresting cover and The Hypnotist wows me as possibly the creepiest cover I have seen.
Does the book live up to its cover? Yes.
The story is dark, twisted and disturbing. Throughout the story there is a sinister menace that lurks between the lines. The characters are deep and conflicted. Each of the main characters has a secret and it is these secrets that threaten to undo them and those around them.
This book is book 1 in the series and I cannot wait what Lars Kepler has done in book 2. I finished this story in one sitting, reading right through the night into the early hours of the morning.
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is gruesome and confronting but the story is solid and has more than one twist in the tale. The characters are compelling and finding out their hidden secrets makes this a page-turner.
The Darkest Room (Johan Theorin)
Goodreads & Amazon
‘The dead are our neighbours everywhere on the island, and you have to get used to it.’
It is bitter mid-winter on the Swedish island of Oland, and Katrine and Joakim Westin have moved with their children to the boarded-up manor house at Eel Point. But their remote idyll is soon shattered when Katrine is found drowned off the rocks nearby. As Joakim struggles to keep his sanity in the wake of the tragedy, the old house begins to exert a strange hold over him.
Joakim has never been in the least superstitious, but from where are those whispering noises coming? To whom does his daughter call out in the night? And why is the barn door for ever ajar?
As the end of the year approaches, and the infamous winter storm moves in across Oland, Joakim begins to fear that the most spine-chilling story he’s heard about Eel Point might indeed be true: that every Christmas the dead return…
There is nothing that I love more than a good ghost story. I could easily have finished this story in one sitting but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and mood of this book so much that I read it in mouthfuls, savouring each delicious spooky mouthful.
The main characters in this story are an island and an old lighthouse-keepers house. The people in this story play out their parts but both in the past and the present, the island of Oland and the house direct and influence their paths.
I love stories that build in twists from the past and this story is really many stories within one binding. As you follow one family through this story, your heart is pulled with their joys and their tragedies in equal measure.
I was truly mesmerised by this story and know that it will remain in my memory for years to come. This is the second in a quartet of stories all set on the remote Swedish Island of Oland. I cannot wait to return to the literary landscape of this bleak and fascinating island.
Espresso Con Panna / Vienna Coffee
On my Kindle this week
The Man Who Left (Theresa Weir)
79 Park Avenue (Harold Robbins)
Strange True Stories of Louisiana (George Washington Cable)
World’s Worst Serial Killers / Sexual Psychopaths:British Serial Killers
(David Elio Malocco)
These are the books in my Scandinavian themed winter pile for this month. I cannot wait to tuck into them. Nor can I wait to tuck into the mugs of coffee as I indulge in these wintry tales.
All of these Scandinavian stories I have picked are part of a series. I love reading series especially when the characters and/or the settings are so compelling. If you want to indulge in some wintry tales from up north, then click on the link below for all the skinny on delicious Scandinavian crime fiction.
The Skinny on all Scandinavian Crime Fiction
Now it’s your turn to klatsch…
Tell me what books are you reading this week/month?
Tell me what coffee are you drinking? If not coffee (clearly there is something missing from your life if you are not drinking coffee 😉 ) then what are you drinking while reading?
How do you prefer your coffee – instant/percolated/beans/ground?
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?…Was ever anything so civil?”
― Anthony Trollope