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Review of The Missing Ones

This contains everything I want in a police thriller! I’m so happy it’s a series! 5 stars!

The Missing Ones is a gripping and engaging thriller and Gibney weaves together an intricate web of characters and subplots to divulge in. Detective Lottie Parker, the MC, is struggling with a loss and raising her teenage kids, as well as some dark secrets from the past which surfaces, an all her flaws and her struggles really make her a loveable character. The banter with her colleague Boyd is also very entertaining to follow.

This thrilling novel never loses its grip on the reader. Gibney cleverly uses different lengths of the chapters and switches from present to past time to create a swift pace and keep the reader involved. I’ve already bought the next book in the series and cannot wait to start reading it!

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Free Extract of New Noir!

Exclusive extract from the new noir The Case of the Missing Wife.

Copyright © 2018 Victoria Wallin

Available to pre-order from links below for just $0.99.

New York City, 1942. Martin Harrington is a derelict P.I. whose wife recently left him. He spends his days at the office drinking booze that he hides in a drawer in his desk and fondly argues with his secretary Lucy, on the days that he actually shows up.

Lucy and Martin were in the middle of bickering over some trivial nonsense when a new potential client showed up at the door, a middle-aged man with his hat in hand. He looked around, a bit confused, at the empty reception desk and heard voices in the room behind it and decided to follow the sound. He hesitantly entered the open door to the room behind the reception desk.

”Ehr, hello. I need your help. It’s about my wife,” the man said and nervously turned his hat in his hands in front of him. ”She’s missing,” he said and looked helplessly at Martin. Martin looked at the man with contempt behind his desk.

”Good for you,” Martin quipped.

”Excuse me?” the man said, confused, and glanced at Lucy who stood next to the desk.

”He didn’t mean that,” Lucy said quickly.

”It’s probably for the best,” Martin continued, and received a look of warning from Lucy.

”He has a weird sense of humor, please ignore him,” Lucy said between her teeth.

”Trust me, I’ve been there,” Martin went on.

”He thinks he’s being funny,” Lucy tried to explain.

”Eh, perhaps I should come back later?” the man suggested in total confusion.

”No,” Martin said.

”Yes,” Lucy said simultaneously. Lucy was boiling with anger and glared at Martin who lit a cigarette. The man looked at them both, not knowing what to do. ”Come with me, I can take your information at my desk over here,” Lucy suggested in an attempt of taking control of the situation and gestured towards the reception desk outside Martin’s office, which was starting to fill up with smoke from his cigarette.

”Oh, OK,” the man said with a sense of relief and followed her out of the office. Lucy closed the door behind them with force so that the tinted glass in the top part of the door rattled after giving Martin a murderous look. Martin replied with a crooked smile and put his feet up on his desk.

Lucy took a seat at her desk, brought out her notepad and a pen and gave the man what she hoped was a trusting and confiding smile.

”Tell me everything,” she said invitingly.

Martin studied the somewhat shiny shoes on his feet on his crossed ankles on the desk. They could use a shine again he noted. He might be a bit of a lush but he always tended to detail. The details were always important. That’s what he made a living out of. Regular people often missed the detail, that’s why they came to him for help.

He wasn’t worried about Lucy, he was sure she got the information he needed from the man, she always did. She was good with people. He was not. Right now he was grateful that she probably put together a new case for him out there. If he decided to take it. He wasn’t in the mood to be understanding and ask questions about a dame that had taken off. He didn’t feel like trying to find her either. If a broad had left you the best thing was to let her go, he had meant what he’d said. He took a deep inhale from his cigarette.

His own wife had left him two months ago. It hadn’t been the first time she’d got sick of his drinking and late hours at the office, or his modest income – though she’d never said anything about that out loud – and left him. This time she’d told him she was leaving for good, and he believed her. He wished he’d had more to offer her. But he wondered if anything was ever enough.

Martin had been lucky enough to inherit the office, which had previously been a hardware store, with the tiny apartment upstairs, from his father. He had had no aspirations of becoming a salesman, he had lived long and well off the money he’d got from selling his parents’ old house after his mother had passed away a few months after his father.

The P.I. job had been purely coincidental. An old classmate had contacted him and asked him for advice. Claire Bowman had wanted to find out if her husband Ben was having an affair, the two of them had been together since high school, the same school that Martin had gone to so he knew them both.    Martin had offered to take her husband out to dinner and see what he could find out and Claire had insisted on paying for it, desperate for information. Ben Bowman had not been as frank as Martin had hoped for, so he had decided to follow him around for a few days and thus he had found out that Ben was having an affair with the neighbor’s wife. Claire had been so grateful that she’d wanted to pay him more for his efforts, which he had turned down. A few days later her friend had contacted him with the same problem. That’s how it all got started.

The door with the black letters Harrington’ s Private Investigations written on the glass rattled again as Lucy opened it and walked towards him with determined steps. A vague smile lured at the corner of his mouth as he watched her approach him. Her strawberry blonde hair lay softly curled down to the shoulders of her burgundy knee-length dress which revealed a flattering hourglass figure. She handed him a note.

”Here’s your new case. You’re very welcome,” she spat out with a proud twitch of the neck. He took the note without looking at it.

”I guarantee you she left with his best friend,” Martin said, bored, and inhaled deeply on his cigarette. Lucy placed both hands on her hips.

”Sandra Covington, thirty-two years old, disappeared without a trace yesterday after she’d gone shopping, without bringing any of her clothes or other personal belongings,” Lucy told him.

“Maybe she bought everything new,” Martin suggested slowly and hit the cigarette on the rim of the ashtray so the ash fell off into it on his desk.

“Her husband Sam, who was here, is a bit of a gambler, and he thinks she’s been kidnapped by a gangster he owes money,” Lucy continued. Martin looked at her freckled face, perfect black eyeliner and red lips.

“Gangster?” he said amused.

“His word, not mine,” she said quickly and tilted her head at him. “Take the case, Martin, or you’ll end up as a shoe shiner,” she added and nodded towards his shoes on the desk.

“Let me take you out to dinner tonight,” Martin threw out in spontaneity, took his feet down from the desk and sat up properly on his chair.

”Nope, I have a date tonight,” Lucy said, pleased as punch.

”Cancel it. Come on, it’ll be fun,” Martin pleaded with her.

”Go on, get to work,” Lucy said and ignored the rest, turned her heal and walked out of his office. Martin watched her walk out and gave her legs an appreciative glance. She closed the door with a rattling noise. Lucy had worked for him for two years now, he didn’t know how she put up with him, but he knew that he would never make it without her. She was an accomplished secretary with a good head on her shoulders, and she was great with people, which he wasn’t. Martin had tried every type of work you could think of and he had either got fired or quit it himself, usually because of his lack of respect for people, mainly authorities. He had even applied to the Police Academy, but dropped out of that too after about a year. He just couldn’t cope with having to take orders from other people. People were idiots.

He sighed and looked at the note. Lucy was right, of course, he needed this assignment – the money, as well as having something to do. He read the names on the note, the husband’s and the wife’s. There was also an address and a phone number to the married couple, and a short description of the wife. And then a small note on the gangster,”Mickey the mauler”. He’d never heard of him.

Martin lit another cigarette with a matchbook he’d got in a bar and did some thinking. Why didn’t Sam Covington go to the cops if he’d thought his wife had been kidnapped? Something didn’t add up. And that sparked an interest with Martin. He slowly blew out smoke rings in the air and watched them dissolve. He was also curious about this gangster, Mickey the mauler. He would first of all have to find out if it was in fact a real person, or if the client tried to take him for a ride. If he’d learned anything in this business it was that everybody lied, all the time, about everything.

Pre-order it now and have it wirelessly delivered to you on June 3rd from:

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Review of Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier

A wonderful, heartwarming beginning of a cute and sweet novella series! 4 stars!

If a book makes you smile and laugh, and brings tears to your eyes, it manages to touch your heart – and Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier certainly did that to me. You really get the excitement of Jo embarking on a new adventure, leaving her home up country to drive down to her grandparents, and start a new life working at their café. The warm relationship between Jo’s grandparents is so sweet and described in all its cuteness, which I have to say got me a bit teary eyed. If I had got more background about Jo and maybe a new love interest the novella would have got a five star rating, I felt is was a bit lacking of information about Jo. I guess it will all be revealed in the next installments of the series.

This novella is the first of the serial and is free to download on Amazon. I like that, it makes you as a reader able to try it on, see if it fits you, and if you want to read the rest of the series. I know I will!

Review of Marked By the Wolf: Part 1

A fast-paced, action packed novella, with some flaws, that I really enjoyed! 3 stars!

This is the first part of a novella trilogy, and it is free on Amazon, a clever marketing trick to draw readers in to the story. I particularly like the novella format, I usually stay away from looong novels with pages and pages of dreary, detailed descriptions of things. I also am quite fond of the new trend of novella serials, it’s like reading a TV episode of a story. Offering the first part for free is a great thing for the reader to sort of “try it out” for fit. If you like the story and want to read more, you will have no problem buying the rest of the parts in the series.

Marked By the Wolf: Part 1 succeeds in filling my expectations story-wise. The pace is quick and exciting, the story is full of action and it feels just too short, as any good story should feel. However, there are some flaws that need mentioning. There are several misspellings and other grammatical errors, as well as the MC’s name being different in one line than in the rest of the story – honest mistakes by the author that can be easily fixed but which drags the overall rating down from 4 stars to 3. The notion of the MC being completely fearless leaving with a complete stranger that she senses is creepy, is not very realistic but rather foolish and makes it a bit hard to like or understand the MC. Having said that, I still buy it, because I compare it with victims in horror movies who go down into the basement even though we all know they’re going to get killed. You may not go down in the basement yourself, but hey, it’s just a story, right? This is a fantasy story after all, werewolves do not exist in real life either, so let’s just go with it and see what happens, was my thought on the matter. It drives the story forward.

I can really recommend this novella if you’re into werewolves, romance and action-packed stories. I will definately read the rest of the series myself.

How Did We Become Serialized?

A recent trend in the book world is publishing a series of short stories in a novella series rather than a full-length novel. This is an interesting concept that I want to explore a bit.

Book series are not a new concept, on the contrary, it leads back to C.S. Lewis’ books about Narnia and R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series just to mention a couple of the more famous ones. There are also plenty of book series in the children’s section, I remember reading the standalone mysteries of Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton’s wonderful group of adventurous friends in The Famous Five series growing up. But these were all novel-length books.

Today’s trend is to have a series of short stories with the same characters in either standalone stories or the same story progressing as in a novel but divided into several books. These novella series are usually e-Books and each story is about 30 to 50 pages long. The first book of the series is often free and the following books are at a low price of £0.99 or £1.99., so in a three book series that will amount to the same price as a full length novel which is usually sold for about £1.99 to £2.99.

There is no doubt that the having the first part of the series for free is a very clever marketing trick. But it is also good for the reader, it gives you a chance to see if you like the author and the series and if you want to read more or not. Readers seem to like this new trend, or it wouldn’t be trending, and I see it in various genres. I like it myself; a series of novellas is like watching a TV series on Netflix. Is that why we like it, that each novella is like a TV episode? Have our brains adjusted to the TV show format? Personally I actually prefer TV shows to movies these days, mostly because the quality of the movies have declined so much and increased so very much in the TV series, stealing the best writers and actors in the business from Hollywood.

Regardless of why some of us love reading novella series nowadays, I think it is great for the novella format as a whole. A lot of readers are staying away from reading novellas, maybe thinking they are too short to get attached to the characters or they may have a misconception of the content having not enough of a story. Maybe this new trend will bring new readers to the novella format and make them read more novellas as well as novella series? What do you think about this new trend? Hit or dis? Feel free to comment!

Free copy of PREY!

Today you are welcome to download my thriller PREY for free on Amazon! I hope you like it! Please read & review! Use links below or go to your local Amazon.

Thrilling Manhunt in the woods of Missouri!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

New Holiday Novel Alert!

The Runaway Holiday big

The Runaway Holiday is loosely based on my own experiences. I ran away to Cambridge in the UK for three months to get away from an ex once to learn English (I’m from Sweden), and lived in a dorm as a thirty-year-old. That experience in combination with my trips to Italy, a country that I simply just love love love, gave me the inspiration to write this story. I hope you’ll like it as much as I did writing it. Out April 20th!

Read more and/or pre-order here:

Amazon US: The Runaway Holiday

Amazon UK: The Runaway Holiday

Review of The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

★★★★★ Note: This is more of a suspenseful drama than a classic thriller.

Even though I read this novel many years ago, this irish tale of Paula Spencer and her trying to survive domestic abuse has never left my mind.

Roddy Doyle’s description of this small irish village and its working class people struggling to stay together and society’s judgements is cleverly put together with a gritty, raw language that is beautiful in its ugly truths. It is kitchen sink realism in one of its better forms.

The shock of being hit the first time, the hope that it will never happen again, the love for the man, the lying, saying she was so clumsy she constantly walked into doors, all of these things are described to us by Paula, and it is impossible to judge her. It could be me, is what one thinks. What would I do? If anything, this book shows us that we probably can’t answer that question until it actually happens to us. And God forbid that it ever would.

This is one of those books that stays with you forever.

Review of Missing You

★★

I’ve heard so many good things about Harlan Coben and when I read the book blurb about Missing You I thought it sounded so good, and thought it was the perfect first book to read by this author.

It turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, though. I could never really connect with Kat, the main character, she felt a bit flat and undeveloped. All she was, was a cop. No other interests other than work. The other characters were kind of stereotypical too, the father figure boss, the super model best friend, etc.

The plot was not the page-turner I had hoped for either, in spite of the great idea of a serial killer preying on innocent men and women who are desperately looking for love on an online dating site. That is someting anyyone can relate to and connect to, and it is surely our biggest fear when signing up on a dating site. However, I found the pace to be too slow and the plot resolution to be ridiculously far fetched and unbelievable. So much so that I felt irritated and annoyed when I had finished reading it.

I didn’t particularly like the writing either, but it is always hard to tell when you read a translated book, if you should blame the author or the translator. Being a translator myself (not of books) I know that a translated work will end up as a new text, even though you try to keep it as close to the original as possible, it still becomes a new book in a way.

The only thing I liked were the bad guys and their setting in the bush with their victims and their struggles to escape. That part was very exciting and well written. And a part of me liked the sentimental yearning of Kat’s long lost love through-out the novel.

To sum things up, Missing You is missing the surprises and fast-paced story line that it promises in the beginning. It is in my opinion too predictable and unbelievable, but if you want some gruesome killers who tortures their victims in the dark woods, go a head and read it.

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