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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey & Emma Vestrheim

A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey & Emma Vestrheim
Self Published
Releases 4/15/2017

Nordic Noir / Brit Crime blend thriller coming from the duo of Sarah and Emma.  Book one in The Odense Series - you don't want to miss out on this unique read!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A Presence of Absence is the first book in The Odense Series. Although this is a solid crime novel, it also begins and ends with grief for many of the characters, personal demons and life decisions.

A gritty murder case gets in the way of the characters' everyday lives and sends the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish city of Odense, into a panic.British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to his rock bottom in his home life, and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has ever seen. The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants. When Simon realises that his wife's suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the cas, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke's past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?Back home in London Simon's family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.

Jessica's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

I  give this debut Nordic noir by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim 4/5 stars.

This novel is set in the beautiful landscapes of Denmark and England. With a very unique way of telling the story by switching back and forth to each location. We follow Simon and his family in grief over the death of his wife. He decides to leave England for Odense, Denmark to try and reconnect with somewhere in his wife's history. While there, the daughter of the wealthiest family in Odense is murdered, and he is

drawn back into his old Detective life. With the help of Jonas, a local cop, they begin to try solving the case of the worst serial killer that Odense has ever seen. 

This book had my attention from the very start. An incredible epilogue to set the tone of the novel. The character development is what blew me away and really helped me connect with them and understand what made them tick. The family ties, the struggles, triumphs, everything is so well thought out. This book is definitely one that will keep you thinking! It's definitely not your average crime novel, it's a slow burn that builds until the very end. 

If you're a fan of Nordic noir, then this is the perfect one for you - and good news, it's book one of an upcoming series! A great debut novel by a duo of talented authors.

Follow Jessica on Goodreads or Instagram

Sam's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

A Presence of Absence, a collaborative effort by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim, is the first in a new series blending Scandinavian crime fiction and classic British police procedurals. 

When the daughter of one of the wealthiest man in Odense, Denmark turns up dead, British detective, Simon, is on the case. New to Odense and grieving the loss of his wife, Simon must connect with washed-up local cop Jonas, to hunt one of the worst serial killers Odense has ever seen. Dark, brooding and intricate, this novel will have you thinking long after the last page has been read. 

The novel’s setting is completely original moving back and forth between the vast Nordic scenery of Denmark and in England, readers are able to connect not only with Simon and Jonas, fighting their own personal demons that are complicating their current case, but also with Simon’s family as they work through their own grief. 

In fact, the character development in this novel was my favourite part. Fully developed and thought out, each character brought something completely new to the plot. Past sins, individual sacrifices and personal demons collided until each character has reached their breaking point. This is not your everyday crime novel, family bonds are strong throughout and played a huge role throughout the narrative. 

That epilogue? It had me reeling. I will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series. 

I am predicting big things for this series; attention Nordic noir fans, a new series has arrived!

Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!

My Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

A solid blend of Nordic Noir and Brit Crime - we get involved in a murder case set in Odense. Simon is a British detective still reeling from the suicide of his wife, Vibeke. Heading to Odense, her hometown, he pairs up with a local detective, Jonas, to help catch a serial killer. The past comes back to haunt him and while families fall apart around them, the case comes to a breaking point that threatens to tear them all apart. 

As the first book in The Odense Series, character development is key and the authors do a great job of building up each of the characters. There were a couple moments that had me scratching my head, but it all made sense once you got towards the ending. For me, there were times where it felt a little bit choppy but I think the introduction of so many characters and their complex lives were a lot to keep track of. However, when it all came together, the build up was worth it. If you're looking for a hit you in the face, fast paced, typical crime novel, this would probably not be your cup of tea. If you are looking for the slow burn, build up that feels right when the last pages come together, it is most definitely worth the read. The epilogue! Absolutely threw me for a loop! With the characters built and the setting set, I can only see the series getting better and better with more action and endings that leave you wanting. Bring on the next book! I need it!

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