Hello and welcome to my stop of the Smoke Screen Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I LOVED the first book of this series last year, so of course I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour for the sequel. And as I already expected, I ended up having a fantastic time with book two as well. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…
Title: Smoke Screen
(Alexander Blix & Emma Ramm #2)
Author: Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger
Translator: Megan Turney
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 19th 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: January 30th 2021
(Originally written in Norwegian: ‘Røykteppe’)
“Just as the winter darkness began to set in, the darkness within welled to the surface.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I’ve become a big Nordic Noir fan over the years, and last year I added the author duo Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger to my must-read list after a fantastic first experience with their writing. It is no exaggeration when I say that I was once again hooked from the very first page until those hilarious final acknowledgements, and I literally finished Smoke Screen in one sitting. Exhilarating, thrilling and lightning-fast; just how I like my crime thrillers and Nordic Noir reads! This is definitely one of those books and series that won’t let you go until you reach that final page… A true rollercoaster ride and highly addictive.
I knew that I was hooked as soon as I read the first chapter of Smoke Screen. Talk about an explosive start! There were a lot of elements to love in this second Alexander Blix & Emma Ramm installment, and it’s basically another perfect Nordic Noir cocktail with both a bombing investigation and a cold case kidnapping. I can highly recommend both books to anyone who enjoys the genre! I would recommend reading these in order, as minor references to the first book are made… And both books are excellent in the first place. The descriptions of the setting really make that Nordic Noir feel come alive, and they definitely give the story a little something extra. The writing itself in general is once again brilliant; extremely engaging and it will manage to draw you in straight away. And of course a big round of applause for translator Megan Turney for giving us the opportunity to meet up with Alexander Blix and Emma Ramm in the first place!
The plot is once again more than solid and offers us a variety of different themes and storylines along the way. We have the initial bombing and the investigation, we have the cold case kidnapping, we have (especially) Emma’s personal life in the spotlight, we have flashbacks to the past, we have multiple POVs… A lot of different elements and storylines to create a multi-layered story that will keep you on your toes as well as entertained along the way. It was intriguing to slowly discover more about the past and how the different characters and events are linked in the end… The plot twists are also brilliantly done, and I most definitely didn’t see those final twists coming. And what a way to not only begin the story with a bang, but end it on the same high note as well! The suspense and tension was always present, making it very hard to stop reading as you cannot help wanting to know how it all ends.
As for the characters… Both Alexander Blix and Emma Ramm already managed to win me over in the first book, and I still really like the dynamics between the two characters. The combination of a police officer who has his own ideas about how a crime should be investigated and a crime journalist who never shies away from danger once she starts investigating a story really strikes gold, and the two having an interesting past only adds to their relationship. It is an unorthodox team, but one I cannot get enough of! Smoke Screen has quite some development in Emma’s personal life, but as the events are connected to the plot itself the two complemented each other flawlessly. It was likewise great to see Blix and Kovic again.
In short, Smoke Screen is a fantastic Nordic Noir sequel and part of a series that is quickly turning into a new favorite. I can highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre… This is an author duo to look out for! And yes, I totally wish I could understand Norwegian just so I could read the third book which hasn’t been translated yet… But that is just me being greedy. 😉
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller. They are currently working on the third book in the Blix & Ramm series.