TBR Thursday 279…

Episode 279

The TBR has been see-sawing during my little break – up, down, up, down, up – finally coming to rest down 1 to 199. However, it looks like the bookshops might be re-opening next week and I may be forced to go on a pilgrimage…

book buying gif

Here are a few I should be getting to soon…

Historical Fiction

The Slaughterman’s Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits

The Slaughterman's DaughterCourtesy of Quercus via NetGalley. I normally avoid books with titles that make women seem like adjuncts of men – The Gigolo’s Wife, The Undertaker’s Widow, The Comedian’s Mother-In-Law, etc., etc. – but the blurb of this one broke through the barrier of my antipathy…

The Blurb says: An epic historical adventure novel—Fiddler on the Roof meets Tarantino—set in the Pale of Settlement during the final years of the Russian Empire.

The townsfolk of Motal, a small town in the Pale of Settlement where nothing extraordinary ever happens, are shocked when Fanny Keismann—devoted wife, mother of five and celebrated cheese farmer—leaves her home at two hours past midnight and vanishes into the night. True, the husbands of Motal have been vanishing for years, but a wife and mother? Whoever heard of such a thing. What on earth possessed her?

Could it have anything to do with Fanny’s missing brother-in-law, who left her sister almost a year ago and ran away to Minsk, abandoning his family to destitution and despair? Or could Fanny have been lured away by Zizek Breshov, the mysterious ferryman on the Yaselda river, who, in a strange twist of events, seems to have disappeared on the same night? Surely there can be no link between Fanny and the peculiar roadside murder on the way to Telekhany, which has left Colonel Piotr Novak, head of the Russian secret police, scratching his head. Surely that could have nothing to do with Fanny Keismann, whatever her past, whatever her reputation as a wilde chayeh, a wild beast . . .

Surely not.

* * * * *


The Chill Factor by Richard Falkirk

The Chill FactorAnother unsolicited one courtesy of the good people at Collins Crime Club, this appears to be a re-release to mark the 50th anniversary of the original publication. I’ve never heard of the book or the author, but the blurb makes it sound just my kind of thing… fingers crossed! 

The Blurb says: Iceland. In the winter it gets light at 10am and dark at 2pm. The daily announcement of the Chill Factor allows you to calculate how quickly you could die from exposure…

Iceland is erupting – and not just its volcano.

It is 1971, the height of the Cold War, and anti-American feeling among Icelanders is running high. When a teenager is found dead after a drunken night out, her clothes torn and face bruised, anger is directed towards the military personnel at the NATO air base at Keflavik who outnumber the local population.

British agent Bill Conran, invited by the Americans to uncover a Russian spy ring, comes to realise that this is no routine assignment. Unsure who can be trusted, and targeted by an unknown assassin, he discovers that Iceland, for all its cold beauty, has never been hotter.

* * * * *


The Survivors by Jane Harper

The SurvivorsCourtesy of Little, Brown Book Group UK via NetGalley. I’ve enjoyed all of Jane Harper’s books so far, though to varying degrees. Her settings are always one of her main strengths so I’m all packed for a trip to the beach…

The Blurb says: Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home.

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

* * * * *

Shardlake on Audio

Revelation by CJ Sansom read by Steven Crossley

RevelationContinuing my re-read of the Shardlake books via audio, this is the fourth in the series, again narrated by Steven Crossley. These books get longer as the series progresses, and this one clocks in at over 21 hours, so at the glacial speed I get through audiobooks I may be listening to it for several weeks!  

The Blurb says: Spring, 1543. King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, whom he wants for his sixth wife. But this time the object of his affections is resisting. Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court are watching keenly, for Lady Catherine is known to have reformist sympathies. Meanwhile, a teenage boy, a religious maniac, has been placed in the Bedlam hospital for the insane. When an old friend of Matthew Shardlake is murdered, his investigations lead to connections to both, and to the prophecies of the book of Revelation. Shardlake follows a trail of horrific murders that are igniting frenzied talk of witchcraft and demonic possession. For what else would the Tudor mind make of a serial killer…?

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads, Amazon UK or Audible UK.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

56 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 279…

    • I know, but it’s not the longest on my audio TBL – Anna Karenina comes in at 38 hours! This could be why it’s been sitting there since 2012, of course… 😉 The Shardlake novels are great but they do get ridiculously long by the more recent ones. I still find them a relatively quick read though, because his style is so easy. And on the audiobooks the narrator is a pleasure to listen to…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I find it an intriguing idea, but I feel it’s going to be disappointing if the book doesn’t live up to it! I’ve just started it this evening and so far the jury is definitely still out…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed The Survivors although it wasn’t my favourite of Jane Harper’s books. I’ll be interested to see what you think of it. (Yes, get along to those bookshops! 😂)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookshops opened again here last week and I went on a little book-buying spree in Waterstones – it was so nice to be in a bookshop again! The Slaughterman’s Daughter sounds interesting, though I tend to agree that isn’t my favourite title construction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve kinda lost track because Scotland always has to have slightly different rules, but I think it’s next week here! My brother was telling me there was a report in the paper of English bookshops being full of desperate people grabbing books and sniffing them… 😉 I’ve just started The Slaughterman’s Daughter so we’ll see how it goes…


  3. I’ve got The Survivors in my bookcase too. The Chill Factor is appealing just for that line about calculating how long you can be exposed to the elements before dying of exposure!
    Couldn’t the comedian be a female?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder why there are so many books defining women as someone’s daughter/aunt etc? There are loads of them about, and like you, I’m a bit fed up with them, surely writers can think of something more original now. None of these are appealing just now, but it will be great to be able to get into bookshops again as of next week, I feel we have been in lock down in Scotland forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess it’s just another trend, but it seems like a very odd one to me given that we’re surely all past the stage of defining women by their male relatives! Somebody should reverse the trend – The Policewoman’s Son, The Chairwoman’s Boyfriend… 😉 Yes, I’m well and truly ready to get out of lockdown now – it’s been never-ending and frankly the recent figures just don’t justify it any more. I hope you’ve been vaccinated – I’m waiting for my second dose. 😀


    • I love the Shardlake books and these audiobooks are a great way to revisit them – the narrator has become Shardlake to me now! Happily my memory is rubbish, so I never remember the plots… 😀


  5. I enjoyed The Dry so would be keen to hear what you think of The Survivors. I am also concerned about bookshops reopening as I seem to think it is my duty to keep my local independent afloat single-handedly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved The Dry – in fact I think it’s because I loved it so much her other books didn’t quite live up to my too high expectations. The problem of writing a brilliant debut! Haha, I’m always sorry I don’t have a local bookshop here, so it’ll have to be a trip to Waterstone’s in Glasgow for me… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really hope you’ll enjoy the Harper, FictionFan. I agree with you that she’s very, very good at depicting setting and local culture, and she can build the tension. And you really can’t go wrong with Shardlake on audio, so I’m pretty sure that will go well for you. As for the Falkirk, I can see how that would appeal to you so much. I especially hope you’ll like it because it does, indeed, sound like something you’d enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Harper really is great at bringing her settings to life, and I could just do with a trip to the beach! Though going by the cover there may be storms ahead… 😉 These Shardlake audiobooks are the listening equivalent of comfort reading for me – he’s such a good narrator for them. And I do like the sound of The Chill Factor – HarperCollins seem to be reviving quite a few of these mid-twentieth century thriller writers at the moment. Too many books!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I would a couple of these if dropped in my lap, but I’m not rushing out to add them to the TBR.

    As much as I’ve loved all the Shardlake books, I don’t think I’d want to revisit them on audio. Revelation is probably my favorite of the entire series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The good thing about having a rubbish memory is that I can never remember the plots of books I read more than a year or two ago, so the Shardlake books are feeling as if I’m reading them for the first time! The audiobooks are ridiculously long, but the narrator is great and I’ve come to feel as if he *is* Shardlake now… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, me too – it feels as if we’ve been in lockdown here forever! Mind you, they might not let me into the bookshop until I’ve been to the hairdresser… 😉

      That’s good to hear! The Dry has been my favourite so far, but I have high hopes for this one. She does her settings so well, doesn’t she?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed The Survivors, but not as much as Jane Harper’s earlier books, The Dry, Force of Nature or The Lost Man and I’ve read the Shardlake books – but not listened to the audiobooks. I imagine it’s good, although I’m a bit impatient listening – I read faster than the narrator usually reads. I don’t know anything about the other two – hope you enjoy them all!

    Barter Books in Alnwick is open and I’m hoping to get there soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved The Dry so much that I think my expectations were too high afterwards – the other two I liked, but not nearly as much. But she always does her settings so well, and I’m taken by the idea of a trip to the beach, so we’ll see! I definitely find reading and listening entirely different – audiobooks are closer to TV or film to me, than they are to books. And I only listen for about half an hour a day, so a book this length takes me weeks…

      Woohoo! It’s a lovely thought that we might be able to actually browse real bookshelves again! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t read any of these, but I have so much on my plate right now that I think I’ll just let you go ahead and review them first! Remind me again: why did I insist on getting a new puppy???!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so looking forward to getting to the Edinburgh and St Andrews bookshops next week. I’m not really taken with any of the books that you feature so I’ll be interested to read what you think of them, when you get around to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a lovely thought, isn’t it? I don’t have any local bookshops so it’ll be a trip to Glasgow for me. Mind you, they might not let me in unless I make a trip to the hairdresser’s first… 😂 My brother was telling me there was a report in the paper last week of English bookshops being full of desperate people just grabbing books and sniffing them… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think the Yaniv Iczkovits book sounds interesting and have heard good things about it, but definitely agree with you about the title. I’d love it if a whole slew of books hit the desks of agents with that turned around – ‘Madame President’s Meek Husband’.

    Though I sometimes enjoy the Shardlake books I wish they weren’t so well padded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, I think we should reclaim the title for ourselves too – The CEO’s Toyboy… 😉 But I’m hoping The Slaughterman’s Daughter will be good despite the title. Yes, the Shardlake books get ridiculously long but I do love immersing myself in his world. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll be very interested to hear your verdict on it.

        As you can probably tell I love an immersive historical fiction read – I’m not sure why I reach points in the Shardlake books where I think an editor could have used here, but I do keep reading them…

        Liked by 1 person

        • The guy who narrates the audiobooks, Steven Crossley, is great too – he’s now “become” Shardlake for me, so having him reading them to me is a wonderfully relaxing way to end a day. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Hmm. Probably Revelation or The Survivors though your description of the first book is definitely intriguing.
    Congrats on that drop! Every little bit helps! But the bookshops reopening is a potential threat for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The bookshops reopening might well be fatal – all that pent up addiction! The Survivors is probably the one I’m most looking forward to, though they all sound good. Revelation is a re-read of course, so I know it’ll get five stars!


  13. I’m interested in The Slaughterman’s Daughter and The Chill Factor, so will read your reviews for confirmation (or otherwise!). I found The Survivors another well drawn and engrossing Harper mystery, but for me too The Dry was something special.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really struggling to get into The Slaughterman’s Daughter for some reason – I’m going to set aside a couple of hours tomorrow to try to get to grips with it. Just about to start The Chill Factor tonight. Glad The Survivors worked for you. It’s a shame in a way that her first book was such a standout – it’s made all the rest seem a bit disappointing even though they’re actually very good.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t know any of these books but I do know about pilgrimages. I heard someone the other day saying that bookshops were the place where they felt safest, and I think outside of my home that’s true – is anyone ever rude in a bookshop? I’ve had one pilgrimage and now that I’m back reading reviews I must plan another one! Enjoy yourself


    • My major pilgrimage is going to be to the charity shops to get rid of some of the piles of books I’ve acquired during the whole thing – my house is stuffed to the ceilings with books! There is something special about bookshops and booklovers though – we’re sort of a secret society who all recognise each other by the size of our handbags… 😉


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