Anyone else wishing that the Mexican commentator was doing all of the game commentating for the World Cup? That dude is ah-meezing. He makes it so much more fun to watch.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about soccer until I met my husband. He is a huge fan. His favourite team in the Tottenham Hotspurs. It took me a while to even learn how to say Tottenham properly. But, he embraced my love of hockey, he became a Toronto Maple Leafs fan for me, so I’m trying to get into soccer a little bit more.
It’s not the most exciting sport to me. I think I’m used to the level of adrenaline hockey brings – fights and body checking and game blowouts that might see ten or twelve goals.
Soccer is a little slower. If you like to watch men run, then it’s for you. Or if you’re looking for some dramatic acting tips, also for you.
Seriously, this is the worst thing about soccer to me. These grown, athletic men spend more time finding ways to cry and flail around about made up injuries than toddlers do. I have never seen anything like it. Just get the fuck up and play your fucking sport. I’ve seen hockey goalies get a cut carotid artery from a skate, bleeding all over the ice, and they still want to find a way to get back out and play.
But, I digress…
This week the semi-finals are wrapping up, between France and Belgium, and England vs Croatia. I am fully on Team England. My husband is Team Croatia, so it’s making for an interesting Wednesday.
For this week’s post I’m going to take a look at crime fiction from each of the semi-finalist countries.
Semi-Final: Match One
France Vs. Belgium
⚽ Belgium: Pas op voor De Buren by Hilde Vandermeeren
Blurb It: A street with four houses. And five secrets.
Ruth is a thriller author who writes under a pseudonym. However, that is not her only secret. She conceals a horrifying even from her past, both for her friend Matthew, and for her surroundings. Her mother has taught her that you can never trust the neighbours.
Then strange things happen in her surroundings and she is confronted with her greatest fear: that she is as mentally ill as her mother. The illness had fatal consequences.
🔪The title, roughly translated to Beware The Neighbours, is a 2018 crime thriller release from a Belgium author who has written more than 50 books, in either the children’s genre or the thriller genre. Her books, as far as I can tell, have not yet been translated to English editions.
⚽ France: A Climate of Fear (Commissaire Adamsberg, #10) by Fred Vargas (Original title: Temps glaciaires)
Blurb It: From the #1 bestselling French author and four-time winner of the Crime Writers Association s International Dagger Award.
A woman is found murdered in her bathtub, and the murder has been made to look like a suicide. But a strange symbol found at the crime scene leads the local police to call Commissaire Adamsberg and his team. When the symbol is found near the body of a second disguised suicide, a pattern begins to emerge: both victims were part of a disastrous expedition to Iceland over ten years ago where a group of tourists found themselves trapped on a deserted island for two weeks, surrounded by a thick, impenetrable fog rumored to be summoned by an ancient local demon. Two of them didn t make it back alive. But how are the deaths linked to the secretive Association for the Study of the Writings of Maximilien Robespierre? And what does the mysterious symbol signify?
🔪Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, writing as Fred Vargas, is the popular French author in crime fiction today. Her Commissaire Adamsberg series dates back to 1991, but came out in English translation in 2009, winning the CWA’s International Dagger.
Final Score: FRA – 1 BLG – 0
France advances to the final.
Semi-Final: Match Two
Croatia Vs. England
⚽ Croatia: The Heart of Hell (A Marko dell Torre Novel, #3) by Alen Mattich
Blurb It: The third installment in Alen Mattich’s highly addictive Marko della Torre series.
Autumn 1991. Civil war has broken out in Yugoslavia with Croatia’s declaration of independence, and former secret policeman Marko della Torre is set adrift. Department VI, the internal investigations unit, is now in a state of paralysis as Belgrade struggles to maintain its hold as the region’s centre of power. When the body of a young woman, identified as American agent Rebecca Vees, washes up on the shores of Italy, della Torre is summoned by U.S. authorities. He is the last person to have seen Rebecca alive. Her two colleagues have also been found shot dead on an island in Croatia, and della Torre is coerced into locating the man they think is responsible: the corrupt and unscrupulous Zagreb cop, Julius Strumbić. Forced to navigate Yugoslavia’s bloody civil war in order to track Strumbić’s whereabouts, della Torre has to decide whether he will warn his old friend or give him up to the Americans to save himself.
In The Heart of Hell, Alen Mattich delivers a powerful political thriller that depicts the horrors and machinations of the Yugoslav civil war and the humanity of those who survive it.
🔪Alen Mattich was born in Croatia, and grew up in Libya, Canada and the U.S. His Marko della Torre novels are political thrillers set is Croatia during the 1991 civil war. His novels are rich with history and thrills, making the most of the setting and a dynamic lead detective.
⚽ England: Perfect Silence (D.I. Callanach, #4) by Helen Fields
Blurb It: When silence falls, who will hear their screams?
The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin. And when a macabre ragdoll is found nestled beside an abandoned baby, DI Luc Callanch learns the killer’s horrifying game plan – cutting out dolls from the flesh of his victims.
When a series of drug-users are brutally branded with the letter Z slashed into their foreheads, Luc and his partner Ava must risk both their jobs and their lives to unearth the truth. Is this the merciless work of the same assailant?
As the killer’s twisted games persist, Luc knows it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?
🔪There is so much to choose from when it comes to UK crime fiction. It’s some of the best crime fiction out there, but for my World Cup choice I decided to go with the most recent release in a series that gets me the most hyped. Helen Fields has been sitting on my TBR for quite some time, but whenever I comes across those stark, minimalist covers I am instantly intrigued.
Final Score (after 90 minutes): ENG – 1 CRO – 1
…and as I type this they are starting up Overtime. Is it called overtime in soccer? Maybe that’s just hockey.
Have you guys been watching the world cup? Is your team in or out? Who are you rooting for?
Until next time, Booknerds…