No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
As a writer, Jan Turk Petrie is always keen to challenge herself and come up with something original.
Her first published novels – the three volumes that make up The Eldísvík Trilogy – are Nordic noir thrillers set some fifty years in the future.
Her fourth novel - ‘Too Many Heroes’ – is, by contrast, a period romantic thriller set in the early 1950s.
Jan’s fifth novel - ‘Towards the Vanishing Point’ is a work of historical literary fiction.
Before becoming a writer, Jan was an English teacher in inner-city London. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing and has written numerous, prize-winning short stories
Jan is a fan of Margaret Atwood, Kate Atkinson, Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut and Jennifer Egan – authors who are prepared to take risks in their writing.
The sky is darkening – not in the usual way but with unnatural speed; it brings with it a silence that is disquieting. Ominous.Gulls that had been reeling and squawking off the cliffs have mysteriously disappeared from the sky. Only moments ago, the soaring song of rising larks had accompanied them to the top of the headland; now they are mute; the birds have all gone to ground.Other people – perhaps twenty, maybe as many as twenty-five – have been drawn to this same commanding spot as if by portent or a shared instinct carried in some ancient particle of DNA. Perhaps it’s down to race memory, past generations who once gathered in this same place to bear witness.On the way up, she’d caught snatches of excited conversation – a carnival spirit; now there is only whispering.It is almost upon them. A collective hush descends on the small crowd as if by divine command; faces turn upwards to wait for the spectacle that is about to take place. To her left, the silvery streak on the surface of the sea dims and then finally goes out. Where there had been summer warmth the air is chilly; the fine hairs on her arms stand up in response.‘This is it,’ Kyle says. Reluctantly, she sits down next to him. The dry grass feels rough against her bare legs. She can smell the sheep poo that’s been baked by the sun that is about to all but disappear behind the moon.From his rucksack Kyle pulls out his binoculars and the piece of white card he’d saved from the recycling. He’d already explained to her how this would work, how you only needed to point one of the lenses at the eclipse and an image would beprojected straight through the eyepieces onto the cardboard. The other lens is capped off – it isn’t allowed to watch.In the morning news there had been a sneering feature on the myths that had grown up as a way of explaining such events. A Norse tale blamed wolves for eating the sun. In ancient China it was dragons. Native Americans believed a bear had taken a bite out of it. The ancient Greeks took it more seriously; to them a solar eclipse was a sign the gods were angry; it foretold coming disasters and destruction.Kyle is staring at the image on the cardboard. Seen his way, the coming eclipse resembles a diagram in a textbook. She notices the small red stain in one corner from their takeaway pizza. He’s set the whole thing up in between them so they can watch together.In her head she tells him, you might as well be watching it on television. She’s tempted to say it out loud but that would only spoil the moment for him. ‘‘Remember, don’t look at it directly.’ This was ostensibly meant for her but he’d raised his voice so that it would carry to any foolish person around them who might be about to do so. ‘Just one look and you could go blind,’ he adds for good measure.The darkness intensifies; it’s now impossible to make out the contours of the land or the line where it meets the sky. The colours of the day have all but drained away; the world has entered The Twilight Zone.Some people are staring skywards, sporting glasses that look far too cheap to ward off the destructive powers of two heavenly bodies set on what, from this angle, appears to be a certain collision.‘I think we’re approaching maximum,’ Kyle tells her. His sharp elbow digs into her ribs to make his point. ‘Look,’ he says, ‘or you’ll miss it.’To please him, she glances down at the facsimile he’s created, the scaled down version of this momentous event he appears to be content with. His way is not hers – never was.Drawn back to the heavens but not quite trusting herself, she shuts her eyes and lets the moment take her.By the gradual lightening of the shades of red inside her closed lids, she knows the peak has passed. How strange this slow process of coming back to herself – to the promise of warmth on her skin. She opens her eyes, to watch the old world being reborn. Monochrome is being overlaid with colour. The strange spell broken, birds wake and remember their songs. A distant lamb cries out for its mother.Kyle caps the other lens of the binoculars, folds the blank card roughly in two and stuffs both in his rucksack. Standing up, he says, ‘We should head off before the crush.’She wants to linger, to lie back and find shapes in clouds; to follow the progress of the boat that’s just a speck on the horizon as it moves across the newly sparkling sea.Instead, she brushes the grass from her legs and follows him down the steep hill heading for the point where the narrow path will split in different directions.
WOW! What a fabulous and enjoyable read - read it in one sitting as needed to know what happened next. A tale of time travel from 2020 to 1982 - and back again. Following the story of Tom when he meets Beth - such detail in lives during the pandemic of 2020 and lives in 1982. Don't want to give too much of the story away - can't recommended it highly enough. I have just ordered one of her other books I am so impressed. Jayne Burton, A LoveReading Ambassador
Also available on Kindle The Truth in a Lie is Jan Turk Petrie's sixth novel and the first in a contemporary setting. It is an engaging story of complex interpersonal relationships..husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters; a story of love and loss, expertly told with sensitivity and real emotional depth. The reader follows Charlotte, Lottie, through a particularly difficult time in her life. After divorcing Duncan, we join the story when she leaves her partner, Michael, and has to adjust to being alone again, though sometimes with the company of Kate, her university student daughter. Her life is rocked again when her mother is taken seriously ill and has to undergo emergency surgery. The reappearance of Duncan at the hospital and her mother's insistence that her private papers will be destroyed unread, set the scene for an unexpected outcome, clearly demonstrating the devastating consequences that secrecy can have. The novel is very well-written with fully developed characterisations and evocative accounts, so much so that the reader feels that they know the people, places and feelings described. Indeed, the strength of the writing is that most people will have experienced something very similar and will be able to identify completely. A highly recommended read. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
I found this to be a gripping story, it did put me in mind of Daphne Du Maurier. Once started it was hard to put down, the friendship between Stella and Lilly was a strong one, until the day that male nurse Will arrives. But Will is not quite what he seems, and though Stella tries to tell her, Lilly who is under his spell won't hear a thing about him, after all, they are just rumours, right? Towards the vanishing point is a tale of love, friendship, and betrayal A book for all fans of mystery, with a slight gothic overtone. Angela Rhodes, A LoveReading Ambassador
1952. Seven years since the end of World War II yet the country is still deeply affected by what happened and the after-effects. Frank is an itinerant casual worker, and stories about his war experiences vary. Reserved occupation? Conscientious objector? Deserter? Nobody seems sure, but one thing is clear – Frank is always looking over his shoulder and moving on at the first sign of trouble. A move to London finds him working in a bar where he falls for Grace, the unhappily married wife of the landlord, Dennis. So when Dennis is murdered, the police naturally assume it is a crime of passion. Maybe it is time for Frank to move on again? The book is described as a thriller, but to me, it didn’t have the fast-paced, edgy feel I would normally associate with the genre. Instead, it moves at an unhurried pace, allowing the reader to savour all the subtleties of the story. I thought the book was so beautifully written and the characters so rounded and well developed that trying to slot it into a genre mould like “thriller” really doesn’t do justice to it. A great story, a great read, a well-planned plot and a clever ending all add up to a very memorable book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
Concluding the ground breaking Nordic noir thriller trilogy set in 2068. Facing near impossible odds, Nero and his companions are forced to act outside the law. To protect the innocent, they will risk everything as they battle to defeat the ruthless and shadowy figures conspiring to take control of the city. The Eldísvík trilogy is riveting, rollercoaster ride. A story of survival, loyalty, betrayal and love that will appeal to fans of Jo Nesbo, Peter Hoeg and Lilja Sigurdardottir.
Wounded but not broken, Inspector Nero Cavallo teams up with his fellow telepatico, Bruno Mastriano, to track down the mass-murderer Ása. This ruthless rogue operative, her gang of disenchanted former decoy agents and her pack of genetically engineered killer foxes are rapidly bringing chaos to the city of Eldísvík. To safeguard the rule of law, Nero has to survive long enough to expose powerful figures who would ransom the city to the highest bidder and bring an end to its freedom. Continuing the riveting Nordic saga of survival, loyalty, betrayal and love. A fast-paced, future-world thriller that will appeal to fans of Jo Nesbo, Margaret Atwood, Ursula le Guin, and J.G. Ballard.
Well, what a humdinger of a book this turned out to be. A mash-up of dystopian, futuristic fiction and Nordic police thriller, with a dash of the supernatural. It’s set 50 years in the future in Eldisvik, a Scandinavian city where you’re all right if you’re in the Free Zone, but venture outside its borders and you’re in increasing danger (and even the police won’t enter the Double Red Zone without some serious protection). The initial premise of the story is that a Decoy (sort of undercover agents aided by packs of vixens – I know, I know . . . .) has gone rogue and the police, led by Nero Cavello, have to investigate. There’s a second storyline of a young student, Bruno, who is kidnapped by the rogue Decoy who wants to use Bruno’s telepathic abilities. Alongside all this, we have political chicanery, corruption and possible infiltration of the police. Oh, and Nero also has telepathic abilities, just like Bruno. The descriptions of the technological advances felt realistic – just advanced enough from where we are now to feel futuristic, but not unbelievably so. However, I really wanted to know how things had got to be as they are. Why have the police lost control of the outer zones? What’s happened in the rest of the world? There are a few hints of catastrophes elsewhere – the city seems to be a real multi-cultural mix and there are references to lots of people being refugees. It took me a while to really engage with the book – there were too many things going on and I could have done with the characters being fleshed out more; I didn’t feel particularly invested in any of them until quite a way in. However, the characters eventually came to life and once that happened the story fairly hurtled along. The ending was a real cliff-hanger – rather too much so for my taste. Of course, you don’t want all the loose ends neatly tied up, otherwise, why read the rest of the series? But hardly any questions at all were answered. Nevertheless, I’m well and truly hooked. It’s rare that I reach the end of a book shouting “Oh no” as I realise it’s finished. I look forward to my next visit to Eldisvik. Bernadette Scott, A LoveReading Ambassador