Blog Tour | 88° North #review #GuestPost #giveaway

I’m excited to be part of the tour for this book after reading the previous book 37 Hours, which I loved. Today I’ll be bringing you my thoughts, a guest post, and a giveaway too you lucky things.

88 northWould you kill your loved one to save the world?

The world’s most-wanted terrorist is on the loose, and this time the threat is global. To stop him, Nadia infiltrates his organization, from the triads of Hong Kong, to the refugee-smugglers of Sudan, to the Mafia gangs running oil platforms in Sakhalin. But in the end, she must travel to the top of the world and confront her sworn enemy on the Arctic ice, where she will face a terrible choice.

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On having a character tackle the wrongs of the world…

I like Jack Reacher, the character created by author Lee Child. He finds himself in some very difficult situations with some very bad people, and usually by the end of the book the world is rid of such people. He is a crusader for justice, an unsung hero, and does and says things many of us would like to be able to do. Of course, we’re not Jack, and thankfully we’re not in such situations, though we have the unnerving feeling they exist off-page.

With Nadia’s last outing, in 88° North, she also seeks to right a couple of wrongs. In one, early on in the book, she rescues a girl from a life of prostitution in Hong Kong. It doesn’t work out the way Nadia plans – if indeed she ever really had a plan – but her own sister was forced into prostitution, and is now dead, and Nadia feels she has to do something, even if she knows it ‘doesn’t amount to a piss in the ocean.’

I didn’t really plan this in the plot, it kind of happened. Nadia was out looking for a particular gangster in the seedier side of Hong Kong, on Tonnochy Road, when she stopped, seeing all the girly bars, and felt as if her dead sister’s hands reached up through the sweating pavements and seized her ankles, anchoring her to the spot. One of my writing colleagues, when he read an early draft, asked if I really needed this whole scene for the plot? No, I replied, Nadia needs it.

Later in the book, there is a more Jack Reacher-esque situation, where Nadia is in Sudan in the desert. While researching Sudan, I came across an article about the trafficking of refugees through Sudan towards Egypt, whether such people were fleeing Sudan or Eritrea or elsewhere. I read a line which stopped me dead. It remarked that many women refugees took contraception before departing because they assumed they would be raped during their journey. My blood ran cold at the casual brutality of this observation. I couldn’t leave it alone, and nor could Nadia.

In the chapter, Nadia and her allies need something from the men, when they discover a tent where the women are kept, and learn what has happened to them, and that they will be sold as slaves. Nadia knows it’s not on her agenda, that she should focus on ‘the bigger picture’, which is stopping a global terrorist threat. But throughout the book, there is a sub-theme, that it’s actually the small pictures that matter, because they are the only ones we ever have a realistic hope of changing. And anyway, Nadia can’t simply walk away from such things. She just can’t leave these women to their dismal fate, and so she risks everything and goes on a killing spree. She frees the women. As a writer, I’d never been so proud of Nadia.

Nadia’s not Jack Reacher, and I’m not Lee Child. But this is her last outing, so I wanted to let her fight for what’s right, on her way to battling her nemesis, Salamander. Were these episodes necessary for the plot? No. Were they necessary for her, and me?

You bet.

So now that you have a little extra look into the book here is what I thought of it…

I loved it!! I get wary of series of books as sometimes they can end up disappointing me, but this one actually beat my expectations and they were pretty high to begin with.

This book is full of action straight from the start, it took me a minute to remember how things had left off after the last book but once I had all the pieces in place I was completely engrossed. It’s hard to explain quite how thrilling it is, the constant wonder of whether Nadia and Jake will come out on top or whether Salamander will succeed in causing devastation. It was more than just edge of your seat, I could feel knots in my stomach as the tension started to ramp up.

A very clever plot, with enough to keep you guessing, but since Salamander was always a few steps ahead I knew to expect the unexpected. I especially liked how the board kept shifting with regards to allegiances, there were a few out of necessity that just made it even more tense as you knew that no one was on sure footing with each other.

Nadia was even better in this book, coming to terms with her limited lifespan made her priorities shift ever so slightly (examples of which you will have just heard in the guest post above). I liked that she needed to feel like she had made a difference even if it was small and didn’t help them in the bigger picture. She was still as smart and resilient but it was good that she was able to make these small amends and still be able to focus on her ultimate goal, getting rid of Salamander.

88 North is an amazing conclusion to a gripping story and whilst I am sad that it’s the end of Nadia’s story, I’m glad that it was a good ending. J.F Kirwan has become a fast favourite and I can’t wait to see what comes next.



Now for anyone feeling extra lucky, we have a great giveaway, click the link below to win…

one of three £10 Amazon gift cards


J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

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Reviews for other J.F Kirwan books

37 Hours


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