Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven.

the blurb….

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….

Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.

You can watch the book trailer here.

my review….

It’s the first time I’ve read Noir Fiction and have discovered the genre isn’t really for me.  However, I don’t believe it’s a reflection on the author or the story. This is a well written, complex story that is told from a number of different points of view.  The story certainly had me gripped throughout and although I found it a bit of struggle to read, I knew I had to get to the end to see what happened.

The characters are all very dark, mainly with terrible backgrounds and there is also a lot of violence, gore and sexual references.

One of the things I did really enjoy were the historical references, although a very tragic and sad act in history, it did get me googling to find out more about the parts that I was unsure of.

If you’re a fan of noir fiction then I would imagine that this would be for you.  As I say well written, and an interesting gripping storyline so definitely worth you checking it out.



about the author….

A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian.Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.

His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.

You can find Bob at the following places:  Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Website

Where can I buy this book….

Ebook: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon ES

Paperback: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon ES

international giveaway!!!

Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks ~ Enter here.

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Don’t forget to check out the other fab bloggers on this tour:

Thank you to Rachel at Rachels’ Random Resources and to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  All views are my own.  I am not affiliated with any links in this post in any way.

Chelle x

2 Replies to “Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway: Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven

  1. Thank you, Chelle, for highlighting “Return to Hiroshima” and your honest review. I understand completely that the novel can be shocking for a first-time reader of noir fiction. Even I, a seasoned author of around 40 books, struggled with the writing, but it was a novel I had to write, and my hope is that people will think about our world and the shadows we hide in ourselves after having read it. By the way: I am a vegetarian evolving towards veganism… 🙂 and the doting “stable boy” for our four horses, our darlings and treasures…

    1. Hi Bob, thanks so much for your message. I’m sure if I read more noir fiction I’d get used to but it was fantastically written and really gripping, and certainly does make you think about the world and the things we hide! Good luck with your journey towards veganism 🙂 It’s actually quite easy when you’ve been a vegetarian for a while and it’s certainly worth it 🙂 and your horse gorgeous!

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