I found this one to be a bit slow going at first. There just seemed to be a lot of nothing going on for quite some time. All of which puts the reader in a position to mirror the main character - neither of us has a clear picture of what is going on, although we can feel there's something there. I found myself scratching my head at some points -at times the story seemed a bit unbelievable, but overall I enjoyed reading this one.
The first book in the Rebecka Martinsson series
Not bad. I'd call this an average mystery novel. Characterization is good, but not particularly memorable. Story is interesting, but again, not a standout. In 6 months I won't remember anything about it. I probably won't read any further books by this author. The murderer was obvious--no surprises--and there were some loose ends and some implausible action.
Asa Larsson is able to bring northern Sweden's winter to life with her excellent writing style. Here is one of Rebecka's childhood memories (Rebecka is a Stockholm tax attorney and the main character in the novel):
It's different up at home, the blue shining midwinter twilight, the snow crunching under your feet. Or the early spring, when you've skied along the river from Grandmother's house in Kurravaara to the cabin in Jiekajarvi, and you sit down and rest on the first patch of clear ground where the snow has melted under a pine tree. The tree bark glows like red copper in the sun. The snow sighs with exhaustion, collapsing in the warmth.
Her characters are also wonderfully developed - even the animals! I absolutely loved the little dog, Virku:
As if Virku could read her gloomy thoughts, she came scampering across the garden behind Rebecka through the darkness and barked happily.
"Hush," laughed Rebecka. "You'll wake up the whole village."
Immediately a couple of answering barks came from far way. The black dog listened carefully.
"Don't even think about it," warned Rebecka.
Maybe she should have brought the lead.
Virku looked at her happily and decided Rebecka would do very well as a companion for a dog in the mood for a game. She burrowed playfully down into the feather-light snow with her nose, came back up again and shook her head. The she invited Rebecka to join in by plonking her front paws on the ground and sticking her bottom up in the air.
Come on, then, said her shiny black eyes.
One issue I had with the book was the predictable and over-used portrayal of Christians as weirdos. My second complaint was the disappointing ending (although others may contradict me on that). I am, however, looking forward to reading the next in the series, "The Blood Spilt".
When Rebecka Martinsson left her hometown of Kiruna she had been rejected by her friends and lover and, it seemed, by God as well. She returns as a hard-working Stockholm attorney to protect her fragile once-friend Sanna whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church that he helped create. With her old friends set against her and an ambitious prosecutor anxious for a quick arrest, Rebecka has to use all her skills to expose the deceit and violence that have become part of the church community. Set in a northern Swedish winter, the daily struggles with snow, ice and long, dark nights add tension and texture to this excellent mystery.
Written by a young, female tax lawyer from Stockholm, this first effort about a young, female tax lawyer who goes to her old home in Kiruna, to help the sister of a man who has been brutally murdered in their old church, made for a very engrossing read. Upon completion, I immediately turned to the next in the series because I so wanted to read more about this lawyer, the local police and neighbours who resided there.
Found this author in the anthology of Swedish crime writers "A Darker Shade of Sweden" (another great read - including a previously unreleased short story by Stieg Larson). Another wonderful Swedish writer - I think I'm getting addicted.
This is yet another fabulous Scandinavian thriller! Larsson transports readers to icy Sweden and introduces us to Rebecka Martinsson, a tax attorney in Stockholm.
The brutal murder of a friend’s brother takes Rebecka back home to Kiruna. Returning to her hometown is tough for Rebecka, and reconnecting to her friend, Sanna, is even tougher. Rebecka’s past in Kiruna and the charismatic church in town, The Source of All Our Strength, pose many questions for readers, as well as Rebecka herself.
Can Rebecka overcome her mysterious past in order to help Sanna and her daughters? Read this chilly thriller and find out!
One UK reviewer thought that this book was “a chilling, creepy book”; I don’t know what’s supposed to be so “chilling” and “creepy” about this book; the story’s simple and it’s all too easy to figure out who the baddies are; the police are marginalised in this book and look rather stupid while the tax lawyer heroine goes about solving the whole thing on her own without telling the police what’s up; sometimes the story does not hang together very well and events are not always plausible; and there are too many flashbacks for easy reading; this is just airport stuff.
I liked the independence and resourcefulness of the herione. Her battle with the cold, the unending snow, the darkness, and the church elders who relentlessly guarded their secrets was rivetting for me. I felt cold the entire time I was reading.
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