Monday, 11 August 2014

The Second Deadly Sin by Åsa Larsson - out 12th of August 2014

Quercus Books (US) - MacLehose Press
352 pages - 26.99 $

Another Scandinavian author (Swedish to be precise). This is definitely trendy, but I did not want to stay on an aftertaste of disappointment with my reading of The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler. So here I am, trying agin a new Swedish author whose name appears regularly on networks.

The blurb raved that Åsa Larsson’s Rebecka Martinsson is a crime fighter who has all the needed gut insticts," and listed the series as "Mysteries Every Thinking Woman Should Read." In The Second Deadly Sin, dawn breaks in a forest in northern Sweden. Villagers gather to dispatch a rampaging bear. When the beast is brought to ground they are horrified to find the remains of a human hand inside its stomach. In nearby Kiruna, a woman is found murdered in her bed, her body a patchwork of vicious wounds, the word WHORE scrawled across the wall. Her grandson Marcus, already an orphan, is nowhere to be seen. Grasping for clues, Rebecka Martinsson begins to delve into the victim’s tragic family history. But with doubts over her mental health still lingering, she is ousted from the case by an arrogant and ambitious young prosecutor. Before long a chance lead draws Martinsson back into the thick of the action and her legendary courage is put to the test once more. 

What's about that book

Larsson knows how to make us feel what experience her characters... including the dog. And just for that, it blew me away. I think especially of a scene where the Brat, Martinsson's puppy runs around the house in all directions until he can go out, it's a scene you may find useless because it adds nothing to the plot, but it brings a lot to the atmosphere! There is also how Maja portrays von Post, a moment of pure happiness (well, in your teeth von Post!) Or, the day spent with Martisson in her house, drinking moonshine and doing trips to the sauna, while investigating, along with Pohjanen (and we learn a bit more about Swedish culture). It thus makes us feel good in the presence of Martisson, wanting to get to know her. That create a sense of familiarity with the characters and it's very nice. 

The plot follows two stories that, as so often, join in the end, one explaining the other. This has already been done, of course, but when it's well done, as is the case here, it's nice. A story unfolds in the early twentieth century, while the other is in the present. Ultimately, it is the story of a family that we can judge cursed as misfortune rained down on her, a family cursed by greed

Aside from the very human and endearing characters, the two-story plot, Larsson sprinkles her story of political shenanigans, low blows and cowardice. Martinsson's success doesn't please everyone and Von Post, the detestable prosecutor, will do anything to counter her. There are few references to the past, especially with regard to Martinsson's psychological past which uses von Post, but not having read the other books did not prevent to understand how this man is a shabby. 

In a nutshell

A clever writing, very endearing characters, a plot well done, a dark atmosphere, cold and sad, but hopeful at the same time. This is a 4.5 / 5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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