Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: The Second Deadly Sin by Asa Larsson

The Second Deadly Sin
By Asa Larsson
Publisher: MacLehose Press
Published: Aug. 12, 2014

Amazon Synopsis: raved that Asa 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. 

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My Thoughts:

District Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson and police dog handler Krister Eriksson are on the case of a woman who was murdered by being stabbed to death over and over again, leaving behind her grandson. Traumatized, the young boy Marcus had no family he could turn to and since he had taken to Eriksson, was allowed to temporarily remain in his care.

The Second Deadly Sin was a fascinating tale of interwoven relationships among a the inhabitants of s small town over 3 generations. The story moves back and forth between the early 1900's and the present day. It is discovered that Sol-Britt is not the only one in her family to have been murdered. While the investigative team does not delve into the murders of her other family members, as readers we go back into her family history and learn about these individuals, their lives and their relationships as they all play a part in the murderous affair at hand.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of in the Second Deadly Sin, and a lot of unfamiliar names and places as the book takes place in Sweden. The book was written in Swedish, and this publication is it's translation to English. It's worth persisting with keeping track of everything though because the book is excellent.

This book definitely adult fare only however as there are some graphic adult scenes in the book.  This includes a sexual predator and the murder he commits. There is also a moderate amount of profanity to be found as well, although it wasn't enough to turn me away from reading this book.

The characters are believable and ones you can identify with. You can feel the poverty and harsh circumstances of living in the far northern lands where the sun barely sets in winter in the early 21st century. I felt the sad at the anguish Martinsson felt when she did what had to be done in order to save Marcus' life.

I would definitely re-read this novel, if only to clarify in my mind some of the things I had a difficult time keeping track of when I read it the first time through. I gave The Second Deadly Sin  5 stars out of 5. Mystery and crime readers should love this one!

Thank you to the publishers via NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Åsa Larsson was born in Uppsala in Sweden in 1966. She grew up in Kiruna in the far north of the country, before becoming a tax lawyer – two biographical elements she shares with her heroine, Rebecka Martinsson. She returned to Uppsala to study, and lived for some years in Stockholm. She is now based lives in Mariefred, outside Stockholm, preferring the rural life with her husband, two children and several chickens.

Her first novel published in the UK (under the title The Savage Altar), was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. Both her second and fifth novels, The Blood Spilt and The Second Deadly Sin, were awarded the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award. In 2007 a Swedish film, titled “Solstorm”, was made from The Savage Altar.

Åsa has now been published in twenty-three languages, spanning more than thirty countries.

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