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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Second Deadly Sin by Asa Larsson

The Second Deadly Sin   

I really like this series featuring Rebecka Martinsson, and this latest addition does not disappoint.

Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson and Inspector Anna-Maria Mella are once again on a case when Sol-Britt Uusitalo is found murdered and her grandson missing.  

Rebecka's friend Krister Ericksson, a police dog handler, finds Marcus, but the boy is unable to provide information about what took place.  Then Rebecka is side-lined by obnoxious fellow prosecutor, Car Von Post (the Pest).

Before Rebecka is removed from the case, information about the family tragedies is discovered:  Sol-Britt's son was killed by a hit-and-run driver, her father was eaten by a bear, and her grandmother was murdered.

When Von Post takes over, he plans to use the case to enhance his career and wants a quick resolution.   An angry Rebecka is fearful for Marcus, who may also be targeted by the killer.  Angry, she may be, but even if she isn't on Sol-Britt's case, she can still investigate the unusual coincidence of so many unnatural deaths in the family.

What transpires is a division of narratives:  one covers the current investigation, the other goes back to 1914.  The novel moves back and forth between the two narratives, and Rebecka becomes convinced that the "past is prologue."  I thought the two stories flowed well and served the purpose, even if the past narrative ended up seeming a bit contrived.

As usual in Larsson's novel, the plotting is skillful, the characters are well-developed, and the setting in the remote, frigid northern-most area of Sweden is beautifully depicted.  

Inspite of being set in a small community, Larsson's books could never be called cozies--they have the Nordic darkness found in so many Scandinavian novels.  The Second Deadly Sin was somewhat lighter than the previous novels in the series, and I think it is her best to date.  It is encouraging to see a great series getting even better.

P.S.  The section on Anna-Maria Meller and her family encapsulated the drama/comedy of life with kids and made me smile.  I love the emotional support Anna-Maria's husband provides.  I'm also half in love with poor Krister, the terribly disfigured and utterly kind dog handler, who is hopelessly in love with Rebecka.


Read in May; blog post scheduled for July 16.

NetGalley/Quercus Press

Mystery.  to be re-released in e-book format in Aug., 2014.  Print version: 352 pages.


  1. This is on my list of series to try. I have so many. Haha! And so many I am in the middle of. It never ends. And yet I love it. :-)

  2. :) It is one of my favorite Scandinavian series. And this may be my favorite in the series.

  3. There're so many great Scandinavian thrillers out there that we're spoilt for choices, lol. I think what attracts me most about them is the writing style and of course, the culture in every sense. I've not read anything by this author but of course it's never too late to try. ;)

  4. Melody -- It is interesting to note the differences in style from culture to culture, country to country. The Scandinavians have provided us with a unique kind of mystery/crime novel that I really enjoy. Mostly. Sometimes, maybe a bit too gory... :)