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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

More Crime--from Sweden, to Ireland, to Glacier National Park

Killer Deal       

This is the third in the Emma Skold series, and I haven't read the previous ones.  Actually, I can't find that they have been translated yet.

I have to take issue with the cover statement: "The New Queen of Scandinavian Crime."  The book held my interest, but I wasn't that impressed with it.  I don't see Sarenbrant edging out Asa Larsson, Karin Fossum, Anna Jansson, or Camilla Lackberg any time soon.  

Emma Skold is a police inspector in Stockholm, Sweden. In the early stages of pregnancy, Emma is determined not to let her pregnancy interfere with her job performance.  Since I have not read the previous novels in the series, I can't say for sure how much the earlier books focused on Emma--but in this one, her role is not the main focus.  

While not equally divided, the plot can be separated into three strands:  Emma, Cornelia, Josefin.  The narrative alternates between the killer's first person POV and a third person, present tense POV that relates events as they occur.

Cornelia is eager to sell their house as she plans to leave her husband Hans, taking their six-year-old daughter Astrid with her. Determined to escape the physical and mental abuse she has suffered over the years, as much for her daughter's sake as for her own, Cornelia can't help but wonder if the house itself will reveal the abuse to prospective buyers.

After a showing, she and her daughter go to bed.  Her drunken husband stumbles in late and sleeps in the guest room.  The next morning, Astrid discovers her father's body.

The murder of Hans is only one thread in this novel that touches on domestic abuse, infidelity, and a couple of story arcs carried over from previous novels.  Strangely, I was not much involved with any of the characters; not even young Astrid evoked much emotion.  I felt sorry for Cornelia, sympathized with Josefin, but found Emma  a little irritating.  

This was an ARC that arrived in the mail.

Scandinavian Crime.  May 10, 2016.  433 pages.  

The Lost by Claire McGowan is the first in the Paula Maguire series.  

Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has built a reputation for finding missing persons...and for not always following the directions of her superiors.  Seconded from London to the Irish home town to which she never intended to return, Paula's brief is to help the new Missing Persons Unit make headway in the disappearances of two teenage girls.

A little slow at first, but then the plot take off rapidly.  Paula has difficulty re-acclimatizing to Ballyterrin and has to work to fit in with the Missing Persons group which has an innovative mixture of Catholic and Protestant team members from both sides of the border.  

Is there any connection to the two girls missing in the present and to cold cases of missing girls in 1985?  

The novel addresses dark elements connected with both The Troubles and with the  Magdalene Laundries.  Paula must also face her own personal history that led to her leaving Ireland with no plans to return. 

Definitely a series I intend to pursue.  Thanks, Rita, for recommending this series.


Crime/Mystery.  2013.  Print version:  305 pages.

Last year, I read Christine Carbo's The Wild Inside (also set in Glacier National Park) and enjoyed it.  Glacier National Park is a "1,583-sq.-mi. wilderness area in Montana's Rocky Mountains"  and that is an awful lot of wilderness.  Carbo obviously loves the area deeply, but it is just as obvious that she acknowledges and respects all the dangers it represents.

Mortal Fall follows the investigation of Glacier National Park police officer Monty Harris, who is tasked with determining the cause of the fall that led to the death of wildlife biologist Paul "Wolfie" Sedgewick.  Sedgewick was an experienced climber, intimately familiar with the terrain and its dangers, and many are finding it difficult to believe he fell to his death.

Anyone, however, can have an accident or misstep, and the fall could have been an accident.  Sedgewick was well-liked and well-respected, but his study of the endangered wolverine population was not popular with some locals, especially poachers.  Monty feels responsible for finding the truth--an accident, suicide, heart attack, or push.

When another body is found beneath the cliff, Monty's investigation leads to other possibilities, including one that might involve his estranged brother and the questionable academy for troubled teens that his brother attended years ago.  

Monty Harris was a secondary character in The Wild Inside, but carries this novel.  Other minor characters return, giving the novel a familiar feeling, and Carbo makes the most of both characters and setting.  The park itself becomes a kind of amorphous character in its own right.  

Carbo does a fine job of presenting flawed, but intriguing individuals who struggle with their own pasts.  I look forward to more from Christine Carbo.

NetGalley/Atria Books

Police Procedural/Mystery.  May 31, 2016.  print version:  416 pages.

My Snail Adventures continue on my other blog.


  1. OK, here are my thoughts - I'm skipping the first book you listed. I've already read the second and also want to continue reading that series. And I saw Christine Carbo at Left Coast Crime. She was on the first panel I saw that I can remember almost nothing about. LOL

    She was also one of the debut authors. I definitely want to read THE WILD INSIDE and also MORTAL FALL sounds great. Thanks for sharing about it!

    1. I wasn't that impressed with the first one, but I really enjoyed the second one--the Paula Maguire series--and want to read the next one. I enjoyed both of Carbo's novels; both are psychological mysteries. :)

  2. I'm glad to know McGowan's The Lost is worth reading; I've been seeing it a lot on Goodreads and was wondering if I should give it a try. And I'm intrigued by the Glacier Nat'l Park setting in Carbo's series. Every time I read your blog I come away with more books to add to my list. :)

    1. I have the same problem reading your blog, Lark!

  3. Hmm... I'll definitely give a miss for the first book. The second and third book sound interesting though so I might check them out.

    1. I want to read more Claire McGowan because I know she has more in this series already published. I'll have to wait at least a year, before Carbo finishes another book. :)

  4. I might read the first book if the opportunity arises. I used to read some Nordic Noir and am interested in finding new to me authors and series. Haven't tried the authors, Fossum et al, you listed though certainly heard of them. Is there one or two authors you would recommend as very readable? Just wondering...

    I love Claire McGowan and purchased the third book in this series to read soon. I'm pacing myself with her to not burn out :)

    And Carbo, she caught my eye last year but I was waiting to see if anyone else I trusted read and reviewed her. You are the first person I know who did, so yes, I'm in for her two books!

    1. I've enjoyed books by all of the authors I mentioned and have reviewed them here--hard to decide which I like best. I enjoyed Asa Larsson's first book and think her books have only improved through time.

      I'm going to look for the next McGowan at the library--hoping I don't have to buy it!

  5. All three of these look good! So many books to check out!

  6. I've noticed that with some translated mysteries that the American publishers do not always publish the books in order. I used to read more Scandavian mysteries, but kind of got away from them. I do enjoy them still though. The Lost and Mortal Falls intrigue me. Both sound good.

    1. I've noticed that as well, Wendy. I wonder why they decide to publish out of order. It doesn't always make a difference as many function quite well as stand-alones, but it is always nice to begin at the beginning.

  7. I will definitely check out the Claire McGowan series. I am also very intrigued by Mortal Fall. I enjoyed Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series, and I'd love to latch onto another series that explores national parks.

    1. I was sad that I couldn't find a copy of the next one in McGowan's series at the library. Guess I'll eventually have to make a purchase. :) I've enjoyed watching Anna Pigeon move from park to park!

  8. I think publishers just have to put that on any new Scandinavian book that is translated! :)

    I haven't read any of these series but would definitely give them a go. Love me some mysteries!