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Sort sti (edition 2008)

by Åsa Larsson

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The Black Path by Åsa Larsson

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English (15)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (24)
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One night the body of a woman is discovered in an ice fishing hut near Kiruna in northern Sweden. Inspector Anna-Maria Mella and her colleague Sven-Erik Stalnacke soon discover the body is that of Inna Wattrang, a senior executive with Kallis Mining company but they can’t so easily learn who killed her. Was it her brother Diddi? Her boss Mauri Kallis? One of the many men she was intimate with? Or something to do with the company’s dealings in strife-torn Uganda? The police meet a wall of silence when trying to interview Inna Wattrang’s family and associates so can only piece together the case slowly.

Åsa Larsson creates memorable characters like few other people I’ve read. In this book, the third of what Larsson says is a 6-book series, there are half a dozen people who slowly but intriguingly reveal themselves over the course of the book. There’s Rebecka Martinsson, the main protagonist of the series, who is struggling with depression after the events of the previous two books. At the beginning of the book she is institutionalised and throughout the story she continues to struggle in a very realistic way. Each of the other characters also displays their own psychological problems including Inna’s brother Diddi whose dependence on drugs makes him increasingly erratic. Mauri Kallis and his sister Ester had separate but equally fractured upbringing and this plays out in the disturbed adults both have become. Somehow Larsson made me feel as if I were inside the heads of this disparate and disturbed group of people and their different perspectives on their worlds were utterly fascinating.

For 90% of this book the plot builds at a steady pace with details being teased out gently as each person’s story adds another morsel. Unfortunately the final 10% reads a bit like someone bought Michael Bey in to finish it off and the high-action sequences offer a jarring conclusion to an otherwise excellent story. It’s not that I’m opposed to thriller-style endings but sometimes they are out-of-place.

I certainly don’t subscribe to the view that all Scandinavian crime fiction is bleak but this is one title that does fit that category. Even the usually optimistic and upbeat Anna-Maria Mella has her share of gloomy moments in this book and I have to say it was nice to be able to walk out into the bright Australian summer sunshine after finishing. However, don’t be turned off by the dark nature of this superbly translated tale because it contains some of the finest characters you’ll read: you probably won’t like them all but I doubt you’ll forget any of them in a hurry. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Mejor principio que final. Va perdiendo fuerza en el último tercio de la novela...igual entretenida. ( )
  lsante | Oct 10, 2012 |
There were a number of reasons why this book took me longer than usual to read. Apart from the fact that it is quite long, it also has quite a panoply of characters, and a multiplicity of small intermeshing plots. And characters and scenes are richly described, with details that had me re-reading paragraphs in the hope that I wouldn't forget too much.

There's a reminder at the beginning of the book about what had happened to Rebekah Martinsson at the end of the previous one in the series (#2), and I needed that, as I hadn't read the book. In fact I've read #3 and #4 out of order, which is not to be recommended. During this book however we also learn quite a bit more about Rebekah's childhood and the demons she is currently facing.

There's a global aspect to THE BLACK PATH as Kallis Mining attempts to manipulate the politics in African countries for their own benefit. I thought the scenarios showed Asa Larsson's understanding of and interest in the political and economic forces behind globalisation. ( )
  smik | Sep 2, 2012 |
woman murdered is partner in company that has global issues; sister of company president was raised by Sami (Laplanders) and has visions of coming disaster. Not as good as the earlier book. ( )
  clgaines | Apr 19, 2012 |
Yet another top-notch Swedish thriller, this one hitting all the top notes of the genre -- a ghastly crime, a frozen setting, and a story that rockets through twists and turns of psychological suspense. The characters are vividly created, though even some of the "good guys" are flawed, and the prose is a delight to read. Top notch. ( )
  annbury | Sep 13, 2010 |
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Book description
sa Larsson writes very well. In short, she tells a good story and has expanded well on the character development from the earlier two novels. I find the entire series so much more satisfying than Donna Leon's series. Here, the political and religious comments are much more a part of the people, culture and character traits of the Swedes. I would strongly recommend this series, but it might be best to start at the beginning - with Sun Strom and then read The Blood Split. You can better understand what Rebecca is going through. Although in this 3rd novel, the author has expanded the lead characters to make the story much more interesting.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385341016, Paperback)

A grisly torture-murder, a haunting northern Sweden backdrop, and a dark drama of twisted sexuality collide memorably in Åsa Larsson’s masterpiece of suspense—a tale of menace, hope, longing, and darkness beyond imagining.

The dead woman was found on a frozen lake, her body riddled with evidence of torture. Instantly, Inspector Anna-Maria Mella knows she needs help. Because the dead woman—found in workout clothes with lacy underwear beneath them—was a key player in a mining company whose tentacles reach across the globe. Anna-Maria needs a lawyer to help explain some things—and she knows one of the best.

Attorney Rebecka Martinsson is desperate to get back to work, to feel alive again after a case that almost destroyed her. Soon Rebecka is prying into the affairs of the dead woman’s boss, the founder of Kallis Mining, whose relationship with his star employee was both complex and ominous. But what Rebecka and Anna-Maria are about to uncover—a tangled drama of secrets, perversion, and criminality—will lay bare a tale as shocking as it is sad…about a man’s obsession, a woman’s lonely death, and a killer’s cold, cold heart.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A grisly torture-murder, a haunting northern Sweden backdrop, and a dark drama of twisted sexuality collide in a masterpiece of suspense.

(summary from another edition)

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