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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good people? Bad people?
First let me begin by pointing out something that will become obvious to anyone who reads the book but isn't obvious from the way Larsson's books are marketed (which emphasises their religious/ritualistic aspect): this is not Dan Brown with added reindeer.

Larsson is a student of human psychology: the complexity of relationships; the way in which well intended...
Published on 27 Jun. 2010 by BlueSkiesForever

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped
Not a very good follow up to the first book. I don't know if it's a problem with the translation but the grammatical structure of so much of the book is flawed: 'She sets off at a slow trot. Travelling in one direction. Yearning to be going the other way. She has lived here. She will survive there.' I found this quite tiresome after the first few chapters and won't...
Published 7 months ago by alderfire


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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good people? Bad people?, 27 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Blood Spilt (Paperback)
First let me begin by pointing out something that will become obvious to anyone who reads the book but isn't obvious from the way Larsson's books are marketed (which emphasises their religious/ritualistic aspect): this is not Dan Brown with added reindeer.

Larsson is a student of human psychology: the complexity of relationships; the way in which well intended actions can have catastrophic consequences; the lives lived on a knife edge of emotional tension; and the secrets hidden behind a veil of conformity.

Bitterest of all, she illuminates the cruel irony by which those gifted with the ability to love everyone can lack the ability to love anyone, any particular person that is - and indeed can fail to understand people as individuals rather than a concept.

Cruelty is a defining feature of Larsson's world: murderers kill in cruel ways and animals and vulnerable human beings suffer cruel, undeserved fates. This makes for some disturbing reading. Strangely, the book as a whole is rather beautiful - almost poetically so - and this is only partly due to the wild setting in northern Sweden.

As for the whodunnit aspect of the story, it's not the hardest mystery to untangle. But then that's not the mystery Larsson's interested in: how did it happen? she asks. And why?
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Asa Larsson - The Blood Spilt, 29 July 2007
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blood Spilt (Hardcover)
Bravely, Asa Larsson begins her second book in exactly the same way as her first: with a religious leader found dead in a church. You'd think it might be asking for trouble, concocting a plot so similar to her debut novel, when most writers would try to do something markedly different for their second novel so as not to repeat themselves. However, somehow Larsson pulls it off, as there's no sense of repetition.

One morning a female priest is found hanging by a chain in the local church. Mildred Nilsson has made friends and enemies in equal measure since her posting. A staunch feminist, she has put together a popular local women's group, but has also managed to alienate most of the village's men. She's also endeavoured to set up a wildlife fund to help a local lone she-wolf that has somehow found its home in the local wood, and this has upset many of the local priests. So, there isn't a particular shortage of suspects.

However, no progress is made on the investigation for three months, and it is gradually stepped down. Inspector Anna-Maria Mella returns to work from maternity leave, and is given the case alone to ease her back into the job. A combination of that, and the return to the area of Rebecka Martinsson (who comes for work and stays to get away), kicks the case into touch again. It's when Rebecka finds that Mildred Nilsson had a locker in the parish office, that no one has told the police about, that she starts to get dragged into the case.

I have had a mixed reaction to both Larsson's books so far. On the one hand, she has some excellent qualities as a writer: she has a real understanding of human relationships and motivations, and a good handle on the dynamics of relationship conflict in particular. She writes excellently, also, about Northern Sweden, and the world of tax finance which provides the rationale for Rebecka's initial involvement. Indeed, the financial aspects (and I don't at all mean to convey the impression that they are large aspects, but they're still present) are authentic and also human rather than dry. She also has an immense sensitivity to character. Indeed, both novels so far have been character rather than plot driven, and this is where my misgivings lie. Excellent at she is at character, the focus is perhaps too great, off-balance. I have got the feeling, in both books, that we don't get the real meat of the story. (Also what doesn't help is a protagonist who isn't really involved that heavily in the crime or its investigation.)

There's a high intimacy in the writing with all the characters, which means that, as well as a lack of focus on plot (and its development), we actually feel distanced, rather than close, because we experience every character at an equal level of depth. There's no particular attachment to the protagonist, or any other character. I found it quite strange, I must admit, to feel at a distance through being placed so close. Larsson also seems to invest her police investigators with a remarkable lack of knowledge about police procedure: on at least one occasion they seem not to even consider that they might need a warrant, and on another they also almost forget to have a guardian present when interviewing a minor. It's a small point, indeed, but it still struck me as strange.

The result of not really feeling close to the plot is that you never really get the sense you're actually reading a mystery, and it's a strange feeling indeed. It also means there's a distinct lack of suspense, which is the most important criticism, and for all the blood, I found the book strangely anaemic. There's no real excitement, until a final burst of blood in the tense climax. However, I still quite enjoy her books, for reasons I don't really know. She certainly writes well, especially dialogue, and the book at no stage felt like a trial to read. I wouldn't place Larsson at the top of the tree of Scandinavian crime-writers, but she's certainly a worthwhile read, if not one to get passionate about.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Alpha female of crime fiction, 20 Oct. 2012
By 
Richard Latham (Burton on Trent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson 2) (Paperback)
A wonderful piece of writing.
After our first encounter with Rebecka Martinsson the story moves on with her trying to piece her life together in this second book.
Dark and broody. About place and the status quo. A novel again around the brutal killing of a priest.
Slowly we learn of the deceased's influence for good or ill on her flock and the influence she has on others and the various motives/responses she draws out of others who either love her or detest her in equal measure.
Beautifully told in terms of the surrounding countryside and the interaction of humankind and nature with special insights into this world through the contrasting fortunes of a wolf pack.
You journey backwards from the murder through the everyday recollections of the principle cast of characters - it seems the additional introduction of a fresh outsider, another woman in the form of our secretive recovering lawyer, Rebecka, brings about new memories, fresh evidence and growing tensions. These ultimately place her at a similar risk from the original killer who initially appears to have got away with murder.
A clever literary form that keeps the structure of the story compared to others who run parallel stories that merge at a later time. Larsson shows great skill as she weaves her narrative and has arrived as a major force in this difficult genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love all this series, 19 Jan. 2015
By 
F. Mckinney (uk) - See all my reviews
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I love all this series.Great characters ,and some real heartbreaking twists in this second book.Bear with it tho, the next book is better for Rebecka( thank goodness).The writing reminds me of Stephen King in his prime. You really care about the people and learn a lot about Scandi lifestyle and places.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Lapland setting is unusual and adds a good deal of atmosphere and colour to the crime theme ..., 29 July 2014
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I have decided to read all this series by Asa Larsson. She is a gifted author who gets inside the skin of all her characters, not just those in the lead. The Lapland setting is unusual and adds a good deal of atmosphere and colour to the crime theme around which each novel is built. This time the author returns to the revelation that the church is full of evil as well as good and that the guilty have a certain innocence. Clever and compelling this is a book well worth reading which will not disappoint. I would have given it five stars but for the fact that once again Rebecka Martinsson, the heroine, ends up badly injured in a final scene where the quality of the writing made the degree of personal violence unnecessary.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a dark eerie story, 27 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson 2) (Paperback)
i would not view this book as either a thriller or a mystery but rather a dark tale about a woman priest who affects the lives of many people . Larsson is interested in characters , in their minds , their dark secrets , in the wolves that hide in their hearts and what people are capable of doing to each other for love or hate . Rebecka Martinsson doesnt really appear in this strange tale very much . There are many others who have a louder voice . This wont be a story to please every one , but on a cold dark winters night it had me gripped .
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped, 7 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson 2) (Paperback)
Not a very good follow up to the first book. I don't know if it's a problem with the translation but the grammatical structure of so much of the book is flawed: 'She sets off at a slow trot. Travelling in one direction. Yearning to be going the other way. She has lived here. She will survive there.' I found this quite tiresome after the first few chapters and won't bother with any more Asa Larsson books but will stick to Camilla Lackberg, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Arnaldur Indridason all of whom write consistently well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit different, 31 July 2014
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A slightly unusual piece of detective fiction in that there is little explanation, you are just launched into the story, told from different perspectives. Even by the end you are not quite sure what happened to the main character to leave her in the state she is in. The basic plot of the story is perhaps a little far fetched, although no more so than many of this type. The combination of feminist vicar, reactionary men, a damaged lawyer and a grown up with the mind of a child is remarkably well handled.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great read, 4 Feb. 2013
By 
M. S. Patel "MSP" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Beautifully written/translated. Wonderful descriptions of northern sweden - makes you want to wrap up in thermals and go for a visit!
Quite dark - there are some scenes which are distressing to read as animal lover, but also seem to be written with a real empathy for animals. It is interesting to follow the development of Characters throughout this series of books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 23 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson 2) (Paperback)
I absolutely loved this book and actually read it in one day funnily enough flying to Sweden! I did'nt get as far as Kiruna but it really made me visualise the setting in a new way.Good story line and exciting enough to not want to put down, i have ordered the next book and look forward to reading more by this talented authoress.Great book!
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The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson 2)
The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson 2) by Asa Larsson (Paperback - 5 July 2012)
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