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on 30 December 2013
Although a big fan of Scandinavian crime novels (from Lackberg to Mankell to Indridasun, etc.), I really struggled with this and gave up a third of the way through.
I thought the characterisation was shallow and at times odd, and the plot development (which at a third of the way through the book can be summarised as "brutal murder within irreligious cult/weird community") was way too slow for me.
Not for me.
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on 5 January 2017
It's Ok as a run-of-the-mill thriller. Nothing special - certainly way, way, below the quality of the Stieg Lasson's 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' trilogy. The plot is basic, although there are some interesting insights into Scandinavian life - do lawyers really start work at between 5 and 6am?! - and the list of suspects is limited, the characters being very two dimensional. OK for a quick read.
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on 19 February 2012
Of the Nordic authors currently competing for sales in the Scandinavian crime fiction market I think Asa Larsson is one of the best. This book, the first in a series featuring sleathette Rebecka Martinsson, is well-paced and revolves around a clever plot. The tension is sustained until an explosive denouement. A good book for a mid-haul flight maybe, preferably to somewhere cold.
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on 30 April 2012
this is an ok story , I liked a lot of the characters as they were different and also found the creepy religious element a good read , however and it is a big however I did think that the ending was exstremely silly and so I was left feeling rather irritated . I think its very much a womens thriller , but it lacks the true darkness of Jo Nesbo .
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on 16 March 2016
I didn't get a third of the way through this before I was thinking Karin Slaughter and Mo Hayder. This is not in the same league with any of the classy Scandinavian writers. The characters are dire, God is hard work and I'm gutted I spent cash money for it. How this got four or five stars is beyond me. I didn't finish it
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on 22 July 2008
The Savage Altar is the first in a series of thrillers to feature Rebecka Martinsson and is set in Sweden. It is a translation from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. How well the translation has been done, I don't know. Unfortunately, although it is published and printed in the United Kingdom, Penguin Books have opted for American spellings which I found not only tiresome but it also gave a false feeling to the narrative and slowed down the plotting.
Naturally there were Swedish references such as "....there's a Moomintrol on the other end", which I had to look up, these were fine, and added to rather than detracted from the authenticity. Larrson has an engaging style of writing which should encourage you to take an interest in her characters; unfortunately these are not particularly well drawn and are somewhat colourless. The character names were a problem for me, none had any resonance and it was difficult to keep track of who was who.
The author seems fixated on urination; both her female lead characters spend far too long in the bathroom (another Americanism) as does the unfortunate dog.
The strap line from the Sunday Telegraph says "A nail biting, suspense - filled mystery" I'm afraid I didn't find it so; I was two thirds through the book before things began to ignite. I will read the second in the series, just in case the fault is with this translation. Worth a read, but not wholeheartedly recommended.
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on 27 May 2013
A Scandinavian crime novel, the first featuring female protagonist Rebecka Martinsson, a young lawyer dragged back to the close claustrophobic community of her childhood from her high powered life in Stockholm after a former close friends brother is brutally murdered. An easy but good read.
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on 19 March 2016
I've just started reading this series and am enjoying getting to know the characters
This time it is not the (female)lead cop who is the dysfunctional character but another female lawyer, who just happens to get pulled into the crimes.
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on 6 November 2014
Excellent story with a gripping plot & well told. Short chapters kept changing from one character to another & had to keep reminding myself who exactly these people were - partly due to their Nordic names.
Will read more by this author.
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on 24 August 2015
I loved all Asa Larsson's book which I read one after the other I was so captivated by the characters and the couleur locale. The crime is incidental to the descriptions of a place and people hitherto unknown to me. Brilliant.
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