Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Midwinter Blood by Mons Kallentoft

Meet Malin Fors. Be careful, though, she’s addictive. Thirty-four years old, blond, single, divorced with a teenaged daughter, Fors is the most driven superintendent who has ever worked at the police force in her small, isolated town. And the most talented. In her job, she is constantly moving through the borderland between life and death. Her path in life is violent and hazardous.

It is the coldest February in recent memory. In the early hours of a particularly frigid night, the body of an obese man is found hanging from lone oak tree in the middle of a withered, windswept plain. Malin Fors is called to the scene.

Together with her colleagues of the Violent Crime Squad at Linköping Police Department, they must find out who the man in the tree is, and how he got there. Their manhunt in the frigid wake of a ruthless killer brings Malin Fors to the brink, and into some of the darkest corners of the human heart. The first in a series of four books, Midwinter Blood will keep readers coming back for more, again and again.

This book took me a little by surprise. I expected a straight-forward thriller, but instead got a beautifully written, almost literary mystery.

The atmosphere the author creates in this book is fantastic. The cold winter landscape seeps into every page, into every character’s consciousness, making it almost another character itself. Malin Fors, the protagonist, is an interesting one. Thankfully, she is not a walking cliché of dysfunction, as many of the cops or detectives in thrillers tend to be, but she’s also not a completely free of some bad habits. The author manages to create a balance where we feel her vulnerability without feeling she’s completely losing her mind as can happen in some books. This gives us a bit of security in the narrative.

The plot is complex, and though not entirely original, the writing is beautiful enough to make it worth picking up. I do wish the author tied up some loose ends a bit better, especially about the whole midwinter blood ritual. We are left kind of dangling about that.

This is not just any thriller. Although it has been compared to Stieg Larsson’s books, this one is so much better, not as slow paced, or dry. The way the author handles the narrative is impressive and I do recommend this to all of you who like thrillers as well as to you who just love a good story.

1 comment:

Blogger10 said...

Better than Larsson? I am definitely intrigued! Thanks for sharing your review.