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On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled–and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Åsa Larsson’s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation. Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in di On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled–and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Åsa Larsson’s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation. Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess.... From the Hardcover edition.


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On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled–and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Åsa Larsson’s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation. Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in di On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled–and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Åsa Larsson’s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation. Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess.... From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Sun Storm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    I needed to find a first-in-a-series book to read and had a hankering to read a crime novel. Having not previously read a Scandinavian crime book, I thought this was as good a time as any to give one a try. The thought of some astonishing landscape thrown into the mix appealed to me as well. I grabbed Sun Storm since it was readily available and I was happily entertained. "The Aurora Borealis twists and turns like a dragon in the night sky. Stars and planets are compelled to give way to her, this I needed to find a first-in-a-series book to read and had a hankering to read a crime novel. Having not previously read a Scandinavian crime book, I thought this was as good a time as any to give one a try. The thought of some astonishing landscape thrown into the mix appealed to me as well. I grabbed Sun Storm since it was readily available and I was happily entertained. "The Aurora Borealis twists and turns like a dragon in the night sky. Stars and planets are compelled to give way to her, this great miracle of shimmering light, as she makes her unhurried way across the vault of heaven." This stunning phenomenon endures even as the prominent evangelist Viktor Strandgard lays dying on the floor of his beloved church of The Source of All Our Strength set atop a hill in Kiruna, Sweden. Viktor Strandgard is eventually found dead by his sister, Sanna, who goes to the church following a bedside vision of her brother. Fearing for herself and her two daughters, Sanna contacts her old friend Rebecka Martinsson. A former member of this fundamentalist church, Rebecka is forced to face some stinging memories that she thought were finally behind her. As Sanna finds herself a possible suspect in Viktor's murder, Rebecka finds her role as a Stockholm tax attorney perhaps not quite suited to representing a "friend" with whom she has a very tenuous relationship at best. But Sanna is counting on their old bond and entrusts her case as well as the care of her young daughters to Rebecka. Enter Anna-Maria and Sven-Erik, two investigators assigned to the case. I really liked Anna-Maria – pregnant, she has been placed on desk duty but still seems to be all too eager to get to the bottom of this case and away from her desk. She's one tough woman! Nothing seems to intimidate her, including the overly zealous band of hypocritical and evasive pastors of The Source of All Our Strength. Rebecka, too, must confront this group and does so with the strength of several years of animosity stemming from her history with the church and these leaders. I'm not quite certain of my feelings for Rebecka. I was definitely in her corner, but she was not always very likeable. Her caring for the little girls was commendable and her determination was admirable, but I couldn't always tolerate her personality. Perhaps she would grow on me in later installments of the series. Overall, this was fast-paced, reasonably gruesome, and ultimately satisfying as a diversion from my usual form of reading. I have come to realize that I need to pick up a good mystery/crime novel from time to time. I enjoyed trying to guess whodunit and this book definitely kept me on my toes. It took me a decent amount of time to figure things out. The last part of the book, even if not completely believable, was tense and exciting! Throw in some fabulous scenes of the Aurora Borealis and the lonesomeness and desolation of the expansiveness of the snowy landscape and you have a respectable, solid start to this series. 3 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I can't believe the high ratings. I am so disappointed by this. It's extremely bad written, and 80% of the book is just uninteresting. The ending was laughable at least. No one would believe that. I absolutely hated all the characters with no exception. All of them were flat and unrealistic. And I dunno why they are swearing all the single time. I found them to be rude, unpolite, and disgusting. Especially hated Rebecka and Sanna. Rebecka was extremely annoying as a main character. She doesn't h I can't believe the high ratings. I am so disappointed by this. It's extremely bad written, and 80% of the book is just uninteresting. The ending was laughable at least. No one would believe that. I absolutely hated all the characters with no exception. All of them were flat and unrealistic. And I dunno why they are swearing all the single time. I found them to be rude, unpolite, and disgusting. Especially hated Rebecka and Sanna. Rebecka was extremely annoying as a main character. She doesn't have charisma or a good personality: she seems angry all the time and is pretty stupid and boring for being likeable. Another thing that annoys me is that there is no investigation at all. I don't care if the characters are playing with their dog one entire chapter or doing other boring actions that have no relation with the main mystery. So yeah, the whole book is all about random stuff the characters do, and at the very end, the "clever" Rebecka sees a connection and finds out who the murderer is. And with no investigation whatsoever. Like if someone would believe that. I am done with this author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I've been on a Scandinavian writers' kick since I read and fell hard for 'Out Stealing Horses,' by Per Petterson last August. After reading all three of Petterson's books, (reviewing so far only the first,) I turned to the genre which Nordic writers seem to dominate these days---the suspense novel. A recent trip to Iceland prompted me to pick up first 'Voices,' by Arnaldur Indridason, which I intend later to write about, but will just say for now that it is a subject on which I am emphatically t I've been on a Scandinavian writers' kick since I read and fell hard for 'Out Stealing Horses,' by Per Petterson last August. After reading all three of Petterson's books, (reviewing so far only the first,) I turned to the genre which Nordic writers seem to dominate these days---the suspense novel. A recent trip to Iceland prompted me to pick up first 'Voices,' by Arnaldur Indridason, which I intend later to write about, but will just say for now that it is a subject on which I am emphatically tepid. Next, I turned to Stieg Larsson's 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,'which, with his 'Girl Who Played with Fire,' I praised highly here. Mari Jungstedts's three Anders Knutas thrillers came next---reviews to appear, but I've got to write them first, don't I? I've just now finished Asa Larsson's 'The Sun Storm,' and felt it was just too good to push aside to write about at some later, maybe neverish, time. Of course, YOU don't want to read about someone who's had his eyes gouged out (and that was the least of his worries), nor do you want to read about a pack of crazed Swedish fundamentalist Christians, but don't let that stop you from picking up this book. It was not the dream of my lifetime to read about those things, either. But the novel opens with a stunning description of the aurora borealis and works its way past the blood and gore to characters and a plot that gain in strength and lucidity and momentum to the extent that I couldn't put 'Sun Storm' down. This is Asa Larsson's first novel and it certainly isn't perfectly written. Its worst moments are better than many successful writers' best ones, though. If you want more info on the plot and things, you'll have to look elsewhere. I'll just say that in Rebecka Martinsson I found the best female protagonist I've encountered in a very long time. Larsson has a profound understanding of the human psyche and a powerful way of writing about it. It's not an easy book to read, but you've guessed that. Okay, but read it anyway. I've just ordered the sequel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    Sun Storm by Asa Larsson, audiobook version. A popular young priest is brutally murdered in his church in northern Sweden, and his sister who found the body is accused. Sanna Strandgord turns to her friend, attorney Rebecca Martinsson for help. Martinsson is a tax attorney and has no experience with high profile murder investigations. But Rebecca is smart and tough and goes to work. To say this is a thriller would be putting it mildly. The characters are well developed and our heroine is admirab Sun Storm by Asa Larsson, audiobook version. A popular young priest is brutally murdered in his church in northern Sweden, and his sister who found the body is accused. Sanna Strandgord turns to her friend, attorney Rebecca Martinsson for help. Martinsson is a tax attorney and has no experience with high profile murder investigations. But Rebecca is smart and tough and goes to work. To say this is a thriller would be putting it mildly. The characters are well developed and our heroine is admirable and will not be pushed around. The setting is Sweden in winter where there is bitter cold, constant snow and the aurora borealis is highly visible. Another key character is the church itself where Victor Strandgord was murdered. The other priests have built quite a business around the church and use “God’s Word” to justify graft, tax evasion and even murder. I have enjoyed a number of Swedish authors and Asa Larsson has put together a terrific first novel. Highly recommended

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    There probably is a bit too much exposition. But if you can't remember when you last got more than about 5 hours sleep, that is, frankly, absolutely fine. You'd miss anything more subtle. Unless, possibly, you're the ghost of Maggie Thatcher. Can't put my finger on why, but I found this a little more clumsy and infodumping than Anne Holt. This one, in fairness, is a first novel and I've only read Holt's later books. The crime is a typically bizarre and fantastical event - the murder and dismemberm There probably is a bit too much exposition. But if you can't remember when you last got more than about 5 hours sleep, that is, frankly, absolutely fine. You'd miss anything more subtle. Unless, possibly, you're the ghost of Maggie Thatcher. Can't put my finger on why, but I found this a little more clumsy and infodumping than Anne Holt. This one, in fairness, is a first novel and I've only read Holt's later books. The crime is a typically bizarre and fantastical event - the murder and dismemberment of a beautiful man who was the figurehead of a cultish evangelical-type church in the far north of Sweden. (The first chapter tells us that he was unconscious or dead before the really gory stuff happened, which makes it somewhat less horrible. There also isn't a huge amount of detail about the mutilation and we hear about how hideous it is more via living characters' reactions than through descriptions of the corpse.) It's common for murder mysteries to have a female victim who's portrayed as alluring; this is the first time I can recall one featuring a man who's considered hot by one or more characters (also inaccessible and ethereal due to his religious asceticism). Making it even more of a role reversal, he was once romantically rejected by the central detective characters, Stockholm lawyer Rebecka Martinsson, when they were both small-town teenagers. One of the main reasons I'm reading these things, aside from the armchair tourism, is for the normal-working-life aspect of the investigators and supporting characters, it's mostly about work rather than the endless cooking and ruminating scenes that populate the mundane side of litfic, and seem somehow less realistic in terms of what takes up the headspace of someone who actually has a job. Thrillers and crime fiction are mostly about people doing stuff, literary fiction about thinking. (Sometimes you want a break from all that second-hand thinking.) Some aspects of the investigators' private lives may be a little soapy, but there is something normal about them - in massive contrast to the crimes. That aspect I'm less keen on - though at least their removal from reality must make them less threatening to many readers. Whilst physically possible, they seem not a great deal more realistic than wizards and ghosts - something I hadn't quite realised before this year, not having read much crime fiction in book form since my teens, and which I'm surprised isn't pointed out more often. The action-thriller denouement of The Savage Altar was great fun - however I have a lot of respect for the storylines featuring grubby regional news kind of crimes in the Danish series Unit One; I also like social realism in an easily readable form alongside vicarious travel. It's understandable that some reviewers don't much like Rebecka: she snaps at people frequently, she's irritable about 70% of the time, spends another 10% strongarming situations her way by quoting legislation, and if someone wants to compliment her, they call her 'fierce'. But "nice cop" DI Anna-Maria Mella is also there as a balancing force in the narrative. (It's interesting to have two parallel investigations going on where the author doesn't favour one character over the other, this is no Holmes v LeStrade setup although Martinsson doesn't see it that way.) Like Sarah Lund, Martinsson reminds me of my mother as I saw her when I was a kid, not in a way that's weird or uncomfortable, but enough that on a deep level she strikes me as unusually realistic because of a primal sense that "that's what grownups are really like", especially as regards work and dealing with people in public. Though of course, a lot of them aren't. Four stars because I enjoyed its cheesy B-movie imperfections and excellent showdown. Having ended up with three of this series unread - 2 & 3 on special offer, got 1 to start in the right place - I'm really looking forward to reading about Martinsson and Mella again (which is more than I could say for Anne Holt's Johanne Vik, whose series I started in the same way). I suspected that I'd find the sort of female characters I wanted to hear about in crime novels more than I did in litfic - where the emphasis is on what they're doing, not a set of ideas about Being A Woman that I'm expected to relate to but don't - and here I was right. And four stars proudly because I don't want to modify based on 'perceived quality' in a nod to snobbery. Optional rant under spoiler tag. (view spoiler)[At the moment I'm sick of sustained posts about humourless and unapologetic snobbery and especially the promotion of it on Goodreads as something to grow into, not out of. (Me aged 18 would have fit in with it much better...) Yes, reading more can refine taste, and that's fine but what happened to all the other broadening of human understanding and wisdom that reading allegedly promotes? If a hobby runner said that anyone who couldn't run a 10k in under 40 mins was an embarrassing weakling, it would be perfectly obvious to people on here what that looked like. That they weren't actually diminished by others' slowness, and that they were unnecessarily dismissive, by applying one measure of worth that's irrelevant to many, of people who never had an ability they happened to have, of those who had it latently but preferred to or had to deploy their energies elsewhere, and those who no longer could, temporarily or permanently. However, I shall still roll my eyes at those who are so PC that they believe that the words 'idiot' or 'stupid' should be excised from one's vocabulary. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    3.5 stars After encountering the feisty Rebecka Martinsson in the fifth outing of this series and enjoying it immensely, it is interesting to see how Åsa Larsson's writing has acquired a certain polish as this series has progressed. At times I felt like the narrative in this first outing was a little awkward, the character of Rebecka Martinsson still carving out a role and personality for herself, whilst also being faced with the unenviable task of returning to a childhood home that she was effec 3.5 stars After encountering the feisty Rebecka Martinsson in the fifth outing of this series and enjoying it immensely, it is interesting to see how Åsa Larsson's writing has acquired a certain polish as this series has progressed. At times I felt like the narrative in this first outing was a little awkward, the character of Rebecka Martinsson still carving out a role and personality for herself, whilst also being faced with the unenviable task of returning to a childhood home that she was effectively cast out of a decade previously. Memories are raw for Rebecka and as Larsson ventures more deeply into Martinsson's claustrophobic home it isn't hard to see why her hackles are quickly raised and her outward demeanour is so prickly. At times the translation appears somewhat clunky and the narrative occasionally jarring, but all in all this is a highly competent debut which sees a tax lawyer in Stockholm break out of her predetermined role to return to a home town where she has plenty of unfinished business. Protagonist Rebecka Martinsson, is a tax lawyer who has seen her hard work take her from the northernmost town in Sweden (Kiruna) to a career in prestigious Stockholm law firm, Meijer and Ditzinger. Working seventy-hours a week to bill for an average of forty-two, Rebecka is living the life of a corporate bunny with a stressful workload, limited social fulfilment and nights of broken sleep. The shocking news of the murder of a religious celebrity in Kiruna, however, takes Rebecka right back to her earlier years when his identity is disclosed as Viktor Strandgård, a man who she knew well, along with his sister, Sanna. Having lost touch with her former friends when she was effectively ostracised from the town, she has no intentions of returning home but a call from Sanna, who discovered Viktor's mutilated body and has been identified as prime suspect sees Rebecka returning north. Contrary to all her intentions, Rebecka risks her job and forces herself to face the legacy of a past and confront the demons that drove her from the town and left her reputation in tatters but she is less certain that she will be able to help Sanna. A near death experience saw Viktor Strangård devote his life to God and instigate an impassioned Christian following in Kiruna, which involved unifying three separate churches. With a congregation of two-thousand, the combined entity, The Source of All Our Strength, is something of an institution that has secured the finances of its three full-time pastors, which the charismatic and manipulative Thomas Söderberg heads up. With the murder weapon and Viktor's bible found in the home of Sanna amounting to circumstantial evidence only, Rebecka is left to focusing on a possible motive and who might have framed Sanna for the murder. A close-lipped community makes things even tougher but threatening to expose some financial scandals proves fortuitous as the truth comes into sight. Admittedly there is little opportunity to see Rebecka do more than prying into tax/financial accounts and ruffling a few feathers. Sanna swings between truculent slights and silence and makes it difficult to believe a former close friendship ever existed between her and Rebecka. Given that Rebecka's specialism is in tax law her investigations are very intuitive and it proves easy to follow her logic. Taking on responsibility for Sanna's two daughters, Sara (11) and Lova (4) and keeping them out of the clutches of Sanna's domineering father, Olof Strandgärd, sees Rebecka return to her grandmothers remote home in Kurravarra and cabin in Jiekajärvi and forced to rely on her grandmothers elderly neighbour, Sivving. Investigating Inspector Anna-Maria Mella is heavily pregnant with her fourth child and her second in command, Sven-Erik Stålnacke officially takes the reins but is somewhat overawed by the press interest and defers to Mella. Inspector Fred Olsson and eager younger Sergeant Tommy Rantakyrö assist but it is jumped up Assistant Chief Prosector Carl von Post (aka von Pisspot) who sees this an opportunity to overturn his lowly outposting and get his talents recognised. Rebecka cooperates with Inspector Anna-Maria Mella who are both united in believing that Prosector Carl von Post is blinkered in his determination for a open and shut case and failing to see past Sanna as the guilty party. Much of this story felt very familiar but I think this was due to my reading in quick succession with another case which focused on a religious sect (The Inspector and Silence by Håkan Nesser). The unique setting and feel of an insular community is well conveyed but if there is one thing lacking it in interaction between characters which struggles to appear natural at times. Skipping to the fifth instalment, shows the considerable improvement in Larsson's writing but this relatively straightforward investigation with very few distractions works as an excellent introduction to the characters. Larsson leaves readers to piece together the fallout from the crime and impact on life in Kiruna but does hint at a future romance for Rebecka with her quick to inflame boss, Mäns Wenngren.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul Secor

    A fairly standard Swedish mystery. Nothing more - nothing less.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Black Dog Reviews

    Reading Swedish crime fiction makes me wonder: is Sweden really so full of murder and evilness? Or do the dark, cold winter days and nights encourage sinister novels focused on the dark area of the human psyche? Sun Storm, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award, deals with religion, hypocrisy, abuse, mental illness, and perhaps redemption over the course of the story. It’s setting of Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, is important. Its remoteness and isolation are integral to the s Reading Swedish crime fiction makes me wonder: is Sweden really so full of murder and evilness? Or do the dark, cold winter days and nights encourage sinister novels focused on the dark area of the human psyche? Sun Storm, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award, deals with religion, hypocrisy, abuse, mental illness, and perhaps redemption over the course of the story. It’s setting of Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, is important. Its remoteness and isolation are integral to the story. The story starts off when charismatic religious figure Viktor Strandgard is brutally murdered in the revivalist church he created, The Source of All Our Strength. Rebecca Martinsson returns to Kiruna, her hometown, to support Viktor’s sister. The reader slowly learns Rebecca’s past as she unravels the truth and protects Sanna’s children from multiple forms of evil. Pregnant inspector Anna-Maria, her counterpart Sven-Erik, and a blow-hard Assistant Chief Prosecutor round out the cast. Fans of Henning Mankell or Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy will appreciate Sun Storm.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Dark as the usual Scandinavian, but somehow this one has superior characterizations to more than equal the gritty. This new author is starting well with Sven-Erik, Rebecka, and Anna-Maria. Northern Sweden and the aurora borealis dance and flicker throughout. Yes, the characters are all considerably flawed and some not at all likeable. Not a cozy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Col

    Synopsis/blurb......... On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled - and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Ãsa Larsson's spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden's Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation. Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she'd left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, wh Synopsis/blurb......... On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled - and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Ãsa Larsson's spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden's Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation. Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she'd left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess... Well this was my first taste of another new female author and was my chosen Scandinavian read for the current month. I enjoyed it, though the first part of the book was a bit of a slog. If I’m truthful, I think this is more down to me rather than the author, particularly as the last 160-odd pages only took me a day to cover, as I became more absorbed in the story. On a personal level, my reading mojo appears to have deserted me this month. I‘m less driven to read at the minute and more easily distracted, tiredness seems to have over-taken me and whilst I will try and keep at it and read more this month, at the minute is seems to be less of a pleasure and more of a chore. I’m not beating myself up over it and I think I will give myself this month off from all my series reads and choose a bit more randomly for the last half of the month, with the hope of recapturing the elusive feel good factor. I sometimes think that by structuring my reading so rigidly eg next Block, next Crais, next Collins, next Scandinavian, I’ve limited my options and removed too much spontaneity from my selections. Anyway, back to Larsson’s book........I was interested in and liked the main character Rebecka, whose admirable loyalty towards Sanna was abused and taken advantage of. Intelligent and tenacious, she was brave enough to confront her past and face her demons in an effort to uncover the motive for Viktor’s death; believing her friend innocent of the crime. Larsson’s other characters were engaging and believable; especially Rebecka’s friend Sivving and the two police officers involved in the case. There was the token officious jobs-worth in the form of the prosecutor, but on the whole the characters were convincing. Overall, I found it fast-paced and enjoyable with a satisfying conclusion. I’m in two minds whether I will be back for further Martinsson books, mainly because I need to read some of the many already waiting for me. The others are: 2. The Blood Spilt (2007) 3. The Black Path (2008) 4. Until Thy Wrath be Past (2011) It might be worth noting that this has been published elsewhere under the title Sun Storm. 4 stars from 5 I’m unsure where or when I acquired my copy. http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I had to return this to the library once because I had checked it out for so long. I got laid off and suddenly found myself with more time... and thought a Fourth of July holiday at the beach was the most appropriate time to start a murder mystery set in the north of Sweden in the darkest, coldest parts of winter. Really liked the two main characters of this mystery. Rebecca Martinson is a likable lawyer who works too hard and tries too diligently to distance herself from her small town past in I had to return this to the library once because I had checked it out for so long. I got laid off and suddenly found myself with more time... and thought a Fourth of July holiday at the beach was the most appropriate time to start a murder mystery set in the north of Sweden in the darkest, coldest parts of winter. Really liked the two main characters of this mystery. Rebecca Martinson is a likable lawyer who works too hard and tries too diligently to distance herself from her small town past in the North. She's drawn back to her hometown by a childhood friend in trouble, Sanna... and we immediately understand why Rebecca has issues with this frail, manipulative beauty. Anna-Marie Mella aids, the lead detective, offers a smart, practical foil for Rebecca. Mella's pragmatic approach to the investigation makes the reader cheer for her, especially as she deals with blood and gore and pregnancy hormones. Interesting subject -- I'm a big fan of books about church scandals. I was fascinated by the evangelical movement in Sweden, especially given my own background in the Southern Baptist church. The conclusion wasn't a complete shock, but the rapid-fire action at the end made me gasp a few times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Manoela Padilh

    After the boom that was Stieg Larsson's trilogy, several Nordic authors began to gain knowledge in the international literary world. Åsa Larsson came in their midst, and with the good fortune to have the same surname as the master, compared with it in style and story. Good luck, I say, because if I knew how it was that book wouldn’t even started it. The main character is Rebecka Martinsson, a tax attorney from a firm in Stockholm. And by that I mean: an annoying girl who always seems to be a litt After the boom that was Stieg Larsson's trilogy, several Nordic authors began to gain knowledge in the international literary world. Åsa Larsson came in their midst, and with the good fortune to have the same surname as the master, compared with it in style and story. Good luck, I say, because if I knew how it was that book wouldn’t even started it. The main character is Rebecka Martinsson, a tax attorney from a firm in Stockholm. And by that I mean: an annoying girl who always seems to be a little irritated, without charisma and that doesn’t win the heart of the reader. Nothing of her personality or her past contribute to make us like her, or cheer for her deeds. I need to compare her to Lisbeth Salander, the anti-heroine of the Millennium trilogy, which unlike Rebecka, makes us like her with her unusual personality. After hearing about the brutal murder of Viktor Strandgärd, Rebecka goes back to her hometown, in a silent request from Viktor’s sister and her old friend, Sanna. She is psychologically shaken by the death of her brother, so much she can barely take care of her two daughters. Sanna's character can be the better characterized character in the entire book, but her attitudes and her personality almost make us want to tear the pages off and set if on fire. Some scenes are even ridiculous, as much as for the things that Sanna says or does as for the reactions of other characters to it. “Nice outfit,” sniggered Sanna. “It’s good to see you’ve adapted to the classic look up here so quickly.” “Still,” she sighed when Rebecka didn’t respond, “it’s lucky for the rest of us that most men like a girl with something to get hold of. Although of course I think it’s really attractive to be flat-chested like you.” Seriously? I wanted to tear my eyes off, and was still only the beginning of the book. Then, about a third of the book, I begin to wonder: where's the police investigation? That's what the book said it was, wasn’t? Big mistake. If there was some research in this book, it must have been lost in translation, because I found nothing that could compare to a real investigation story. There are some inspectors, officers and a prosecutor, but the only thing they did was put Sanna as one of the crime suspects. And that is how Rebecka see herself as Sanna’s lawyer, having to defend her and bear her sentimental instability. Because of her profession, she also decides to investigate the finances of the church that had been created by Viktor, and from which almost the whole city was adept. But here too, "investigate" is the wrong term. Rebecka seems to simply guess that there is something rotten in the city and again simply deduce correctly what it is. Research for what, right? But if you think that at least this weak and poorly structured plot is permeated by some good scenes and some action ... Forget it. The course of the book is just so boring to the point of the author spends a chapter talking about the character playing with the dog in the snow. I read a chapter and had no desire to read the next, simply because nothing significant happened to keep me interested in the book. Maybe I found the book a waste of time partly because I started reading thinking it was a kind of plot and it was totally different from what I wanted, but I believe the fault is also by the author. Some times, when there are animals or children, for example, the story changes completely and looks like a children's book, with attitudes that I can’t see an adult doing, or even an animal (also quite childish). Attitudes and actions of the characters that, to me, didn’t look very real, justified or logical ... And so on. I think that not even as a psychological thriller this is a good book, because it’s more like a bunched of moments with no relevance with some scattered memories of Rebecka’s past. The story unfolds very slowly, and only in the last 40 pages we can find something you may call "action." Still, there wasn’t a good ending, but too quick, dull, almost laughable. Definitely I have no intention of reading other books by the author, and not even ending this series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    What is it with these Nordic writers? I've read Steig Larsson's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jussi Adler-Olsen's 'The Keeper of Lost Causes,' and now, 'Sun Storm,' by Asa Larsson. They really have quite a flair for building a suspenseful story with characters who are intriguing, flawed, and intensely credible. Although, I haven't felt compelled to pick up the sequels to 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,' I enjoyed Steig Larsson's style of writing. 'The Keeper of Lost Causes,' and 'Sun Storm,' have What is it with these Nordic writers? I've read Steig Larsson's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jussi Adler-Olsen's 'The Keeper of Lost Causes,' and now, 'Sun Storm,' by Asa Larsson. They really have quite a flair for building a suspenseful story with characters who are intriguing, flawed, and intensely credible. Although, I haven't felt compelled to pick up the sequels to 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,' I enjoyed Steig Larsson's style of writing. 'The Keeper of Lost Causes,' and 'Sun Storm,' have been, for me, more enjoyable. However, 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,' was my first venture into crime and suspense novels by Nordic authors, so perhaps it was the one on which 'I cut my teeth.' When 'Sun Storm,' opens up, I'm swept up in the 5 star literary movement of Asa Larsson's beautiful language. The first line, "When Viktor Strandgard dies it is not, in fact, for the first time," invokes weighty mysteries. As Viktor lies dying in the Crystal Church, he contemplates the Aurora Borealis through the roof's windows. "And as if his thoughts have touched her, she (the Aurora Borealis) stops for a second. Breaks her endless journey. Contemplates VViktor Strandgard with her cold winter eyes. Because he is as beautiful as an icon lying there, to tell the truth, with the dark blood like a halo round his long, fair, St. Lucia hair. He can't feel his legs anymore. He is getting drowsy. There is no pain." The language catches me up like music, a beautiful heartrending melody of prose poetry. Asa Larsson's protagonist, Rebecka Martinsson, is a tax lawyer, as was Asa Larsson in a former life. Rebecka is called upon by Sanna Strandgard, Viktor's sister to come and help Sanna with the situation. So Rebecka leaves her job in Stockholm to travel to Kiruna, her childhood home, to aid an old friend. Pregnant Inspector Anna-Maria Mella, and her colleague, Sven-Erik Stalnacke, probe the details of the crime. Populating the story also, are the three pastors of 'The source of All Our Strength' church and their wives, and Sanna's children, Sara and Lova. Asa Larsson animates the story greatly with these secondary characters. The climate of Kiruna, as the northern most city in Sweden, also becomes a character in the story. By describing their clothing, the snow, the cabins, and how they travel on sledges, the reader becomes seeped in the setting. Here's an example of Asa Larsson's narrative style as she describes the landscape. "As a child she had often traveled the whole way from Kiruna down to the village on her kick sledge. It was a happy memory. Especially in the late winter when the road was covered with a wonderful layer of thick, shining ice, and nobody spoiled it with sand, salt, or grit. The moon lit up the snow-covered forest around her. The snowdrifts along the sides of the road formed a frame." Beautiful. This book has moments of profound greatness and beauty, and rates a 4.5. One critique of the story is that they're too many characters and that it's difficult to remember who's who because the names are so different. At the beginning of the story, when the characters are introduced, it is more challenging, but as the reader settles into the story, the extra work required to remember who Thomas, Vesa, Gunnar, Sven-Erik, and other Nordic characters are is well rewarded.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    An interesting, if somewhat disjointed story. I had a hard time putting all the pieces together, and I'm a great fan of mysteries/thrillers written by Scandinavian writers. This one was set in Sweden. Rebecka Martinsson is a tax lawyer who gets caught up in the defense of a young woman accused of her brother's murder. Said brother was one of those flamboyant, religious celebrities who act as 'lighthouses' for their newly created/discovered religion, one which purports to being the only 'true' rel An interesting, if somewhat disjointed story. I had a hard time putting all the pieces together, and I'm a great fan of mysteries/thrillers written by Scandinavian writers. This one was set in Sweden. Rebecka Martinsson is a tax lawyer who gets caught up in the defense of a young woman accused of her brother's murder. Said brother was one of those flamboyant, religious celebrities who act as 'lighthouses' for their newly created/discovered religion, one which purports to being the only 'true' religion, or church, the one which will change the world. Okay, right. And he's found dead, slaughtered and mutilated, in this religion's new church. He's not a minister, pastor, whatever, but he has been used to lure in the young and lost and always-seeking, fretful types who populate religions like this one. (Or in books like this one.) It's a cult, in other words, and Rebecka was once one of its most sterling members. The story's convoluted, with so many characters I DID make a cue card. There's another major player, a pregnant investigator, but her part is relatively minor compared to Rebecka's. Anyhow, there are various twists and turns, evidence hiding in plain sight, witnesses who lie and fabricate, etc. etc. I enjoyed the book, however, and did like Rebecka with her complex and unique back story. Ms. Larsson hasn't written many in this series, but I shall continue on with it - at least with those which have been translated from the Swedish. :D

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    First in the Rebecka Martinsson mystery series and revolving around a Stockholm lawyer in a personal crisis. It won the 2003 Swedish Crime Writers’ Association Prize for best debut novel. My Take It starts out very spookily as we read of the victim calmly embracing his death, and Larsson builds the tension with hints of past troubles, of religious issues, and parental abuse. There's a past here, a history that Rebecka has with the church. I'll admit to a prejudice against organized religion, so that First in the Rebecka Martinsson mystery series and revolving around a Stockholm lawyer in a personal crisis. It won the 2003 Swedish Crime Writers’ Association Prize for best debut novel. My Take It starts out very spookily as we read of the victim calmly embracing his death, and Larsson builds the tension with hints of past troubles, of religious issues, and parental abuse. There's a past here, a history that Rebecka has with the church. I'll admit to a prejudice against organized religion, so that colors what I think. The Catholic priests who abuse children and others, the preachers who abuse the trust of their congregation, and it's here in this story as well. The so-called Christianity that flies out the window as soon as desire rises up. Whether that desire is for power, money, lust, or fear. I've also got a built-in prejudice against von Post since I first encountered Larsson in her fifth book in this series, The Second Deadly Sin . He is the most incredibly disgusting jerk, and it's too much fun to read how disrespected he is, lol. Jeez, Måns is something of a jerk. Pulling her client out from under Rebecka. I'm not impressed with Sanna either. She wants so badly to keep her daughters and yet hasn't a clue or doesn't care enough to take care of them. She's such a weaselly immature, self-obsessed wimp! And she plays Rebecka like a virtuoso. I hate her passive-aggressive attacks on Rebecka. I just wanna smack her around. Then there are Sanna's parents. What a piece of work that father is! And there's some history they have against Rebecka too. Does this sound familiar? "Weak people are often drawn to the church. And people who want power over weak people are also drawn there." Sivving is an interesting character. He's warm and yet odd about how he lives in his house, an across-the-road neighbor to the older Martinssons. He has some lovely stories about her grandparents. About her grandfather Albert and his courtship of Theresia, how she won Albert's father's (Eric's) heart. The one problem I have with this story is Måns' interest in Rebecka. Larsson never makes this believable. In ANY way. As for Rebecka's acceptance…*eye roll*…gotta be that Scandinavian negativity. I dunno. I love Larsson's style. It's warm, cozy, and full of personalities. When you add in what we learn about Swedish culture and how different the police operate in Sweden, it simply becomes more fascinating, and Larsson keeps things much too interesting. The Story Having found her dead brother, Sanna Strandgård is terrified and begs Rebecka to come home, to represent her. To protect her children from her parents. It was Viktor’s death and revival that resurrected the churches around Kiruna, that revived the faith of the people. It was the church’s success that doomed the pastors’ families. It had been Rebecka’s love for God that sent her down the path to ruin. The Characters Rebecka Martinsson is a lawyer who specializes in tax law, working for Meijer & Ditzinger. She's inherited a share in her grandmother's house in Kurravaara, fifteen kilometers outside Kiruna. Uncle Affe and Inga-Lill hold the other share. Eric "Sivving" Fjällborg is her retired neighbor; Bella is his pointer bitch. Lena and Mats are his children; his wife, Maj-Lis died a few years ago. Mary Kuoppa keeps him in buns. Meijer & Ditzinger, the law firm Måns Wenngren is Rebecka's boss, a lawyer, and a partner with the law firm. He's also divorced with two sons, Johanne and Calle, and drinks too much. Madelene is his now ex-wife. Maria Taube is a fellow tax lawyer and friend. Sonia Berg is one of the secretaries. Law enforcement in Kiruna Inspector Anna-Maria Mella is usually team leader — when she's not being heavily pregnant; Inspector Sven-Erik Stålnacke is her partner and is supposed to be taking over during her leave. He also has a cat, Manne. Sergeant Tommy Rantakyrö and Inspector Fred Olsson are part of her team. Sonja works the switchboard. Simon Larsson is a crime scene photographer. The senior medical examiner is Lars Pohjanen; Anna Granlund is the autopsy technician. Assistant Chief Prosecutor Carl von Post has a problem with women in authority, heck, he just has a problem with women. He's an incompetent, attention-seeking jerk with delusions of competence. And the Swedish system appears to require a prosecutor to head investigative teams. Robert is Anna-Maria's husband and their children include Petter and Marcus. Viktor Strandgård, a.k.a., the Paradise Boy, is a well-known religious leader in Kiruna, mostly because he died and came back with a full report on life after death. His experience united three separate churches into one: The Source of All Our Strength. Sanna Strandgård is his sister. Sara and Lova are her daughters. Virku is their dog. Ronny Björnström is Sara's father; Sammy Andersson is Lova's. The Strandgård siblings' father, Olof, is abusive and a local politician with sway. Kristina is the cowed wife. The church, The Source of All Our Strength There are three pastors of the church: Thomas Söderberg was a pastor with the Mission Church; Gunnar Isaksson; and, Vesa Larsson, a former artist. Below them are five elders including Frans Zachrisson and Alf Hedman. Curt Bäckström is a hanger-on at the church and one of Sanna's admirers. Patrik Mattsson knows something. Ann-Gull Kyrö is the pastors' secretary. Thomas is married to Maja; Magdalena is her sister. They have two daughters: Rakel and Anna. Gunnar is married to Karin, and they have a daughter, Anna, and a son, Andreas. Astrid is Vesa's wife. Baloo is her undisciplined dog. Victory Print is the publishing company printing the books, pamphlets, and videotapes the Church sells. It was in Margareta Fransson's Religious Studies class that Nina Eriksson spoke up. It resulted in Viktor, Sanna, and Rebecka being part of the eleven at the Mission bible camp. The media Anders Grape is with Radio Sweden. Lena Westerberg is with TV3. The Cover The cover is bright with snow and bare trees caught up in the haze. Somehow, splotches of footprints trail off into the distance through the sky. I have no idea about the title, Sun Storm, unless it’s, possibly, a reference to Jesus as the Son of God and a storm is raging over this church.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Larsson's writing and language is a cut above most other Swedish mystery writers. The main character Rebecca Martinsson returns to her home town, a rural village. It is a place she has visited infrequently in the past 10 years and as the story unfolds,we find out her reasons. This small town has become well known for an evangelical mega-church which lies at the center of the murder and the unfolding mystery. The writing kept me turning pages. At time I had some difficulty keeping the characters Larsson's writing and language is a cut above most other Swedish mystery writers. The main character Rebecca Martinsson returns to her home town, a rural village. It is a place she has visited infrequently in the past 10 years and as the story unfolds,we find out her reasons. This small town has become well known for an evangelical mega-church which lies at the center of the murder and the unfolding mystery. The writing kept me turning pages. At time I had some difficulty keeping the characters straight because of similarities in their names, and not being accustomed to Swedish names.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Calzean

    There is a brutal murder in the first page. Then there is a lot of background into Rebecka Martinsson, a big city lawyer who returns to her remote home town of Kiruna to help the sister of the murder victim. There is also a lot of other background, I guess to fill in the characters who will be in the rest of the series. It is only in the second half of the book that the actual crime is featured which cumulates in a bloody ending. The main message is don't mess with Rebecka. There is a brutal murder in the first page. Then there is a lot of background into Rebecka Martinsson, a big city lawyer who returns to her remote home town of Kiruna to help the sister of the murder victim. There is also a lot of other background, I guess to fill in the characters who will be in the rest of the series. It is only in the second half of the book that the actual crime is featured which cumulates in a bloody ending. The main message is don't mess with Rebecka.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is the first book of Rebecka Martinsson series. Even if I liked it, there are some missing clues, such as: what happened with the kidnaped dog?? Moreover, the role as an attorney is not so well assigned to the main character.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana Ramos

    Although it was weird at first (I never read a book written by a Swedish author) I soon found myself entailed into the story. Rebecka was a very complex character and I loved that. Looking forward to read more from the series!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

    Åsa Larsson's debut novel, Sun Storm won Sweden's prize for best first crime novel--quite a distinction, if you consider how many excellent specimens come out of that country every year. It was perhaps this fact, and not the macabre plot description (or the fact that the heroine is a tax lawyer) that initially interested me in the novel. And I'm happy to say that all hyperbolic, hysteric plot devolutions aside (we'll get to these), this was a very enjoyable read. Sun Storm has a lot going for it: Åsa Larsson's debut novel, Sun Storm won Sweden's prize for best first crime novel--quite a distinction, if you consider how many excellent specimens come out of that country every year. It was perhaps this fact, and not the macabre plot description (or the fact that the heroine is a tax lawyer) that initially interested me in the novel. And I'm happy to say that all hyperbolic, hysteric plot devolutions aside (we'll get to these), this was a very enjoyable read. Sun Storm has a lot going for it: an austere, formidable wilderness setting, an elusive cast of characters, able prose, and a really well-wrought sense of interiority in many of the characters--not just in the protagonist, Rebeka Martinsson. At first, Larsson introduces each character in close 3rd, allowing the reader to get to know the person from their own thoughts. It's a compelling strategy not used often enough, in my humble view, and one particularly suited to crime fiction--think Blackwater. Unfortunately, Larsson appears to get bored jumping between characters, and about 1/3 of the way through decides to dispense with the regular perspective shifts all together. Occasionally, we're treated to the thoughts of someone other than Rebeka, but I found these moments--sitting in on the thoughts of a religious nut/homicidal maniac or listening to an unlikely love interest reveal his true feelings--a little empty and gratuitous. Larsson could have revealed these details in a more fluid fashion (or could have stuck with her multi-perspective narration more consistently) and the result would have been far more elegant. Given its subject matter--a member of a religious community-cum-money-making-cult is ritualistically murdered--Sun Storm does a fairly admirable job of respecting its own circumstances, rather than taking a wholly condemning line against the book's 'believers.' Granted, Rebeka is an outcast of the church, and almost all of the religious leaders are involved in some sort of corrupt behavior, but the novel at least introduces the world of this church with a certain amount of understanding in its mechanics, in the way in which a community of its kind can come into being, and what kind of purpose that community may give many of its members. Things start go astray at payoff time, however. One can almost envision Larsson writing a rough-draft of her climactic moment--piling on as much blood, guts, emotional baggage (abused children! the spiritual dilemma of the atheist! sexual betrayal!), and shoot-em-up fun as she could possibly imagine, and then not bothering to go back and edit anything out. And while the urge to be epic is certainly one I understand (sometimes enjoy quite a lot), it doesn't fit here at all. Firstly, what motives and circumstances are revealed in the 'Bad-Guy-Tells-All' scene (and not all of them are), don't quite jibe with what we know up to that point. Secondly, there's a little too much mayhem going on due to tax evasion. And thirdly, no one (view spoiler)[, no matter how badass, can crawl around and kill three people after being stabbed in the stomach. It's physically impossible in a world bound by physical rules. Maybe this type of Surprising Super Strength in a Tax Lawyer would be acceptable in a Sci Fi novel, but one needs to respect the laws of the world one has created and really, it just gets silly. For a fun, wintery read whilst soaking up some sun on a beach or a deck or a biergarten, however, Sun Storm delivers admirably. (hide spoiler)]

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Another Goodreads recommendation from the ever impressive Nordic/Scandinavian writers, the first in a series featuring a character called Rebecka Martinsson, a Stockholm Attorney who left her small town life behind her under a cloud of ill-will, but is now called back by an old childhood friend called Sanna, when she is accused of murdering her brother. Viktor, is a preacher in an amalgamated church group and he has been murdered in a most brutal and horrific manner and found by his sister in th Another Goodreads recommendation from the ever impressive Nordic/Scandinavian writers, the first in a series featuring a character called Rebecka Martinsson, a Stockholm Attorney who left her small town life behind her under a cloud of ill-will, but is now called back by an old childhood friend called Sanna, when she is accused of murdering her brother. Viktor, is a preacher in an amalgamated church group and he has been murdered in a most brutal and horrific manner and found by his sister in the church in the middle of the night. When the knife is found at her apartment, she is arrested and charged with the murder. Sanna is a complex character, she has two young children and a distant relationship with her parents, in particular, her father. She asks Rebecka to take care of the children and keep them as far away from her parents as possible, whilst also getting Rebecka to agree to looking into the circumstances of Viktor's death and proving her innocence. This book also goes under the title of "Savage Altar" by the way, as I had a problem getting it under the Sun Storm title. There is a back story into Rebecka's past in Kiruna and the reason she left there and also why she is not welcomed back by the church community. This back story also gives us a good view into Sanna's character and her relationship with Rebecka. I liked this book, and I would certainly follow the series. Another good writer to keep an eye on.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Silver

    WOW! I'm actually glad I read this one after the others: it's as if I'd met some people and knew a bit about them, and now we're sharing a bottle of wine, and I'm getting the detailed story about how it all began. Larsson's characters are so vivid, I keep thinking, I know that person, I know someone just like that! I love how the women have minds of their owns and don't react in a stereotypical way. What I loved best was that Larsson doesn't need to explain everything as they do in some mysteries WOW! I'm actually glad I read this one after the others: it's as if I'd met some people and knew a bit about them, and now we're sharing a bottle of wine, and I'm getting the detailed story about how it all began. Larsson's characters are so vivid, I keep thinking, I know that person, I know someone just like that! I love how the women have minds of their owns and don't react in a stereotypical way. What I loved best was that Larsson doesn't need to explain everything as they do in some mysteries. She credits the reader with enough imagination to figure it out, to speculate and add in details. It makes the story more powerful and more horrifying. Interesting about the brother/sister relationship which reoccurs in The Black Path. I always enjoy the pets in her books (though some passages were hard to read in this one). One of the most evocative scenes was Rebeckah's vision of her grandmother and Johanna. Larsson has a gift for description - each word is beautifully precise. If you like mysteries and books with realistic female characters, I highly recommend all of Larsson's work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ellie M

    This was a relatively easy read Scandi-crime novel - short chapters, story that flowed throughout and a good introduction to a new crime solver. It was also very atmospheric with fab descriptions of the Aurora Borealis and the snow. (I bought this book last Christmas for my husband and he enjoyed it as well. I bought it because, back in 2010, we went to Kiruna in Northern Sweden (in the Arctic Circle and Swedish Lappland) with the objective of seeing the Aurora Borealis. We were also there on th This was a relatively easy read Scandi-crime novel - short chapters, story that flowed throughout and a good introduction to a new crime solver. It was also very atmospheric with fab descriptions of the Aurora Borealis and the snow. (I bought this book last Christmas for my husband and he enjoyed it as well. I bought it because, back in 2010, we went to Kiruna in Northern Sweden (in the Arctic Circle and Swedish Lappland) with the objective of seeing the Aurora Borealis. We were also there on the premise that my brother-in-law would propose to his girlf of the time. We weren't disappointed and we did get to see the Aurora Borealis (we headed out to a National Park, took a ski-lift up a mountain in -30 degrees, and were treated to the most impressive display of the lights. Asa Larsson writes a lovely description of the lights snaking across the sky like a dragon. Very apt). As well as seeing the Aurora Borealis I was also proposed to so Kiruna, Northern Sweden, the Arctic Circle and Swedish Lappland are all very special places :-)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Richter

    Rebecka is a rather bored Tax Lawyer who world is turn upside down when a childhood friend is found dead. Asa Larsson has written a tightly wound mystery. If you are a fan of the Scandinavian mystery add this author to the list. A winning debut mystery and main character.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    When the leader of a weird cult in Northern Sweden is killed in a ritualistic way, the primary suspect is the victim's sister. She calls a hot shot attorney who just happens to be an ex-member of the cult. So we get the usual small town secrets. Not bad, but not a classic by any stretch. When the leader of a weird cult in Northern Sweden is killed in a ritualistic way, the primary suspect is the victim's sister. She calls a hot shot attorney who just happens to be an ex-member of the cult. So we get the usual small town secrets. Not bad, but not a classic by any stretch.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Martha Fiorentini

    Okay, but not nearly as good as other Nordic novelists that I have read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Roberts

    What a great first crime book! I noticed some weaknesses, but I couldn't stop reading. What a great first crime book! I noticed some weaknesses, but I couldn't stop reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    3.25, for me. Set in Sweden, and tells of a church with leaders who are corrupted by power, sex, and money.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    When she discovers the mutilated body of the revivalist preacher and her brother, Viktor, laid out in ritualistic style, on the floor of The Source of All Our Strength church, Sanna turns to her old friend Rebecka Martinsson for support. Despite her demanding work schedule as a Tax lawyer in a large law practice in Stockholm, and her reservations about her own past in connection with the church, Rebecka heads back to the small town and community to help. The chief prosecutor on the case seems to When she discovers the mutilated body of the revivalist preacher and her brother, Viktor, laid out in ritualistic style, on the floor of The Source of All Our Strength church, Sanna turns to her old friend Rebecka Martinsson for support. Despite her demanding work schedule as a Tax lawyer in a large law practice in Stockholm, and her reservations about her own past in connection with the church, Rebecka heads back to the small town and community to help. The chief prosecutor on the case seems to have already decided that Sanna is guilty and she is charged after vital evidence is found hidden in her home. Rebecka reluctantly finds herself trying to provide legal and emotional support to the emotionally fragile Sanna as well as care for her friend's two daughters and keep everyone safe. Inspector Anna-Maria Mella shares Rebecka's doubts over Sanna's guilt and despite her own very advanced pregnancy, stays working on the case right up to the birth of her own baby. There's a very dark, subdued aura hanging over SUN STORM. The setting is freezing, snowed-in small-town Sweden. The atmosphere around the church is equally dark and foreboding. The relationship between Rebecka and Sanna is difficult, each has some past baggage of joint and separate experience of the church, Sanna's family and personal events which tore them apart and turned Rebecka into an outcast from the community years ago. The interesting thing about SUN STORM is the strength of the writing and the story being told. The two central characters, Sanna and Rebecka are equally unsympathetic, almost unlikeable. Despite that, they are engaging and you are kept reading to find out the truth of what is really going on. The atmosphere is oppressive, sad, everyone seems to be damaged, troubled, unhappy or questioning, and yet the reader is pulled through the story. As a card carrying member of the "dead people: fine, harmed animals: bad" sector of crime fiction fans, even the albeit brief and off-camera fate of an engaging pet dog, whilst shocking, is probably more distressing because of the reactions of the central characters. An intriguing and ambiguous ending is the perfect finish for a story in which characters are living lives that are real, complicated, challenging and raw. Highly recommended for readers who like their fiction to challenge them, make them think and don't mind the story staying with them way after the book itself has gone.

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