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 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 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 wantinfo 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 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 A fairly standard Swedish mystery Nothingnothing less. 3.5 starsAfter encountering the feisty Rebecka Martinsson in the fifth outing of this series and enjoying it immensely, it is interesting to see how sa 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 starsAfter encountering the feisty Rebecka Martinsson in the fifth outing of this series and enjoying it immensely, it is interesting to see how sa 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 venturesdeeply 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 Strandg rd, 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 Strang rd 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 S derberg 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 dothan 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 Strandg rd, sees Rebecka return to her grandmothers remote home in Kurravarra and cabin in Jiekaj rvi 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 St lnacke officially takes the reins but is somewhat overawed by the press interest and defers to Mella Inspector Fred Olsson and eager younger Sergeant Tommy Rantakyr 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 H kan 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, M ns Wenngren 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 fallSo begins sa Larsson s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensationRebecka 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 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 There probably is a bit too much exposition But if you can t remember when you last gotthan about 5 hours sleep, that is, frankly, absolutely fine You d miss anythingsubtle Unless, possibly, you re the ghost of Maggie Thatcher.Can t put my finger on why, but I found this a littleclumsy 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 gotthan about 5 hours sleep, that is, frankly, absolutely fine You d miss anythingsubtle Unless, possibly, you re the ghost of Maggie Thatcher.Can t put my finger on why, but I found this a littleclumsy 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 isvia 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 orcharacters also inaccessible and ethereal due to his religious asceticism Making it evenof 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 dealrealistic 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 outoften 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 isthan 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 novelsthan 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, readingcan 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 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 withtime 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 withtime 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