Black lies, red blood

Kjell Eriksson, 1953-

Book - 2014

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MYSTERY/Eriksson Kjell
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Mystery fiction
New York : Minotaur Books 2014.
First U.S. edition
Item Description
"A Thomas Dunne book."
Physical Description
311 pages ; 25 cm
Main Author
Kjell Eriksson, 1953- (-)
Other Authors
Paul R Norlén (translator)
Review by New York Times Review

"I don't believe in anything I can't shoot," is how Martins sums up his stance on the supernatural. But after his fanatically religious wife sends him packing for losing his faith, he finds himself with plenty of time to investigate the atheist deaths that have been troubling the bishop - which might be linked to the execution-style murders committed by a serial killer known as Saint Peter because he's dispatching saintly humanitarians to their heavenly reward. In any event, these dual investigations lead Martins deep into Gothic religious territory, where the power of prayer has somehow taken on the distinctly sinister connotation of "prayer as a lethal weapon." Gil Martins's terrorist investigations in modern-day Houston might seem worlds away from Bernie Gunther's undercover work in Nazi Germany. But both men are deeply conflicted about the ethics of crime and punishment, whether it's politically sanctioned violence committed by nations at war or faith-based murders executed in the name of a vengeful God. Despite the looming presence of evangelical megachurches, Martins's colleagues in the Bureau remain dubious about the God factor in the atheist murders. "Plenty of Texans don't believe in God," one fellow agent insists. "That's why we have so many guns. In case he's not there." JAN ELIZABETH WATSON casts a baleful eye on the singular, sometimes sinister bond between teacher and pupil in what has BECOME OF YOU (Dutton, $26.95), a shivery thriller set in the bucolic locale of a progressive girls' prep school in Dorset, Me. Vera Lundy may be too impressionable to be left in charge of a class of precocious teenage girls ("driven little overachievers all"). Her 10th-grade English class has signed on for "The Bell Jar," but before they can tuck into that jolly read they've got "The Catcher in the Rye" to absorb and analyze to the satisfaction of their new teacher. It's an interesting class, but Vera, an aficionado of true crime stories who is researching a book about a "minor" serial killer, is particularly drawn to Jensen Willard, a bright scholarship student and a gifted writer who shares her morbid literary tastes. Vera comes to know Jensen through the journal in which she records her opinions on her reading assignments - and other macabre thoughts that cross her mind, including fantasies of suicide. Watson develops their mutually manipulative relationship with such subtle skill that it's hard to tell exactly when things start to go terribly, tragically wrong. SOME WRITERS YOU read for story, some you read for content or style. Kjell Eriksson is a writer best read for sensibility. This Swedish author's police procedurals are as dark as any in the Nordic noir tradition, but their deep vein of compassion transforms them into something more warmblooded than your average cop novel. In Paul Norlen's translation of BLACK LIES, RED BLOOD (Thomas Dunne/Minotaur, $25.99), the Uppsala police force has two outstanding cases on its books - the murder of a homeless man and the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl - and the detectives are all moved by them in some way. Ola Haver regrets that the life of a nameless "old guy" had to end in such a "cold, windy and hard" place. Another officer sharply demands some respect for the murdered man's "brothers in misfortune" at the homeless shelter. And Ann Lindell actually breaks down and cries on the "numbingly beautiful day" when the missing teenager is found buried in the woods. It takes a tough cop to be this sensitive. BRED IN THE BONE (Atlantic Monthly, $24) is essentially two individual but intertwined personal narratives, wrapped around a gangster story and set in the Glasgow underworld. In present time, one colorful crime figure is eliminated in a dramatic fashion by another colorful crime figure. But the real story, far more twisted than some friendly little gang war, reaches back into the past to establish certain previously undisclosed connections between the two not entirely chummy central figures in Christopher Brookmyre's crime series: Jasmine Sharp, a failed actor turned private investigator, and Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod, the hard-nosed cop on gangster detail. Brookmyre is a polished stylist who spikes his smooth wordsmithery with a quirky Scottish brogue, but it takes so much of his ingenuity to compose the elaborate back story that his characters have little time or energy left for policing the streets.

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [May 11, 2014] Review by Booklist Review

The fifth book in Eriksson's Ann Lindell police series (following The Hand That Trembles, 2011) sticks to its procedural format but also lets the reader into more of Lindell's personal life. For the most part, the Uppsala, Sweden, homicide detective keeps busy with her demanding job and young son. Letting journalist Anders Brant into her life is a big step for her. Making it all the more distressing when his phone number is found on a homeless man's murdered body. Hoping that there's a logical explanation for the connection, Lindell doesn't tell her fellow offices about her relationship with the reporter, who claims to be out of town on a story. Instead, she buries herself in work, taking on the cold case of Klara Lovisa, a teenage girl who disappeared on her sixteenth birthday. Lindell knows the girl is most likely dead, but when the body is found, it is a watershed for the grief that has been overwhelming her since Anders left. Eriksson, nominated five times for Sweden's best crime novel award, effectively combines procedural and psychological detail in this involving mystery.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Ann Lindell, a not-so-young single Swedish mother, is surprised to find love in Eriksson's enjoyable fifth mystery featuring the Uppsala detective (after 2011's The Hand that Trembles). When her talkative lover, journalist Anders Brant, tells her that he will be gone for a while, and his phone number is discovered on the body of a murdered homeless man shortly afterward, Ann must figure out how Anders is connected to this crime. How long can she keep her relationship with him secret from her colleagues? Yet, can she suddenly mistrust a man who means so much to her? Meanwhile, Ann investigates a cold case involving a girl who went missing on her 16th birthday "as if swallowed up by the earth." Eriksson keeps the reader guessing, but his real strength is his ability to create descriptive details that bring even his minor characters alive. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Police officer Ann Lindell has been alone longer than she cares to admit. When taciturn journalist Anders Brant enters her life and sweeps her off her feet, she can't believe her luck. But just as suddenly as he appears, he vanishes. Ander's departure coincides with the killing of a homeless man, who happens to have the journalist's phone number in his pocket. As Ann struggles to find Anders and hopefully clear his name, another person related to the dead man is also found dead. Lindell and her fellow officers are confronted with too many clues and too few conclusions. And when Brant finally -responds with a message mentioning murder, Lindell must face the evidence that's right in front of her. Eriksson's latest mystery (after The Hand That Trembles) ups the ante, piling up bodies, clues, and multiple narrators. But the numerous voices, dead ends, and open cases ultimately lead to a confusing stew full of way too many ingredients. VERDICT Voracious mystery lovers will likely pick up this title enthusiastically; the more discerning reader will end up disappointed and frustrated. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/13.]-Jennifer Rogers, J. Sargeant -Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Police inspector Ann Lindell tackles an investigation that's painfully close to home. Love comes unexpectedly to workaholic Swede Ann in the person of Anders Brant, who is emotional, loving and utterly unlike the brooding, unavailable men she usually falls for. He even seems to understand her commitment to her work. But she's not used to such turbulent and unsteady feelings, which dog her on the job. Her current case, the disappearance of teenager Klara Lovisa several months ago, is frustratingly, bafflingly cold. As Ann sets about the tedious task of interviewing friends and family members again, the murder of Bosse Gransberg, a homeless sometime handyman, is also under investigation. The detectives on this case, Ola Haver and Beatrice Andersson, face unusual hostility and resistance from members of the community. Thoughts of Brant provide Ann a much-needed respite during her grim task. But when Brant goes missing, her emotions get a tumultuous workout. Worse, Brant's phone number is found on Bosse's person. Fortunately for her, Ann has not shared any details of her new relationship with colleagues. Inconveniently, Brant happens to be in Brazil. Unable to defend himself, he emerges as the prime suspect. What else can Ann do but solve the crime in order to save him? Eriksson (The Hand that Trembles, 2011, etc.) adds each piece of his complex murder puzzle to the picture with masterly control, and the heroine at the center of it all is compelling.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.