Review: The Blood Spilt By Åsa Larsson

Åsa Larsson is one of the Swedish crime-writers whose name is now very well-known; thanks both to her style and also the recent appeal of Scandinavian crime. Although born in Uppsala, she was raised in Kiruna (North of Sweden). Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Larsson was a tax lawyer, a profession she shares with the heroine of her novels, Rebecka Martinsson. Her first novel published in the UK (under the title The Savage Altar), was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. Her second novel, Det blod som spillts (Blood Spilt), won the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award.

The story of this book happens in the midsummer period in Sweden—when the light lingers through dawn and a long, isolating winter finally comes to an end. A female priest is found hanging in her church. And a big-city lawyer quite acquainted with death enters the scene as police and parishioners try to pick up the pieces.

Not long ago, attorney Rebecka Martinsson had to kill three men in order to stop an eerily similar murder spree—one that also involved a priest. Now she is back in Kiruna, the region of her birth, while a determined policewoman gnaws on the case and people who loved or loathed the victim mourn or revel in her demise. The further Rebecka is drawn into the mystery, the more the dead woman’s world clutches her.

Although this book can be read as a stand-alone story, it is a sequel to “Sun Storm” in which introduced us to Rebecka Martinsson, a lawyer forced to kill three men to stop a homicidal spree (as we highlighted above). In Blood Spilt, Martinsson is severely disturbed and traumatized by her previous adventure, yet she gets involved in another psychopathic murder.  

While this book is certainly an entertaining read, compared to the first book in the series, Sun Storm, which was a very well-crafted piece of fiction, it might seem less appealing: There are pieces of the story which are disjointed and the graphic scenes of animal torture might not be appealing to all readers. Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and advise readers to read Sun Storm before reading this story. The Amazon link to the book: The Blood Spilt