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Thriller set in Sweden and Spain

17th September 2019

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson, thriller set in Sweden and Spain.

Translated by David Warriner.

Thriller set in Sweden and Spain

This is the third novel in the Roy and Castells series (after Block 46 and Keeper) and it can be read as a stand alone.

Several members of the Lindbergh family have been found murdered – Father Göran, Mother Kerstin and daughter Louise. Between them they have suffered more than 30 stab wounds and each has had their tongue cut out. It was a frenzied murder.

The Lindberghs run a fertility clinic and the indicators for their seemingly premeditated murder point in the direction of their clinical work. After all, the whole IVF process is an emotive and delicate process. In unscrupulous hands there can be some pretty sizeable financial gains to be made and thus the procedures and clinics involved have to be carefully and ethically policed. But as investigations proceed, family secrets are unfurled…

The youngest member of the family, Aliénor, happens to be working as a new recruit at Scotland Yard, a protégée of profiler Emily Roy. Together with crime writer Alexis Castells they start to investigate the varying leads.

The 2016 story is interspersed with events that took place back in Spain – from the mid 1930s onwards – commencing with the Nationalist persecution of Communist/Republican sympathisers – the men are summarily killed, the women abused. Franco’s / El Caudillo’s reign is a long one and the women who have been captured and tortured find themselves at the mercy of one institution after another. (At the beginning of the book the author offers a bit more depth to this period for those unfamiliar with this very grim – and rather recent – history of Spain).

This story is of course about finding the perpetrators of the grisly crime. But it is also about family relationship and in particular about sisters trying to look out for each other. There is a rawness and vibrancy in the author’s writing that really draws the reader in.

What I very much like about the author’s stories and writing is the immersive, European feel. Her characters come together from all over Europe and they have a sense of rootedness and connectedness, wherever they come from. This is a truly European writer. Thanks also to translator, David Warriner for bringing this novel to vibrant life in English.

The settings are good in terms of TripFiction, back to Falkenberg and the Tullbron Bridge and to various locations around Spain, past and present. A definite thumbs up for the Roy and Castells series!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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