Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sun Storm (a.k.a Aurora Boreal) by Åsa Larsson

Book Summary (from

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....
My Review

First the obvious “discovery”...I like noir novels. I had my suspicions when I read...not, devoured the Millennium trilogy, and then with The Hypnotist I was pretty much certain. Which is why I bought The Ice Princess and when my aunt gave me Sun Storm I was more than willing to give it a try.  I guess we can also conclude that I like Nordic Noir Novels (N3). Anyway, back to the book.

The story takes place in Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, with a lovely average daily temperature of -1.7oC in the year! (I promise I will try not to complain in winter from now on). Rebecka Martinsson, the main character, used to live there, moved to Uppsala to study (sounds familiar? A lot of the plot in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo takes place there) and now is working in Stockholm.  Then one February day she gets a call from an old friend, Sanna Strandgård, sister of Sweden known preacher Viktor Strandgård, who just have been murdered and Sanna is the main suspect. She is the one who found the body and having a history of apparent “psychological problems” (the book never specifies what exactly is it) becomes the perfect suspect.

The investigation falls into the hands of Sven-Erik Ståinacke an investigator that for the moment is taking the place of Anna-Maria Mella, who is pregnant at the moment. However, conscious of the great talent of Anna-Maria Sven-Erik asks for her help during the investigation. Also from the side of the police, we have the prosecutor, Carl von Post, someone who has been waiting for a stellar case to get out of Kiruna. And this is just it, because Viktor is not only famous, but his murder was beyond gruesome. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say there was a lot of blood.

The story develops in less than one week, with Rebecka trying to find out who really murder Viktor with the Northern lights above her head (hence thename of the book). From time to time, there is time jumps to the past, and we understand why she left Kiruna in the first place (oh c’mon, you knew it wasn’t JUST to study).  As she digs deeper in the causes of Viktor death, she also discovers secrets behind the congregation, secrets that will make her confront part of her past and the people who pushed her away.  The climax of the book, when you will not be able to put the book down arrives past the 2/3 of the book, but until then you will be having glimpses of what’s behind this tight community.

Was it a good book? I think so, it wasn’t extraordinary, but I’m not sure if part of the magic was lost in translation. The version of the book that I had was translated to Spanish from Spain and a lot to times I was caught thinking of better words to describe what they just said. Not that I’m fluent in Swedish (at least not yet, I aim to be, but that’s another story) but sometimes this translators go too much into the literal translation. 

Also, the resolution of the story left me wanting more. I wished the author would’ve given a bit more of time to explain certain characters and the reasons behind their acts. I know that there is more books of this series, so I’m guessing this stories will be developed in the other books, but still, I felt the climax burned to fast, leaving a lot of untied knots. But at the same time that’s the reason why I would like to read The Blood Spirit now, also because I’ve heard a lot of praise for this author. 

No comments:

Post a Comment