Svensk krimi-debut (2003). Jeg genlæste Larssons debut for at kunne diskutere den i min bogklub, og så er der jo ingen grund til at snyde læsere, som eventuelt ikke kender denne fremragende forfatter, for en anmeldelse.
Første linje: "Og det blev aften, og det blev morgen første dag."
Viktor Strandgård, medlem af den kristne frikirke Kraftkilden, bliver regnet for at være en næsten mytisk skikkelse, genopstanden som han er efter en bilulykke. Viktor tænker tilbage på sit første dødsøjeblik: "Med dette billede på nethinden dør Viktor Strandgård for anden gang i sit liv. Fodtrin nærmer sig, men han hører dem ikke. Hans øjne behøver ikke igen at se den blanke kniv. Som en tom skal ligger hans krop tilbage på kirkegulvet og bliver gennemboret. Igen og igen." For kirken bliver den dramatiske uge dog ikke nogen skabelsesproces, men snarere én lang bevægelse fra orden mod kaos.
Viktors ubehjælpsomme søster beder sin ungdomsveninde, juristen Rebecka Martinsson fra Stockholm om hjælp. Rebecka er ikke meget for at vende tilbage til det høje nord, nærmere bestemt Kiruna, hvor hun er vokset op og selv har været medlem af frikirken. Rebecka har mere end nok at se til på advokatkontoret, men føler sig alligevel aldrig bedre tilpas end når hun knokler ved sit skrivebord. "Hendes undertøj var forvasket og gråligt" Her ser vi Åsa Larssons alternative måde at udtrykke på, at her har vi en travlt optaget, single karrierepige.
Andre hovedaktører er højgravide politiinspektør Anna-Maria Mella og Sven-Erik Stålnacke, hendes næstkommanderende. Vicechefanklageren vil også gerne blande sig, her med en beskrivelse af Mella: "han havde aldrig kunnet forholde sig til den lille snotfinke af en damebetjent. Det var sgu, som om hun havde sine mandlige kolleger i efterforskningsafdelingen i snor, og han kunne ikke for sin død begribe hvorfor. Og som hun så ud. Højst halvanden meter i strømpesokker og et skide hestefjæs, som på det nærmeste var lige så stort som resten af kroppen... Det uundgåelige resultat af generationers indavl i Lappmarkens små isolerede landsbyer."
Denne flotte debut kommer ind under kategorien femikrimi, og er bestemt ikke fri for mandschauvinister og samarbejdsproblemer mellem kønnene, men uanset hvad man nu vælger at kalde den, er den efter min mening en velformuleret krimi hvor plottet og forholdet mellem de implicerede i mordsagen får hovedpladsen, og den burde appellere til krimielskere af begge køn.
Åsa Larsson, Sun Storm (2006)
Swedish crime debut (2003). I reread Larsson´s novel to be able to discuss it in my book club, and there is really no need to cheat readers who don´t know this brilliant writer of a short review.
First line: "And evening came and morning came, the first day."
Viktor Strandgaard, a member of the Christian church The Source of All Our Strength, is regarded as a nearly mythical figure, resurrected as he is after a car accident. Viktor remembers his first moment of death: "with that picture in his mind´s eye Viktor Strandgaard dies for the second time in his life. Footsteps approach, but he doesn´t hear them. His eyes do not have to see the gleam of the knife once again. His body lies like an empty shell on the floor of the church; it is stabbed over and over again." For the church this dramatic week is not a process of creation, however, but rather one long movement from order towards chaos.
Viktor´s helpless sister asks her old friend, the lawyer Rebecka Martinsson from Stockholm for help. Rebecka is not very keen on returning to Kiruna where she grew up and was a member of the church herself. Rebecka has her hands full in her office, yet she never feels better than when she is working hard at her desk, and there is no time for a private life."Her underwear was washed-out and greyish." In other words, Rebecka is a single and very busy career woman.
Other important characters are heavily pregnant inspector Anna-Maria Mella and Sven-Erik Staalnacke, her deputy. Assistant Chief Prosecutor von Post also wants to meddle in the case as he thoroughly despises Mella: "And the way she looked. One and a half meter at most, and a bloody horse face which was almost as large as the rest of her body ... The inevitable result of generations of inbreeding in Lapland´s small, isolated villages."
This impressive debut belongs under the category of ´femikrimi´, and it certainly has its male chauvinists and lack of cooperation between the sexes, but no matter what one calls it this is a well-written crime novel in which the plot and the relationships among the parties involved in the crime are in focus, and it should appeal to crime lovers of both sexes.
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I loved this book - one aspect I liked was Rebecka's irritation with Sanna as a theme throughout the book .....quite nice to have a "real" main character who isn't as bland as many.
Maxine, I agree that it was quite a relief that Rebecka dared give her old friend a ´mental kick´ now and then. I have Larsson´s third or fourth on my shelf from the library, will try to read it before long but I have just begun reading "The Coronor" so I don´t know when I´ll get around to it.
I liked this book a lot, too. I did, however, feel that the later books by Larsson got very repetitive and unrealistic. She started out well as a crime fiction writer, but sort of lost the plot later on (nu pun intended).
My favorite character was certainly Anna-Maria Mella, and I would just love to meet her (and see Kiruna, which seems so lovely and interesting)
I think most people agree that after a great debut she has focused too much on Rebecka´s psychological deroute. I really fear that some female writers think modern, Scandinavian femikrimi has to be like that. If readers begin to react against it, I hope we will be able to stop that trend. The most important part of a crime novel ought to be the plot.
I have her third on my shelf, and I am probably going to read it soon, by the way.
One thing I noted about this book and about Jo Nesbo's "Devil's Star" and Helene Tursten's "Glass Devil," among others, is that quite a number of Scandinavian crime novels concern themselves with Satanism of the fear of Satanism. Was something happening in the Nordic countries for a few years from about the late 1990s to account for this?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
Really interesting question!
I don´t think there were any major events, but some episodes with Satanistic graffiti & young people harrowing church yards, tomb stones and such. It was a decade when proclaiming yourself a Satanist was a way of showing how rebellious you were and taking a distance to the establishment. I had some Satanists among my students around ten years ago (1-2 years), and personally I have not come across the phenomenon since then.
I think there may have been more (and more violent) episodes in Sweden than here. A Swedish crime writer, Willy Josefsson, has also written a novel about Satanism & the Swedish church.
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