A whole host of Scandinavians were able to join us at CrimeFest this year and I , for one, was jolly pleased they did. Affable, witty and above all knowledgeable about the intricate craft of crime writing it was a pleasure to hear them contribute to the panels. In no particular order we saw Roslund-Hellstrom, Asa Larsson, Thomas Enger, Yrsa Siggurdardottir, Gunnar Staalesen, Ragnar Jonasson and, as David Hewson launched his novelisation of ‘The Killing’ , it was brilliant to hear Soren Sveistrup talk about his original screenwriting of the excellent TV series. I did manage to grab a few words with Anders Roslund and the delightful Asa Larsson and here’s my review of Asa’ s ‘The Black Path’ :

The latest instalment in Asa Larsson’s ‘Rebecka Martinsson’ series and to my mind, her best to date. Rebecka has seemingly made a full recovery from the horrific attack of the previous book and after her release from the psychiatric unit, finds herself embroiled in another murder investigation with the wonderful female detective Anna-Maria Mella. This is where Larsson excels in her characterisation that portrays Rebecka as an outwardly strong but essentially damaged woman and Anna-Maria, who witnesses so much horror in her day job, as an incredibly grounded and centred character, and who acts as a perfect foil to Rebecka’s polar opposite characteristics. The interplay and deep-seated respect and affection between them is even more prevalent in this plot as they work together to uncover some insidious goings on within an extremely influential yet corrupt mining corporation that leads to greed and murder. I think this book is the closest in context that I’ve read to say ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ or ‘The Killing’ where the more socio-political plot is given centre stage and I did find the detail regarding the corruption of big business in Third World countries extremely interesting. Obviously this was running parallel with the murder investigation and the strange trinity of the murdered woman, her brother and his friend- the figures at the forefront of the mining corporation- and their interaction and relationships with each other which was equally compelling. An accomplished and highly readable thriller from Larsson who just gets better with every book…

( With thanks to Quercus for the advance reading copy)

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