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Bad Blood: A Crime Novel Hardcover – August 13, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Autumn in Stockholm can be a time of foreboding for many Swedes, and that’s especially true this year, thanks to the unending, torrential rains, which seem almost biblical. Paul Hjelm is obsessively listening to John Coltrane’s wailing-yet-strangely-reverent Meditations, reading Kafka’s Amerika, and worrying about his relationship with his teenage children. It gets worse: an American serial killer who has eluded the FBI for two decades has arrived in Sweden. The killer’s MO is believed to involve a monstrous and lethal form of torture that the FBI says was first used in the Vietnam War. Clues to the killer’s identity and whereabouts are nil. Bodies begin to pile up, and Hjelm and his mismatched detective squad seem hopelessly overmatched. As in his wonderful Misterioso (2011), Dahl’s latest is a stunning, muted howl of Scandinavian despair for a once orderly nation unhinged by racial malaise, predatory capitalism, and the sense that Swedish society is becoming Americanized. But, like Coltrane, Dahl plays all over the scale. He’s mordantly funny, particularly in dialogue between squad members. His caustic appraisal of American “community policing” and the justice and penal systems will resonate with many American readers. And his coda on the damage parents may visit on their children is poignant. With two superb novels, Dahl has established himself as one of the leading voices in Scandinavian crime fiction. --Thomas Gaughan

Review

International Praise for Arne Dahl and Bad Blood
“With dizzying speed Arne Dahl has climbed to the throne of Swedish crime literature. . . . His work is characterized by impartiality, lighthearted humor, epic flow, and poetic precision.” —Dagbladet Information (Denmark)
 
“One of this year’s most intense thrillers.” —GT (Sweden)
 
“A highly professional crime novel, and an insightful and thought-provoking social satire.” —Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)
 
Bad Blood succeeds due to its clear motive and suspense. It expertly weaves together the American involvement in Vietnam with the current unfolding events in Iraq.” —Aftenposten (Norway)
 
Praise for Misterioso
“Terrific. . . . Full of twists and turns, blind alleys and sudden assaults, procedural hassles and stakeouts.” —The Providence Journal
 
“Absorbing . . . A dark, tense thriller.” —Newark Star-Ledger
 
“Dahl has created a brilliant character and a terrific story. This is a classic cop-shop tale of the old school.” —The Globe and Mail (Canada)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375425365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375425363
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. Sanders VINE VOICE on September 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book gets off the ground quickly, but at times it got into a briar patch of characters with names American readers may find complexing. However, for a serial killer novel, this one takes a unique turn. It asks, in effect, is torture in battle is justified? For example, if torture will save the life of a kidnapped child or defuse a dirty bomb set for a nuclear detonation -- is it justified?

Some American readers may be put off by what appears to be anti-Americanism; but it really is not. There are stereotypes and date mistakes (for example working for Macintosh (Apple) in 1978 when the Mac didn't debut until 1984. In '78, the Apple II was just getting off the ground.) The musing of "How does America generate so many serial killers?" is just plain dumb. As a country of 300 million, the US has its proportion of nut jobs just as does Sweden and the rest of the world. (Sweden's population of 8 million requires very few such killers to equal that of the US.)

There's good humor as Americans mis-pronounce Swedish names, but Swedes probably do the same with American names; so enjoy a view of Americans from the perspective of another country.

The killer (Kentucky Killer) is narrowed down early as having something to do with a special "torture group" that Nixon set up during Vietnam, but we know from POW reports that the North Vietnamese were not exactly operating under the rules of the Geneva Convention. However, we're supposed to be the good guys, and when we're not, we hear it loudly from those who expect more of us. The killer goes to Sweden, and so we're invited along on the investigation. In some places, I wondered whether the author was padding the story, but overall, it trudged along to a very vivid and surprising ending.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By vera kolpakova on January 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A serial killer on the loose in the US makes his way into Sweden. Is the A-Unit going to be up to the task? Will FBI cooperate in sharing information they have gathered in the decades since the killer became active in the US? And what about Hjelm and Holm, can they still work together despite the brief sexual experiment on a previous assignment?
This is the second of the 2 books by Arne Dahl that have been translated into English. The first one is Misterioso. The two books have occasional links to the case in Misterioso, and character development began there as well but you won't be at a disadvantage reading only Bad Blood.
I enjoyed the book tremendously - what a reprieve from Jo Nesbo's world where events and characters are as unrealistic as they can be to produce a good Hollywood thriller that you watch once and forget because most of it has nothing to do with life on earth!
Dahl's character development, unhurried description of the environment in which characters operate, as well as interactions between the police and their nemeses are plausible. Dahl takes the time to create humans that one can relate to or at least understand their motivations. Dahl also sprinkles his books with commentary on Swedish and world politics very much in the tradition of Henning Mankell.
There is also a good deal of subtle humor in Dahl's writing. Not ha-haha but more like an appreciative chuckle here and there.
I've read pretty much all English language Kindle books in the Nordic noir category, and Dahl impressed me as one of the more talented along with Mankell, Adler-Olsen, and a few others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By iGertrude VINE VOICE on April 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a compelling story, very exciting. The story of Sweden `accidentally' importing a serial killer is spot on in this very small world, and a very interesting idea. One thing no one wants is Americans exporting their serial killers, especially not to a country that has managed to protect its neutrality for what, centuries? It is even worse to have a dead serial killer come through immigration. There was occasionally a comic edge to this story that was very entertaining.

The characters in this story are complicated, interesting, and sometimes dark, and paranoid. I had not read the first book, Misterioso: A Crime Novel, and I did not need to. Much of the character back story is provided in their interactions with each other. The first mystery is not necessary to enjoy this novel; although I will definitely put it in my reading list.

The answer to the mystery was pretty obvious from the start but it certainly was a fun ride to work out all of the details to get there. It was like the story kept taking right and then left turns to make it hard to find the original path. There were many sides to the mystery that continued to make this story rich and entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bad Blood by Arne Dahl, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, is a successor to Dahl's Misterioso. It features the same cast of refreshingly human and idiosyncratic Swedish police officers. They are very good and the villain is very bad and very competent. The plot is as complicated and twisted as one could hope for.

There's a serial killer on the loose in in Sweden. He's an import from the United States. The problem is that the MO is identical to that of the Kentucky Killer who died sixteen years ago. The killer's MO is complex and fiendish, involving special purpose torture equipment. This equipment, developed during the Vietnam War, facilitated awful torments to be visited on someone, paralyzing their vocal cords so that they could not utter a sound except for a whisper while under the control of their tormentor.

Paul Hjelm and his partner Kerstin Holm, with whom he had an affair, are back. Their strength is a strong intuition. The affair is over and Paul is now back with his wife, but the attraction remains. Jorge Chavez is the youngest member of the team. He's of South American descent, AKA "a blackhead" to the Swedish skinheads and is the group's computer wizard. Viggo Norlander is the group's aging ladies man. Gunnar Nyberg, former steroid-abusing Mr Sweden, is the group's strong man. Both Kerstin and Gunnar are accomplished singers. Arto Søderstedt is a former lawyer turned cop. Superintendent Jan-Olov Hultin is their leader. He's a man of dry wit and acute intelligence.Together they form the A-Unit, a special police force tasked with solving serious crimes involving serial killers.

The chase is intriguing. The killer is very hard to pin down. People keep being tortured and killed in horrific ways.
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