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The Second Deadly Sin Hardcover – August 12, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Spanning a century, the plot is labyrinthine and suspenseful. Larsson's characters and their worlds are closely observed, revealing small-town small-mindedness in contemporary Sweden and the elemental struggle for survival a century before, when children might be sold into servitude at a "pauper's auction." Larsson has given her fans another winner (Until Thy Wrath Be Past, 2011)."―Booklist

"Compelling . . . Larsson excels at creating engaging, complex characters whose interactions and development provide as much forward momentum as the search for the killer."―Publishers Weekly

"With a more literary approach to the genre... Larsson remains one of the brightest stars in the current Nordic firmament... perceptive touches quicken the narrative throughout, and the characterization of the bloody-minded Rebecka (who Larsson really puts through the mill here) keeps The Second Deadly Sin firmly grounded."―Barry Forshaw, The Independent

"A must read series for me and the novel's ending hints at new directions for Rebecka which should shake up future books a little."―Louise Welsh, Crimepieces

"shows that Larsson is yet another powerful Nordic storyteller"―Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Åsa Larsson's books have a strong feeling of female empowerment, and not just through the strong female leads of Rebecka and Anna-Marie. This book manages to cleverly pass comment on how arrogance, pompousness and at times, weakness in a subset of men can lead to undesirable outcomes (though I should say that most men in the story are depicted in a much more favourable light!). It also shows how strong ties and co-operation between women are important in finding solutions. Rebecka's vulnerability and sense of past, combined with her strong-mindedness determination, thoughtfulness, and ever-developing character is something the reader can empathise and engage with. An interesting plot, combined with intriguing characters, means that all I want now is to read the next outing in the series! And, as always, there is a great translation from Laurie Thompson."―EuroCrime

"I'm a big Åsa Larsson fan: the first two books in the series are some of my favorites. Rebecka is not a typical heroine, her cases are tough on her, and the setting in extreme northern Sweden is vivid."―Ms. Wordopolis

"engrossing . . . The story is unique, well-written and keeps you guessing on who the murderer(s) is. I would definitely recommend this."―BooksGalore

"Fascinating . . . The reader's attention is held hostage from the onset with action and suspense."―Terrific Reads

"I must go back to the beginning and read this series."―Books Movies Reviews Oh My

"The author has in previous novels proven herself masterful and this is no exception . . . having finished this author's "Until Thy Wrath Be Past," this equally intriguing tale was another treat, and is also recommended."―Gloria Feit, Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Asa Larsson was born in Kiruna, Sweden. Before becoming a full-time writer she worked as a tax lawyer. Her novel The Savage Altar was awarded the Swedish Crime Writers' Association prize for best debut. The Blood Spilt was chosen as the Best Swedish Crime Novel of 2004. Until Thy Wrath Be Past was a finalist for the 2012 CWA International Dagger Award.

Laurie Thompson is the distinguished translator of novels by Henning Mankell and Hakan Nesser. He was editor of Swedish Book Review until 2002.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1623651395
  • ISBN-13: 978-1623651398
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The story opens in northern Sweden with a hunt for a wounded bear: a bear that has killed Samuel Johansson’s dog. The bear is tracked, and then killed. Human remains are found in its stomach. In the nearby town of Kiruna, Sol-Britt Uusitalo has been brutally murdered, and her seven year old grandson Marcus is missing. What is the connection between these events?

Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson is initially assigned to the murder investigation, until one of her colleagues (Carl von Post) contrives to have her removed. He takes over the investigation and Martinsson takes leave. But she doesn’t stop thinking about the case, or looking into it.

There’s a second older story woven through the novel. One hundred years earlier when Kiruna was a new town, Elina Pettersson, a young school teacher arrives determined to make a new life for herself. She falls in love, is betrayed and then brutally murdered. The story of who betrayed Elina and who murdered her and why makes sad reading.

The story moves between the contemporary investigations into Sol-Britt Uusitalo’s murder, the fate of her grandson Marcus, and the story of Elina Pettersson. The connections between the stories gradually become clearer as does the motive for murder. Rebecka Martinsson has to make a number of choices, and one of them tore at her heart (and mine).

This is my first Åsa Larsson novel, and I’ll be looking to read the others. Rebecka Martinsson is an intriguing character, as are some of the others who people the novel. Dogs are also important in this story, with one in particular being a hero. It’s black and bleak, but there’s hope as well – for some. I found this novel challenging and while I recommend it, it’s not for the squeamish.

‘The moon is like a cold white goddess in the black sky.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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I'm a big fan of Asa Larsson and feel she gets it mostly right with the character development and plotting set in the northern and remote region of Sweden. Her stories are atmospheric and her settings which take place where she was born - Kiruna, is very well written and is a significant part of the ongoing journey of the main protagonist, Rebecka Martinsson. Martinsson is a lawyer by trade and she has had some cases that have had serious impact on her mental psyche. The crimes in the stories which are five so far and its impact on the characters are dealt with in a realistic fashion.

In THE SECOND DEADLY SIN, I am unsure of what sin the author is going for in here as it seems to heavily hint at avarice which is the third deadly sin not the second. But no matter, the story has two story lines with one of them set in the past during WWI and goes into the origins of Kiruna, a mining town, that was instrumental in providing iron ore to other countries during the war. The present day investigation involves the suspicious deaths of several people throughout the most recent years and the present murder of a woman found stabbed to death in her bed. Her grandson, who probably witnessed the murder, is traumatized by the incident. The story tries to untangle the family tree to point to links to will lead to a viable motive.

What made this story less compelling was the WW1 storyline that involved a doomed school teacher. It was cliched and predictable. The present day murder case was a bit convoluted with Rebecka being pulled off the preliminary investigation for no good reason only for her to do some sleuthing on her own. The office politics thatI usually enjoy was more of a nuisance in this entry. The ending was a mixed bag with over the top action sequences.
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I've read all of this series in the last month and this one was unputdownable. Great character and great tragedy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the fifth in the prosecutor Rebecka Martinson of Kiruna, Sweden series. From my perspective, it is the most enjoyable, with a lighter touch - despite the title - than the previous ones, thank goodness. But, winter is approaching, there are some strange sounds out there, and then there's the concluding pursuit through some dark, scary woods. So it does have its share of Swedish doom and gloom. The light moments however give more than adequate relief and come via a passel of pet dogs and Marcus, a seven year old boy, survivor of the violent murder of his guardian grandmother, Sol-Britt. As self-therapy following the violent event he has witnessed Marcus pretends that he is a dog, and he is delighted to bark, eat on all fours and even sleep in the kennel at night with his trusted friends. The story continually shifts between the present and events that happened in the same town 90 years ago, events which focused on the death of Marcus's great, great-grandmother, Elina. And it turns out, there have been other violent deaths in the family tree which links Marcus and Elina. Why? What is the link? Many of the characters in "Sin" have appeared in earlier books; they are all well done, including an evil bureaucrat who is attempting to derail Rebecka's career (another deadly sin - oh, and let me add that despite the title this book does not have the strong moral-sin-righteousness tone that some may expect from such a title). The plot is very interesting and Rebecka is stronger than in previous books. And she seems to be drawn to police officer Erickson a bit more, while beau Mans faithfully pines away in Stockholm. What is up with that ? I strongly recommend this book and it can be read as a stand-alone very easily. I also suggest that readers check out Kiruna on Google Maps; "walk" around town a bit to get a feel for the place. I just wish Larsson would crank these books out a bit faster.
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