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The Second Deadly Sin Hardcover – August 12, 2014

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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

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. Larsson's novels have sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.

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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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In addition, there is a lot of sly humor.
A little too slow at times despite the nice descriptive style that is through more of the book than not.
J. Hamby
The other main characters in the story are also very well developed and interesting.
Cathleen Grey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 4, 2014
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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By avidbookreader on February 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Cosgrove on January 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maxine McLister on June 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Second Deadly Sin is set in northern Sweden and opens with the hunt for a wounded bear. When it is finally brought down, the hunters make a grisly discovery. The story then moves to the seemingly disconnected but equally horrific murder of a woman and her missing grandson. Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson is initially assigned to the case but a less skilled but extremely ambitious rival manages to claim it for himself. Martinsson refuses to take a less important case and instead decides to take her vacation time. However, she can't let it go. She discovers there are threads tying the bear hunt and the murder together and that they may also be linked to other sudden and unexplained deaths.

The novel alternates between Martinsson's investigations in the present and the story of the love affair between a young school teacher and an important mining official in the years leading up to WWI and the subsequent unsolved murder of the teacher. As Martinsson digs deeper, she begins to suspect that these events of the past are somehow related to those in the present and that, if she doesn't solve the case quickly, there will be more deaths.

This is the fifth in this series by Swedish author Asa Larsson but it is the first I have read and it worked very well as a standalone. Larsson has a deft hand with descriptions of both time and place. Her forays into the past are very well written and seem likely to be true to the time period including her portrayal of the pre-WWI cultural and class values. The story is both intelligent and suspenseful and, like so many of the thrillers coming out of the Scandinavian countries, very dark. But it is with her characters where Larsson shines.
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