on July 12, 2013
Before I finished Until thy Wrath be Past I ordered three other books by Asa Larsson before I noticed that she has a penchant to include horrific animal abuse in her stories. some people won't mind. I do. I reluctantly finished the next book and got through the part where the character puts down all her beloved, trusting pets because she is going to kill herself. There is no resistance from the vet in the story. It's really sickening and after the decapitated kittens, too much. And wondering what happened to the missing cat. So, I'm moving on. Too bad. She really is a wonderful writer. I just don't need anymore brutality against animals in my life right now. When a dog is killed and we live it through his eyes, the hanging, the blood letting, it made me physically sick and so incredibly depressed. Funny, I can take humans being tortured, just not helpless animals. I can read this in the news everyday so I guess now that I'm older I need stories that are interesting but more uplifting.
Wilma recalls the day she and Simon died: "I remember how we died. I remember, and I know. . . . I was seventeen." Wilma's spirit has been wandering the village of Piilijärvi, nearly 50 miles southeast of Kiruna, for eight months before her body is found. Her great-grandmother, Anni, still has the pancakes she was making for Wilma that day in her freezer. And as her body is removed from the River Torne, Wilma knows that now her great-grandmother can finally cry.
A week after police remove what is left of Wilma from the river, forensic analysis confirms District Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson's suspicion that Wilma's death was not a diving accident, but murder. Inspector Anna-Maria Mella heads the investigation. Although she feels estranged from her team after a questionable judgment call the previous year, Mella knows she has a job to do: Find who murdered Wilma and, by assumption, Simon. The two obvious suspects are the district's own local mafioso-type brothers, Tore and Hjalmar Krekula, who operate the family hauling business. Everyone, it seems, knows better than to cross the Krekula family. Proving the brothers had anything to do with Wilma's death will not be easy and almost certainly dangerous.
Åsa Larsson's "Until Thy Wrath Be Past," fourth in the Rebecka Martinsson series, is not a straight-forward tale. Told in many voices from many perspectives, the story fluctuates between past and present events. Piilijärvi is a small community where memories and relationships go back a long way. Who aided or resisted the Germans during World War II is still a sensitive topic. Childhood incidents of sibling rivalry are not easily dismissed. Additionally, through the voice of Wilma's spirit, the victim is actively present, lending yet another dimension to this police procedural. Likewise, part of the narrative is told through Tore and Hjalmar, the main suspects. And, both Martinsson and Mella are struggling with personal and professional decisions about their futures, adding depth to these two principal characters. While this constant shifting of the narrative ground provides a major force of interest, the murder plot itself comes off as somewhat weak and convoluted. But despite this drawback, Larsson knows her characters and setting. Her Sweden is far from perfect but definitely revealing and her characters are full and alive. For both fans and new explorers of Scandinavian mysteries, "Until Thy Wrath Be Past" is well worth reading.
on December 13, 2014
This is the 4th in the Rebecka Martinsson series, and this time Rebecka actually does head an investogation.
Two young people disappear after venturing out for a diving expedition. As the story unravels, we learn about secrets that go back to the days of Sweden's collaboration with the Nazis. However, this is not even the most interesting part of the story. I was at first put off but soon totally captivated by the narration of some of the parts of the story by the murder victim (after she had died). I did not at first appreciate what an artful tool it was to include her into the story telling.
This is a well written and well translated story, with unusually powerful psychological insights that are presented in a down to earth human fashion.
This is the fourth book in the Swedish series about prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson, but it is the first one I've read, and I can't wait to go back and read the earlier novels.
Maybe because, unlike Western "literature", Scandinavian thrillers are encouraged to have a plot, the authors are less defined by artificial constraints (like Oulipo) and able to play with plot, chronology and, in this case, narration. Transitions between narrators is fluid and informative (which must also speak to the fine translation by Laurie Thompson). The first chapter is narrated by one of the murder victims, a young girl who's come to live in the small northern village of Kiruna with her grandmother, a kindly elderly woman. This threw me off at first -- expecting CSI but getting Medium, so to speak, and the victim narrates about 20% of the book, but after a while I didn't mind at all; that narrator brought some interesting perspective onto the book's characters and events. Narration also divides between prosecutor Martinsson and police detective Anna-Maria Mella. These two women have full lives complete with problems and possibilities, but they pull together to try and solve this murder, and the personal stories are informative without being distracting.
The writing is superb. the author deftly zips between characters and narrators and events in the past and present, finding humor occasionally and painting lovely character portraits that ring true. The villains are not hidden for long, but that doesn't take away the suspense. They are pretty wicked and scary.
I thoroughly enjoyed this Swedish thriller and will rush to read the author's earlier works. In order, series books are: The Savage Altar, The Blood Spilt, The Black Path, Until Thy Wrath Be Past, and The Second Deadly Sin.
Terrific series, set in small town Sweden.
on August 25, 2015
Wonderful writing, the characters are complex, the plot has plenty of surprises with a great setting (or settings). Highly recommend all of Ms. Larsson's books in this series, and start with #1 and go through the series in chronological order. They can be read as stand-alone books, but so much more fulfilling to watch the characters grow, change, and develop.
on August 9, 2011
Until Thy Wrath be Past starts with a bang. The 17-year-old Wilma Persson, who together with her boyfriend is diving beneath the ice of Lake Vittangijärvi, looking for the wreck of a Nazi transport airplane that crashed there during the War, tells the story of how she and her boyfriend is murdered. They have dived from a whole they have sawed in the ice, and someone has closed the hole, thus preventing them for surfacing. Wilma fights desperately to survive, but knows that soon there will be no more air. And then the air runs out, and there is only the ice cold water of Lake Vittangijärvi.
This is a remarkable and interesting book, very well written, about repression, violence, devotion and ruthlessness. Until Thy Wrath be Past is a great crime fiction novel, and I am already looking forward to the next Rebecka Martinsson novel!
on January 7, 2012
The story reminded me of Fargo in the depth of the plot and in the excellent descriptions of the locale. A young boy and a girl initially seem to have drowned in a river but sharp detectives quickly find out that the case is that of a murder. The boy's body is never found but the girl's has been and her spirit now helps guide the investigation forward. The investigation uncovers old secrets and crimes that many wish were forgotten.
This is an excellent thriller. It touches you deeply as you read about the innocents' thoughts, about the living's goodness, and as you encounter evil. It describes Sweden's best and worst. If you have elderly family members, you'll relate to the girl's great grandmother.
on January 7, 2012
Asa Larsson is one of Sweden's/Scandinavian/Nordic top crime fiction writers - right up there with Henning Mankell and Arnaldur Indridason for my money. I've read all her books and she just gets better and better with each one. Her latest, UNTIL THY WRATH BE PAST, is her best to date.
While typically dark and unsentimental like her contemporaries, her books also offer themes of hope, compassion and redemption. This newest entry - featuring Prosecutor Rebecca Martinson pits her and police detective Anna Marie Mella - starts off with the thoughts of a young woman named Wilma who, along with her boyfriend, was recently murdered. (This is not a spoiler of any sort, not to worry.) When her body is discovered in a nearby lake, the authorities are called in and soon Anna Marie and Rebecca find themselves pitted against shockingly evil adversaries. The storyline floats between the current-day events, including Wilma's thoughts, to events which took place decades ago and figure deeply into how and why the two young innocent people were so cruelly murdered.
The story was heartbreaking, uplifting and breathtaking. Highly recommended!
on March 22, 2015
Rebecca Martinsson decides to stay in her hometown and live in her grandmother's house despite the proximity to the horrible events in "Sun Storm." In this second thriller in the series by Asa Larsson there is brilliant character development, especially that of the killer. The cold, dark setting also is sparkling and bright at times, giving Rebecca time to feel comfortable in her bones.
on October 21, 2011
This is a good read. It isn't flashy, doesn't suppose you know weird history. This has a nice , tight, story line with easily adaptable characters. I enjoyed it.