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The Blue Place (Aud Torvingen #1)

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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,717 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
A police lieutenant with the elite "Red Dogs" until she retired at twenty-nine , Aud Torvigen is a rangy six-footer with eyes the color of cement and a tendency to hurt people who get in her way. Born in Norway into the failed marriage between a Scandinavian diplomat and an American businessman, she now makes Atlanta her home, luxuriating in the lush heat and brashness of ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published July 1st 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Althea Ann
Jan 28, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really really sorry that I had accidentally read the sequel to this book (Stay) first! Knowing that a certain character (view spoiler) took a significant something out of the experience... Still, this is an absorbing, exciting, and emotionally wrenching book...

Aud Torvingen, an ex-cop, is currently working as a self-defense instructor and bodyguard. Her current client is seemingly a cinch - a diplomat's daughter who needs 'more of a babysitter than a bodygua
...more
Karen
Sep 19, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Elizabeth's Goodsreads
Aud is too good to be true, and even if I laughed out loud many times at her too-goodness, it was delicious to inhabit the days of this disturbing lesbian-chick Übermensch. I could have done without the plot, which somehow seemed beside-the-point; I think the author knew it was a necessary machinery for bringing violence into the story, and it showed. All I know is that while I was reading I wanted desperatly to be an expert woodworker with a natural instinct for killing. But Aud takes a joy in ...more
Melody
Nov 03, 2012 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
11/2012 The last time I read this book I didn't register that there's a whole paragraph devoted to Hild of Whitby. This time, because I read Griffith's blog and I know she's working on a huge book about Hild, it leapt out at me and I grinned.

It's hard to write about this one without spoilers, because so much of it concerns how situations affect Aud, how her authentic self plays hide and seek, and how the events form the chains they do. The prose is spectacular throughout.

6/2009 I love this boo
...more
Lex Kent
Apr 29, 2016 Lex Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-f-thriller
This is a tough book to read, not a joyful book by any means. Some parts were depressing, lots of death and lots of talk of death. But even with all that, it was an excellent book. It's the kind of book that makes you say wow at the end, while your mind is kind of spinning, trying to process all you just read. I like books like that, that make you feel something while reading, and still feel after you finished.
The writing is good, you feel the author is truly knowledgeable on the subjects she wr
...more
Zack
May 15, 2014 Zack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The problem is that this book isn't sure what it wants to be. It bills itself as a novel of suspense, but there's no tension. Aud is so knowledgeable, so capable, that there's never any doubt how things will pan out.
The writing style leans heavily towards a bildungsroman, with heavy introspection and analysis rather than plot development.
Meanwhile, pages and pages are dedicated to character development that isn't relevant to the story; the editing process could use more work.
Aud as a character i
...more
Sharlene
Jan 06, 2012 Sharlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, ebook
Aud rhymes with shroud. Aud rhymes with proud.

Aud Torvingen is a hell of a character. She’s six feet tall of toughness, danger, ass-kicking, emotionally complex, Scandinavian blondness. A Norwegian expat living in Atlanta, Georgia, Torvingen consults for the police (she’s an ex-cop), works as a bodyguard, teaches self-defense, crafts her own furniture, tends her garden, and constantly thinks about the best way to kill someone.

And I lapped all this no-nonsense up. In a move uncharacteristic of me
...more
jo
Sep 07, 2009 jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a muscular piece of fiction. aud torvingen is a tall norwegian-now-american ex-cop living in atlanta who currently does high-profile security work. because of some inheritance (don't remember the details) she doesn't actually need to work, but there is a dark dark side of her that is attracted to violence. she sublimates it by practicing and teaching karate, which she has elevated to an art and a lifestyle, without losing for a second the awareness of its deadliness. she also carves wood ...more
Rob
Jan 28, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...The Blue Place is quite a dark novel with a very dramatic ending. The novel wraps up the mystery part of the story nicely but it is clear that on a personal level we're not done with Aud. She, it would seem, has a few challenges remaining and if will be interesting to see how she goes on after the events in this book. The novel is quite different from the novels by Griffith I have read so far. It shows her versatility as a writer, something I greatly appreciate in her work. For readers who st ...more
Christine Thrasher
I think I would have rather read this book from another character's perspective, or done with less cockiness. It felt like reading lesbian erotica. This sort of fantasy lesbian who kicks ass and works outside and with furniture and who can also look bangin' in a cocktail dress... plays pool, could have any woman, has a bunch of money... yadda yadda. It's like someone's private sexual fantasy that they decided to make into a novel. Also very 90's dated. Even in spite of that, once I started to fe ...more
Fence
Aug 10, 2015 Fence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you read that a series of books are “brilliant and heartbreaking and made of awesome sauce and everybody should read them but go into them blind or you won’t get their full impact” (MartinWisse on Metafilter) well then you simply have to give the first book a try, don’t you?

Well, I did and I have to agree with MartinWisse after just reading the first book in the series. In The Blue Place we are introduced to Aud Torvingen, an ex-police officer, the daughter of a Norwegian diplomat and an Am
...more
Kennedy
Jun 26, 2015 Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW! What a story. While reading, I received quite the education about Atlanta, Oslo, art and to some extent the thought process behind murder and possible weapons. Lots of information and detail. Different from the typical lesbian story, which in my opinion is a good thing.
Maria
Dec 09, 2015 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
"Wood is an endlessly adaptive material. You can plane, chisel, saw, carve, sand, and bend it, and when the pieces are the shape you want you can use dovetail joints, tenpenny nails, pegs or glue; you can use lamination or inlay or marquetry; and then you can beautify it with French polish or plain linseed oil or subtle stains. And when you go to dinner at a friend's house, the candlelight will pick out the contours of grain and line, and when you take your seat you will be reminded that what yo
...more
Mfred
Apr 24, 2009 Mfred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, queer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynn
Apr 25, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aud is dauntingly perfect. (She's perfectly physically fit! She's a self defense / martial arts expert! She's independently wealthy! She can get any woman she wants just by sexily playing pool at her!) But hey, it's Nicola Griffith, and the woman can write. And I enjoyed the art-appraisal stuff and the Denmark scenery. I enjoyed the whole thing, really. Just fun, with a satisfying thread of darkness to offset Aud's fascinating perfection. And she is, finally, fascinating.
Matthew Gatheringwater
Jul 29, 2008 Matthew Gatheringwater rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Smilla's Sense of Snow
Shelves: mystery
Immediately after reading Uncle Silas--a book featuring a female protagonist of remarkable passivity--I craved reading about a woman as different as possible. I was successful in my choice.

The Blue Place features Aud, an ex-cop, self-defense expert, and butch lesbian hottie who walks the sultry streets of Atlanta casually speculating about how to kill everyone she meets--even the beautiful woman with nice-smelling hair she discovers fleeing the scene of a particularly nasty arson.

The attention N
...more
Cindy O
Jan 10, 2015 Cindy O rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
You definitely want to read this character driven series in order because there are spoilers in the later books. Aud, rhymes with cloud, Torvingen is a 6 foot tall ex-police officer who, much like John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, can do pretty much anything physical--defeat bad guys hand to hand, carve furniture, play a mean game of pool, make wrongs right--outside the law if necessary. She has money inherited from her father, and diplomatic and political contacts through her mother, and one go ...more
Miriam
Mar 01, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A very tough heroine. A convoluted mystery involving art appraisal. Some traditional Scandinavian cuisine.
Liana
Mar 14, 2014 Liana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Why on earth didn't I find Nicola Griffith earlier?
Amanda
Feb 25, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you read a book and it fills a need you didn't even know you had.

The taxonomy of mystery books is a complicated one and not one I'm qualified to speak about. But my favorite mystery series are what, in my own head, I call "Big Man" books. It's a very specific sub-genre marked by a literal big man -- he's always big and always a man -- at its center. Think Travis McGee, Walt Longmire, and Spenser. What Jack Reacher wishes he could be.

Our hero is self-contained, tested and tempered. His
...more
Jacqie
Jul 08, 2015 Jacqie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnt-finish
Another try for candidates for the mystery book club. Another no, ultimately.

The book is really more of a character study than a mystery. Aud Torvingen is a wish fulfillment character. She intimidated the hell out of me. Tall, strong, intelligent, expert in martial arts, ex-police who now does martial arts training for the police department plus bodyguard work, sophisticated and worldly(her mother is a Swedish diplomat, which means that Aud is also blond and beautiful, effortlessly), a gourmet,
...more
Andrea Blythe
Jun 23, 2014 Andrea Blythe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"Danger is not a game. Danger is a casually violent Viking... When it sits opposite and offers you the cup and dice, you either walk away or play full throttle."

While out for a walk one night, former police officer Aud Torvington nearly slams into a women running in the opposite direction. As the woman leaves a house explodes in a violent plume of flames. When the same woman later hires Aud to discover who set the explosion, she finds herself accepting the job, much to her own surprise.

Aud is a
...more
Voronwer
When it comes to lesbian romance novels, this one actually falls on the good side of things. It's not just about the physical attraction, instant romance thing. There's plot here that the author actually thought through and works pretty well. The tension is good, the story is enjoyable, the characters are likeable. In short, it's an entertaining read and you won't feel like you wasted your time at the end of the book.

Still, it's not high literature, but I'm assuming that's not what you're lookin
...more
Stevie
May 24, 2016 Stevie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
Not sure about this one. There were a few characters with potential, and there was a point when I felt invested in the story. There are some beautiful pieces about nature. The action/badass main character bits resonated less, but I can appreciate the idea. There is a place for telling the type of stories that are usually about men differently. Wasn't into all the violence & meditations thereon. Didn't totally buy the big crime conspiracy but could have gone along with it. The end annoyed me, ...more
Micah Stupak
Oct 30, 2014 Micah Stupak rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I only got about a quarter into this. I was not enjoying it, finding it a real slog, and I eventually figured out why: I think the main character would have looked down her nose at me. Seriously, it's kinda ridiculous, but I was thinking that she would have been disgusted to know I was reading about her. She had such an air of superiority. I'm sure there's some backstory, some bad event in her past that made so her so distant and harsh, but, you know, at no point did I ever care to find out. Als ...more
Beth Bernobich
Jan 25, 2015 Beth Bernobich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Nicola Griffith's work, so I was excited to come across this mystery series. True to her other work, the prose is crisp and strong, the characters are anything but ordinary. It did take me a while to get into the story. Aud is super competent--so competent, and so matter-of-fact that she at first seems more an automaton than a person. And the mystery itself is nothing special. I put the book down several times, not sure if I wanted to keep reading.

But then Aud and her client do a spot of
...more
Mitchell
Huh. Not really sure what I expected from this one. The author had written two well known well thought of sf books, that I remember liking. And that was it until it recently. So I figured I'd chase down what I missed. Which apparently included this thriller set in Atlanta and Norway. The Atlanta parts had me checking maps - I apparently lived like 5 blocks from Aud during the time this book took place. The writing was good, the characters believable and the sense of location strong and fun. But ...more
Becky
Aug 08, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After years of reading male dominated noir and crime fiction it was refreshing to get to know Aud.
After reading this story, I felt that I’d turned a corner, not wide like Aud would, but close to the wall and blind. As a straight person, it hit me that I’ve never consciously read fiction by LGBT authors. I never considered that the stories and characters would resonate with someone straight. How ignorant, how many good stories and characters I’ve missed. Aud’s appreciation of wood and fine tools
...more
Anna Graham Hunter
I read this a long time ago and remember being blown away, but this time around I found it sluggish. If I'm going to read a mystery with a female protagonist who kicks ass, I really don't need her musings on the zen of gardening and woodworking. Meditation scenes in movies and books are like drug scenes - maybe fun in real life but almost always boring for the reader/viewer
Alicia
Apr 11, 2016 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lesbians
Not a typical cookie-cutter lesbian fiction romance novel. It actually has depth and detail (sometimes a little too much detail.) The main character isn't all that likable in the beginning but she quickly grows on you. It is far better written than 90% of the lesbian fiction we settle for and bores me to tears. The characters are three dimensional and there is an actual multi layered story that is interesting, (not just girl meets girl, girl hates girl, girl likes girl, girls have sex. That sto ...more
Terri
Mar 09, 2014 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014
While not a perfect novel, Griffith spins a lush thriller about an arrogant bodyguard who comes to terms with her own vulnerabilities in the face of danger and love. The writing is not as strong as Griffith's later novel, Hild, but never-the-less is beautifully descriptive and moves the story along. Character development could be stronger, but since this is the first book in a series, I expect to find out more about Aud as the series progresses. The whodunit aspect is pretty clear towards the en ...more
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Nicola Griffith has won the Washington State Book Award, the Nebula Award, the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award, Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Awards. She is also the co-editor of the Bending the Landscape series of anthologies. Her newest novel is Hild. She lives in Seattle with her wife, writer Kelley Eskridge.

Series:
* Aud Torvingen
More about Nicola Griffith...

Other Books in the Series

Aud Torvingen (3 books)
  • Stay (Aud Torvingen #2)
  • Always (Aud Torvingen #3)

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“Wood is an endlessly adaptive material. You can plane, chisel, saw, carve, sand, and bend it, and when the pieces are the shape you want you can use dovetail joints, tenpenny nails, pegs or glue; you can use lamination or inlay or marquetry; and then you can beautify it with French polish or plain linseed oil or subtle stains. And when you go to dinner at a friend's house, the candlelight will pick out the contours of grain and line, and when you take your seat you will be reminded that what you are sitting on grew from the dirt, stretched towards the sun, weathered rain and wind, and sheltered animals; it was not extruded by faceless machines lined on a cold cement floor and fed from metal vats. Wood reminds us where we come from.” 1 likes
“I hit someone."

"Yes." I stopped four feet away.

She shook her hand at her side, lifted it, looked at it. "I hit him. He came down the stairs and I hit him. I really hit him. I've spent years wondering if I could, wondering what I'd do if it happened to me, if I'd been the one in front of that theatre...." She looked at her hand again, fascinated. "I hit him, and he ran away."

The realization of what she had done, the exhilaration of her own strength rushed into her, like champagne rushing to fill lead crystal. She shimmered with it, she fizzed. I wanted to lift her in both hands, drink her down, drain her, feel the foam inside me, curling around heart, lungs, stomach.

I stepped closer. She lifted her chin. Closer still.

"Wolf eyes," she whispered, and I could feel her breath on my throat, "so pale and hungry.”
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