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The Blue Place (Aud Torvingen #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,568 ratings  ·  124 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
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published July 1st 1998 by William Morrow
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Althea Ann
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
Sep 19, 2010 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
...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
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
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.
A very tough heroine. A convoluted mystery involving art appraisal. Some traditional Scandinavian cuisine.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Cindy O
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
Why on earth didn't I find Nicola Griffith earlier?
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,
Andrea Blythe
"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
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
Micah Stupak
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
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
I picked this book up after finishing "Slow River" by the same author. It is the first in a series and I have just finished the first two ("Stay" is next). Nicola Giffith has created a female character I would consider leaving my husband for. Aud (rhymes with loud) is such an over-the-top heroine in this noirish read that I laughed aloud a few times at all of her skills and attributes: tall, strong, smart, wealthy, confident, complex. An ex-cop turned body guard, glacier climber, furniture maker ...more
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
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
Cherie In the Dooryard
I picked this up after reading Griffith's Hild. I liked the characters and world of Hild, but found the story arc painfully slow. When I discovered she had a mystery series I figured that might solve the problem. How can you have a slow-moving short mystery novel? Turns out, you can. And this is it. Griffith is a lovely writer who creates great characters, but she gives them very, very little to do. If you have the patience for a twenty-page discussion of glaciers in the middle of a thriller, th ...more
now that was a surprise. i've picked up the first book completely on a whim, to get distracted, and the beginning was almost laughably standard lesbian noir (if there IS a standar lesbian noir, that is). aud torvingen, a half-norvegian ex-policeman private security person, is cold, contained, gorgeous, violent, irresistible; she picks up women in bars and views people, aside from a couple of friends (or "friends") as objects to be moved at will. but she takes on a case of a distraught woman whos ...more
3 and a half stars. written as a prequel, this one feels more like a kind of flashback off Stay. and it's more the backstory of Aud and Julia than it is a mystery thriller (unmasking the perpetrator here feels like a 'oh, by the way' afterthought). so i'd be inclined to say it might be better to read Stay first, even though Stay chronologically comes after, and also reveals the Blue Place ending. but this one reads weaker as a standalone, because Stay is the source of much of its power. so if yo ...more
Shivanee Ramlochan
Excerpted from the full review:

"I made a pretty terrible joke with myself when I began drafting notes for this review. I said “Hmm. Aud Torvingen is like an Atalanta from Atlanta!” Were you to read The Blue Place, though, you might agree with me that the comparison between Aud and Atalanta is more than a little on the nose. They’re both light on their feet; they both refuse to comply with notions of what a ‘proper woman’ should do, think or resemble. That said, I’d rather chase Aud than a golden
Rachel Neumeier
So, THE BLUE PLACE, by Nicola Griffith. I could imagine it shelved with mysteries or with thrillers, but I'd say it's a mystery -- with suspense and some violence and a beautifully handled romance.

The way Griffith handled the violent scenes was amazing, I just loved the stream-of-consciousness thing, like here:

"It unfolded like a stop-motion film of a blooming rose: bright, beautiful and blindingly fast. And I wanted to laugh as I ducked and lunged; wanted to sing as I sank my fist wrist deep in
"The Blue Place" begins strongly, with beautiful prose from an author with an obviously strong command of the language and a unique voice. From there, however, it rapidly flatlines.

The main character, Aud Torvingen, is a lesbian ex-policewoman from Norway now working as a bodyguard and self defense instructor in Atlanta. I mention the character's sexuality because she appears to be some sort of idealized Nordic fantasy: tall, strong, beautiful, wealthy, stylish and deadly to the point of absurdi
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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.

* 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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“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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