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Midwinter Sacrifice

(Malin Fors #1)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  4,926 ratings  ·  459 reviews
An investigation consists of a mass of voices, the sort you can hear, and the sort you can't. You have to listen to the soundless voices, Malin. That's where the truth is hidden.'

The snow covered all the tracks, as the killer knew it would. But it couldn't hide the victim, the man who now hung naked from a lonely tree on a frozen plain.

Malin Fors is first on the scene. A t
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
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 ·  4,926 ratings  ·  459 reviews

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Probably actually a 3.5 star book for me. It’s getting much harder to fool me, now that I’ve read a fair number of Nordic mysteries and I really treasure the books that do manage to pull the wool over my eyes. Midwinter Sacrifice managed to keep me guessing until the last chapters, when it just kind of stuttered to the end.

I liked Malin Fors, the female detective main character. I could appreciate her ambition and determination to solve a case. There was a little too much emphasis on her “femini
Nancy Oakes
A solid 3.5 opener of a mystery series.

If you'd like a longer review, click on through; otherwise, here's a brief look.

While some of the plot was easy to figure out, the writing, the characters, and the exploration of small-town life and its secrets that permeates this solid police procedural drew me in and kept me there. Above all, though, Kallentoft is very good at creating atmosphere and maintaining it through the end -- a quality that I greatly admire in an author.

Detective Malin Fors live
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

I have to admit I slogged my way through three quarters of this book and considered abandoning it several times. I didn't for several reasons, one being that this was a Netgalley request, the second because two reviewers I respect gave it a 4 star rating and thirdly because I admired several elements of the novel.
Midwinter Blood is a part crime/part police procedural in the style of what has been labeled 'Scandinavian Crime', not only for the author's origin and the setting but also distinguishe
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: The title
[3.5] If you've decided to call your novel Midvinterblod, it's a little odd to set it in February. (I'd saved this to read last December, then left it when I saw the dates on the chapter headings.) There's a possible reason in the plot for the discrepancy, but it still doesn't work very well. (view spoiler) ...more
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a little by surprise. I expected a straight-forward thriller, but instead got a beautifully written, almost literary mystery.
The atmosphere the author creates in this book is fantastic. The cold winter landscape seeps into every page, into every character’s consciousness, making it almost another character itself. Malin Fors, the protagonist, is an interesting one. Thankfully, she is not a walking cliché of dysfunction, as many of the cops or detectives in thrillers tend to be,
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the depths of a bitterly cold winter, in a field near the Swedish town of Linköping, the mutilated corpse of a society outcast is found hanging from a tree. For Detective Malin Fors and her colleagues in the Linköping PD it's another murder case to solve . . .

Well, so far, so good: none too original a setup, but originality isn't always what you seek or expect in crime fiction, so long as you're getting a ripsnortingly good tale. Alas, though, I had difficulties with the actual telling of the
Crime by the Book
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gets off to a slower start, but it will reward the patient reader. By the last third of the book I simply couldn't put it down!! And the beginning is definitely well-written too, but it feels like the author is finding his footing with the story for the first 150ish pages. Once he does, it's absolutely fantastic. If you're looking for a police procedural with a contemplative angle, and are open to a writing style that is intentionally a bit choppy and unique, you will enjoy this book a ...more
Beth (bibliobeth)
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed this swedish crime novel, but read it in small chunks and think it is the kind of book you should read in a big gulp! My reason for this is because the writing style comes across as a stream of consciousness at times which is unique and enjoyable but requires a bit of concentration.
Diane S ☔
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 This is a very unusual Nordic mystery in that it almost reads like a stream of consciousness novel. Took some getting used to because the prose is anything but direct. Switches from third to first person consistently and the dead body has thoughts of its own. Yet I liked it quite a bit, the detective is an interesting character, her daughter has problems and she is still mourning the loss of her marriage. The storyline is brilliant, actually quite sad and the novel has many twists and turns ...more
Ancestral Gaidheal
Why did I read it? I have been enjoying Scandinavian and Nordic fiction of late; something about it resonates with me, and this came up in recommendations somewhere, and as the reviews weren’t bad I decided to delve in.

What’s it about? A man is found hanging, seemingly sacrificed, in the woods outside Linköping, Sweden, during a bitterly cold, winter’s night. Malin Fors, a police detective and single mother, investigates, trying to find the victim, the perpetrator and her own way in life.

"An inv
S.B. Wright
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magnus Utvik[1] is quoted as saying “Don’t Bother with Stig Larsson, Kallentoft is better”. Now while I wince at the promotion of one author at the expense of another Utvik is right about the quality of Kallentoft’s Midwinter Sacrifice.

Kallentoft with help from translator Neil Smith delivers a distinct impression of place, of Swedish culture, along with a chilling tale of murder and the dark underside of family relations.

The Story

A man is found beaten, tortured and hung in a tree. A midwinter
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: passed-on
The opening is striking.

A man’s body, naked and mutilated, was found hanging from a tree on a frozen plane.

It was midwinter and snow had been falling heavily, obliterating evidence.

Malin Fors was first on the scene, and she would lead the investigation. She was a bright and capable detective, but she was struggling with life as the single mother of a teenage daughter. I liked her from the start.

The story moved slowly as the investigation moved forward.

It took time to identify the dead man. He ha
Paul Pessolano
“Midwinter Blood” by Mons Kallentoft, published by Emily Bestler Books.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

This is another mystery/thriller coming out of Sweden. “Midwinter Blood” has been a bestseller and sold over 300,000 copies in Sweden alone.

Malin Fors is a crime investigator and is balancing her career with her home life. She is divorced and has a teenage daughter.

Malin is called out on a cold and wintery morning to the scene of a gruesome crime. A young man, who has been bullied and looked down up
In Linkoping, Sweden, Malin Fors is a young, superintendent of the police force with a teenage daughter. Malin is called to a murder scene where she sees an obese man who had been tortured and murdered. He is hanging from a tree.

The victim, Bengt Andersson was a man who was ignored by most people and bullied by others due to his weight and shyness. He lived in an area Malin describes as including "...scared kids, teased kids, never go to school kids. Alcoholic's kids."

His father was cruel and ab
Emma Allan
Really struggled to get on with this book. The style of writing meant that the story felt disjointed and at times baffling. I wasn't sure if this was the way the book had been translated but having read other translated books and not found them hard to follow I'm fairly certain that this wasn't the case. The choppy style made me feel like something big was going to happen and I think if the story had been fast paced then I would have felt the style was justified however the story was in fact ver ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm still slogging through this book, but I'm having a time of it. The problem could be due partly to me suffering from Whodunit Fatigue. I've been reading so many murder mystery/police procedural novels lately and they're all beginning to merge in my mind. Hardly the fault of the books themselves, but it would be nice if there was something fresh and new to read.

While I like that the personal lives of the characters are woven throughout, it would be nice if there was a bit more to them than si
Nick Davies
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Initially, I really quite enjoyed it - the characters were interesting and believable (and the borderline alcoholic female detective protagonist didn't turn into a badly written walking stereotype of a troubled cop or a pathetic over-introspective fawning woman), the quality of the description was high quality, the sharp/abrupt style involving, and the plot went off with shock and drama.

Alas the longer it went on, the more it started to feel like three or four separate stories had been cut up an
Robert Leatherby
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good detective story with enough twists and turns to keep you interested throughout. I enjoyed the style of the writing with the murder victim's thought being added at points throughout. The characters are both believable and likeable adding depth to the story. Another good Scandinavian mystery, I will be sure to read the next in the series.
Sue B
Feb 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tried to get into this, but I think the translation into English probably caused the clunkiness of this. I couldn't get past a few chapters.
Michelle Winchester
This wasn't that great. There were a few interesting elements and the main story was good, but it was kind of killed by the writing for me.
I have nothing against literary crime fiction, I love Peter May to bits, but Kallentoft writing was a big miss for me. It felt like too much and at the same time not enough. I understand that he wrote some literary fiction before and that he's well recieved, so I'm probably one of the few people, but I'm ok with that. For me, the writing was trying to be atmo
Allison Ketchell
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
"The cold stinks." "Maybe. But it still doesn't seem to have any smell, does it?" I have been on quite a Nordic crime fiction kick lately (along with everyone else), so the publication of Kallentoft's MIDWINTER BLOOD in English (as the first of four novels following Superintendent Malin Fors of the Linkoping police) was exciting for me. While all Nordic crime fiction speaks of cold and isolation, MIDWINTER BLOOD adds another dimension that sets it apart: insight into nearly every character's tho ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimepieces

In many ways, this book has many of the characteristics that I associate with the Scandinavain crime fiction genre. It is set in one of the coldest ever Swedish winters and police detective Malin Fors is called to the countryside outside the town of Linköping where a man is found mutilated and hanging from a tree in the frozen wastes. Initial investigations suggest that it could be connected the ancient practice of a ‘midwinter sacrifice’, making offerings to the gods in return for happiness. Ho
Lukasz Pruski
Although Mons Kallentoft's novel "Midwinter Blood" is subtitled "A Thriller", it really is more of a police procedural. It is a Swedish procedural/thriller, with quite a complex plot. Detective Inspector Malin Fors is the main protagonist. Along with her police colleagues she is trying to solve a brutal murder of a man whose naked and mutilated body was found hanging from a tree. Soon, it becomes clear that the case has its roots in the distant past.

Ms. Fors is a divorced mother with a teenage d
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am waiting for some library books to arrive in a series I am reading, so I saw this on the shelf and the cover attracted me to it. I thought I'd give it a go and it turned out to be a really good read. Another Swedish author, I have a real yen for Swedish/Icelandic books recently, and so far, I have found them great. This one is the first of a series of I think four, although, the author has written some others. The main character here was a female Detective called Malin Fors, a single mother ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really rare to see exceptional writing in a police procedural/whodunnit: the author gets perfectly the eerie feeling of isolation and loneliness from living in a small town during a snowy, subzero winter. (Note to those in the Northeast and Upper Midwest who are living under one of the nastiest winters in recent history: this book may be triggering if you suffer from cabin fever.) I sometimes forgot I was reading a murder mystery as Kallentoft delved into the lives of his characters and their to ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book started as very interesting, but at the end I was so disappointed. There was too much questions unanswered. (view spoiler)
I also didn't like Malin too much. (vie
Hans Brienesse
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that initially you wish would hurry along a bit but as the reader gets further through the pages the inertia felt is translated well into the day to day machinations of ploice work. And it is not just the police hunting the criminals either! Like so many of the scandinavian crime novels the story is scattered through with the daily workings of humdrum lives. And again the end, when it comes, is not resolved in the way many crime novels finish; all cut and dried. Read i ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
I enjoy reading Scandinavian mysteries. Kalentoft is a new author for me and this is the first of a series of novels. The murder of a lonely and obese man with him speaking from the dead was different. The haves and the have nots in Swedish society echo any Western country.

I think the English translation was not that great. However, I liked the way Malin was a flawed character and dogged in her search for the truth. All in all a good read and a solid 3.5.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
initially I was riveted by this book. it is entirely different from the crime fiction I'm familiar with (Ian Rankin, Val McDiarmid, Ruth Rendell, etc etc). it is darker more atmospheric, very Scandinavian in fact, and very like the the TV adaptations. but I thought it was was just a bit too long, too over indulgent and so at times I was just a wee bit bored- not very bored but just aware it was going on a bit!! still I am keen to try more Scandinavian crime writing so back to the library!!
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Midwinter Blood (Malin Fors #1) 1 3 Aug 06, 2013 06:12PM  

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After being awarded the Swedish equivalent to the Whitbread Award for his debut novel Pesetas, Mons Kallentoft chose to give his own unique take on the classic Scandinavian crime novel. His success was immediate. The first book in the series about superintendent Malin Fors received unanimous praise from the national critics; it also conquered the bestseller charts and has today sold more than 300, ...more

Other books in the series

Malin Fors (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Summer Death (Malin Fors #2)
  • Autumn Killing (Malin Fors, #3)
  • Spring Remains
  • Den femte årstiden (Malin Fors, #5)
  • Vattenänglar
  • Vindsjälar
  • Jordstorm
  • Eldjägarna
  • Djävulsdoften
  • Bödelskyssen

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“Iubirea și moartea sunt vecine.
Au unul și același chip.
Nu ai cum să li te împotrivești.
Două persoane se întâlnesc.
Se-ndrăgostesc fulgerător.
Se iubesc.
Se iubesc și se doresc și, într-o zi, dragostea dispare tot atât de brusc pe cum a apărut.
Sau poate că, de la bun început, dragostea este imposibilă, dar și inevitabilă.”
“Some nights the bed is endlessly wide, some nights it contains all the loneliness in the world. Some nights it is soft and promising, when waiting for sleep is the best part of the day. Some nights, like this one, the bed is hard, the mattress an enemy that wants to force your thoughts into the wrong track, that seems to want to mock you for lying there alone, without another body to rest into and against.” 4 likes
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