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The Blue Place

(Aud Torvingen #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,101 ratings  ·  179 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
Paperback, 308 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published July 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,101 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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This book absolutely blew me away, again.

Aud Torvingen is a very self-contained woman when first we meet her - she has ordered her life as she likes it, preferring not to waste time on things like useless running to nowhere for fitness, instead expending her energy to create if she feels the need to make her muscles move. She has money, and uses it to smooth out the bumps in life. She has friends, but she also has some very solid barriers around herself.

But as the book goes on and she begins to
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, 2011
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
Lex Kent
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A very tough heroine. A convoluted mystery involving art appraisal. Some traditional Scandinavian cuisine.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Christine Thrasher
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
anna (readingpeaches)
a lesbian novel from 1998 so this could be either a disaster or really, really cool....................

anyway, the girl on the cover made me gay
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Have you ever wanted to either be or date a six-foot tall Norwegian lesbian who knows 100 different ways to kill a person? Then is this ever the book for you! Aud is wealthy, sophisticated, intelligent, strong and quick-thinking. She is emotionally distant from everyone around here, but when Julia, a beautiful young art dealer, asks her for help, Aud can't help but be drawn in. This book feels very much like wish-fulfillment: Aud is a superhero character, larger-than-life. Unfortunately for me, ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Blue Place" (Aud Torvingen #1) is ripe for the Masterpiece Theater series on BBC. "Stay in this world. Stay alive inside. Promise me."
Micah Stupak
Sep 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
...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
Oct 25, 2013 added it
Shelves: lesbian-mystery
The Blue Place was the first lesbian mystery novel I ever read. Unfortunately, that was too long ago to say much about it now, but I know I found it too violent for my taste. Aud is a shoot-first, shoot-later kind of gal. I have no desire to read the sequels, although Griffith's SF adventures are very enjoyable.
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, queer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Matthew Gatheringwater
Jul 04, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Why on earth didn't I find Nicola Griffith earlier?
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Agree with the reviewer who said the plot was not necessary. Loved the trip to Norway. Also disagree with the other reviewer who said there was no tension. I think there was a lot of suspense.

The 90's dressing and styling was funny in retrospect since we all wear grey sweats all the time.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
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,
Cindy O
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Adan Ramie
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I find myself almost salivating reading a book, and this was that kind of book for me. The imagery was so rich, so detailed, that I wanted to devour this story all at once. Aud is an amazing character, one that I could see spending several books with, and the story was an engaging one.

The only problem I had with the book was that it seemed to be quite a slow burner. Day after day, my wife asked me how far I was, and how I enjoyed it. I always said I loved it, getting closer to the end
Beth Bernobich
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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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

Other books in the series

Aud Torvingen (3 books)
  • Stay (Aud Torvingen #2)
  • Always (Aud Torvingen #3)
“There is one thing Margaret Thatcher said that I agree with: if you have to tell people you're important, you're not.” 2 likes
“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.” 2 likes
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