Nancy Oakes's Reviews > Midwinter Sacrifice

Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoft
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
900340
's review
Nov 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-fiction-scandinavia, crime-fiction, translated-crime-fiction
Read from November 05 to December 08, 2011

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 lives in the Swedish city of Linköping with her young, 13-year-old daughter Tove. On a freezing cold morning, temperature minus 30, Malin and her partner arrive at the scene of a most brutal crime: a man hangs from a tree, noose around his neck, savagely beaten and finished off with a knife. He hadn't hanged himself; it was obvious that whoever murdered him had left him there. He is identified as Bengt Andersson, a loner unable to work due to mental health issues. He's one of those eccentric guys that everyone makes fun of; or who some see as a target for harrassment; a man who loved waiting outside the fence at the local soccer field so he could retrieve balls that came his way. Once he is identified, the investigation begins in earnest. There are different theories of the crime, but the first clue the detectives uncover is a rumor that as a boy, Andersson had put an axe into his father's head. Just who was Bengt Andersson, and what kind of person was he that someone would unleash so much violence against him?

Overall, Midwinter Sacrifice is a fine series opener, a good police procedural with characters that need a bit more fleshing out but which are pretty well drawn for a first series installment. My concerns are very minor compared with the entire day I spent being transfixed with this book (and I did spend all of today reading it without doing a blasted thing otherwise), and they're largely issues that appear in many first series novels. The translation flowed -- there were no awkward moments here whatsoever to cause any sort of pause. If you're cool with dead men thinking out loud, then the only other thing that might give readers pause is the ending, which I will not go into -- suffice it to say it may leave some readers scratching their heads. I'll recommend it to readers of Scandinavian crime fiction, but don't expect a gimmicky serial killer with lots of thrill ride attached if that's what you're into.
12 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Midwinter Sacrifice.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

12/08/2011 page 440
100.0%
07/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy Aw, Jeez -- no fair. You and Anna are filling up my wishlist. Javaczuk and I are heavily into the Nordic mysteries and you keep finding such good ones! I'd better live a lot longer than anticipated so that I can keep reading them all!


Nancy Oakes Did you read the long review? It's much more telling about what I didn't care for about the book.

I'm trying to read all of the mysteries eligible for the international dagger award this year; they lean very heavily toward the scandinavian!


message 3: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy I did. And even with what you didn't care for, it's still great to find new series. What we love about Scandinavian mysteries is the glimpse into that world and mindset. I always have to make sure there's herring in the house when my husband is reading one!


message 4: by Gisela (new) - added it

Gisela Hafezparast Great review Nancy. Goes on the the list, especially since it is a first in a series. Thanks


Nancy Oakes You're welcome. I love finding authors new to me!


Rachel Did all the focus on Tove bother anyone else? I found it tedious. I am listening to an audio version and I don't think the narrator is helping the telling of this tale. This is most unusual, I generally find the audio gives great atmosphere


Rachel Did all the focus on Tove bother anyone else? I found it tedious. I am listening to an audio version and I don't think the narrator is helping the telling of this tale. This is most unusual, I generally find the audio gives great atmosphere


back to top