Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bad Blood - Arne Dahl

My review of Bad Blood first appeared in last week's Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am re-posting it here with their permission.

First line: Pain beyond words, he thinks.

Writing about serial killers in Sweden is a challenge since there really isn’t such a problem in their country. So, Arne Dahl does the next best thing in his second book of the Intercrime Trilogy—he imports one from the United States.

“This is a seriously damaged person of the sort that the American system seems to produce on an assembly line, and that they would have been welcome to refrain from exporting. But now he’s here.” And “he” unleashes his fury on three Swedish victims, so the “National Criminal Police’s Special Unit for Violent Crimes of an International Character” locks and loads for the ultimate manhunt. At every turn they face new challenges that intensify the stakes and obscure the goals. Sweden may never be the same again.

Being the middle book of a trilogy can often deter new readers, but Dahl has done an exceptional job of writing Bad Blood to stand independent of its predecessor as a self-contained plot—a plot brimming with deception, twists and suspense. Nothing is what it seems.

Dahl’s special police unit is a diverse group of law enforcement agents whose chemistry creates dark humor amid the intense themes. Their flaws make them empathetic; their strengths, cheer-worthy.

Recognition should also be made for Wilson-Broyles’ exemplary translation. The beauty of Dahl’s language juxtaposed with the heinous subject matter is preserved in this English version, allowing readers to appreciate Dahl’s skill with dialogue and imagery.

There may be plenty of bad blood in this thriller, but it makes for great reading.

Bad Blood is available in hardcover from Pantheon Books. An unabridged audio download (ISBN: 9780307913852), narrated by John Lee, is available from RandomHouse Audio. 


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