Monday, May 5, 2014

Black Lies, Red Blood - Kjell Eriksson

My review of Black Lies, Red Blood first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It is appearing here today with their permission.
First line: "'You're different,' said Ann Lindell."

Kjell Eriksson’s Swedish police squad returns in the fifth novel of his mystery series. While Beatrice Andersson and Sammy Nilsson head up the investigation of a murdered homeless man, Ann Lindell works on a missing person’s case--a 16-year-old girl disappeared without a trace on her birthday. Ann is determined to find out what happened to the teen, but she’s also quietly keeping one eye on the murder investigation: the journalist she’s secretly been dating is a prime suspect, and he’s abruptly left the country.

As Ann tries to find her lover and unravel his connection to the murder, she examines her life and the emptiness that continues to plague her, leaving her unhappy and unfulfilled.

Despite Black Lies, Red Blood being a later entry in an established series, the mystery is easy to pick up without having experienced the earlier novels. Ann Lindell’s past plays a substantial role in her character development, but the necessary background is incorporated without superfluous detail. Additionally, her traditional role as the damaged detective negates the need for much history since it’s an understood constant in the detective genre.

Overall the writing is rich and compelling, but at various points it’s uncharacteristically crass; this may be due in part to the translation.

Eriksson’s characters lack any distinctive qualities to be true standouts, but the plot is captivatingly constructed, doling out clues and red herrings in sparse enough quantities to avoid spoiling the outcome but plentiful enough to keep readers guessing and pursuing the answer to “who dunnit?”

Black Lies, Red Blood is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780312605049) from Minotaur Books. 


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