THE BLACK PATH

Written by Asa Larsson

Review written by Katherine Armstrong

Katherine Armstrong has worked in publishing for over six years. She is a crime fiction Editor for an independent publishing company in London.


THE BLACK PATH
MacLehose Press
RRP: £18.99
Released: 7th June 2012
Hbk

I’m a huge fan of Asa Larsson’s Rebecka Martinsson series having discovered The Savage Altar a few years ago. Among the current female Scandi crime authors at the minute I think that Asa Larsson is one of the best. In her heroine Rebecka Martinsson we have a tough yet vulnerable lawyer who has overcome major personal issues to enjoy a fragile peace.

This is incredibly evident in The Black Path as Martinsson is released from a psychiatric hospital after being admitted following the events that happened at the end of The Blood Spilt. Going to work as a Special Prosecutor in Kiruna, Martinsson becomes involved in the investigation surrounding the murder of lawyer Inna Wattrang, who was found frozen in a fishing ark in the middle of northern Sweden. Martinsson’s involvement in the case puts her back in touch with Anna-Maria Mella and Sven-Erik Stålnacke, the cops who witnessed her breakdown in The Blood Spilt, and whose murder investigation this is.

As they delve into Inna Wattrang’s work for a mining company they discover that there may be more to Kallis Mining and the elusive owner Mauri Kallis than first meets the eye. The relationships between Mauri Kallis, Inna Wattrang and Diddi Wattrang, Inna’s brother, and their families are various and complex. Allegiances are fluid and their power dynamic, once so strong, seems to be shifting. So, was Inna a threat to someone, someone who felt it necessary to torture her before killing her? And how does her murder link to the recent case of a suspected suicide?

The Black Path is slightly confusing for readers as it is the third book in the Rebecka Martinsson series and precedes Until Thy Wrath Be Past, which was published last year and has been shortlisted for the 2012 CWA International Dagger. While it is great that the series has found a new UK home it is unfortunate that these more recent books haven’t been published in order. I also have to agree with other reviews that I’ve read that the frequent switching from the present to the past tense in the narrative can be quite irritating at times. While Larsson has a gift for character development and dramatic situations, which she brings to every novel, I have to admit that I much preferred Until Thy Wrath Be Past. Still, I look forward to the next Asa Larsson novel as she really is ‘the one to watch’.

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