Only One Life

Overview

Jealousy, obsession, and family honor have fatal consequences for an immigrant community on the fringes of seemingly idyllic Copenhagen society.It was clearly no ordinary drowning. Inspector Louise Rick is immediately called out to Holbraek Fjord when a young immigrant girl is found in the watery depths, a piece of concrete tied around her waist and two mysterious circular patches on the back of her neck.Her name was Samra, and Louise soon learns that her short life was a sad story. Her father had already been ...
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Overview

Jealousy, obsession, and family honor have fatal consequences for an immigrant community on the fringes of seemingly idyllic Copenhagen society.It was clearly no ordinary drowning. Inspector Louise Rick is immediately called out to Holbraek Fjord when a young immigrant girl is found in the watery depths, a piece of concrete tied around her waist and two mysterious circular patches on the back of her neck.Her name was Samra, and Louise soon learns that her short life was a sad story. Her father had already been charged once with assaulting her and her mother, Sada, who makes it clear that her husband would indeed be capable of killing Samra if she brought dishonor to the family. But she maintains that Samra hadn't done anything dishonorable. Then why was she supposed to be sent back to Jordan? Samra’s best friend Dicte thinks it was an honor killing. A few days later Dicte is discovered, bludgeoned to death, and Samra's younger sister has gone missing.Navigating the complex web of family and community ties in Copenhagen’s tightly knit ethnic communities, Louise must find this remorseless predator, or predators, before it is too late.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Blaedel’s earnest second police procedural to be published in the U.S. (after 2011’s Call Me Princess), Copenhagen cop Louise Rick looks into the death of 15-year-old Samra al-Abd, a member of the city’s close-knit community of Jordanian immigrants, found in shallow water of a nearby fjord weighed down with concrete. Is this an unfortunate but mundane murder, or an honor killing, a family turning on one of its own? The subsequent fatal bludgeoning of Samra’s best friend, Dicta Møller, confuses the issue. Hostile, judgmental Danish media spotlight Samra’s violent family history as Rick and her colleagues struggle to find the truth behind the two girls’ murders. The novel presents a nuanced and compassionate view of modern Copenhagen’s immigrants, eschewing a simple-minded demonization of outsiders or of the Danes themselves, but the workmanlike prose and flat depiction of the investigation make the story less engaging than it should be. (Sept.)
Karin Slaughter
“Sara Blaedel is a force to be reckoned with. She delivers an engaging story that any reader in the world can enjoy.”
Camilla Läckberg
“Exciting and thrilling. Blaedel is at the top of her game and a star on the rise.”
Kirkus Reviews
What looks depressingly like the honor killing of a young Jordanian immigrant takes Louise Rick from the Copenhagen Police Department to a special assignment in the town of Holbæk. Why would someone strangle a ninth-grade student and sink her body in Udby Cove? At 15, Samra al-Abd wasn't old enough to have serious enemies; according to her protective parents Ibrahim and Sada, she wasn't even old enough to have a boyfriend. And surely Benedicta Møller, the friend who reported her missing, couldn't possibly have hated her enough to kill her or gotten access to the boat that must have been used to dispose of her body. In the absence of any other leads, the Mobile Task Force to which Louise (Call Me Princess, 2011) has been assigned looks inside her family for suspects, even though that's the last place they'd look if the victim weren't Muslim. So does Louise's friend, crime reporter Camilla Lind, whose editor ups the ante further by slapping an incendiary headline on the story she's struggled to make evenhanded. The only thing that could possibly undermine the assumption that someone in Samra's family killed her to protect their reputation after she committed some unforgivable sin that Louise has yet to discover is another murder, and that's exactly what happens when Dicta Møller is found dead. Given the dramatically different crime scenes, it's hard to believe that the same killer is responsible for both. Yet what are the odds that two murderers are walking the streets of Holbæk targeting schoolgirls? Conventionally shaped and a bit slow-moving, but distinguished from the increasingly crowded pack of Scandinavian imports by its open-mindedness in handling sensitive material and its respect for the dignity of every single character and viewpoint.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605983509
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 7/1/2012
  • Series: Pegasus Crime Series
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Blaedel is the author of the international bestselling series featuring Detective Louise Rick and journalist Camilla Lind, including Call Me Princess and Only One Life. Her books are published in seventeen countries. She lives in Copenhagen, and was voted Denmark's most popular novelist for the third time in 2011.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An Intel­li­gent Mys­tery

    Only One Life by Sara Blædel is a fic­tional mys­tery book set in Den­mark. This is the sec­ond book trans­lated into Eng­lish in the series fea­tur­ing Detec­tive Louise Rick.

    When a young girl is found in a watery grave of Hol­braek Fjord , Inspec­tor Louise Rick is called due to her expe­ri­ence, knowl­edge and tact­ful­ness with immi­grants. The dead girl, as it turned out, is Samra, who lived in a new coun­try, while her par­ents enforced old tra­di­tions. Samra’s mother main­tains that she did noth­ing to “deserve” an honor killing, but Inspec­tor Rick can detect that there is more than meets the eye.

    Only One Life by Sara Blædel lives up to the pre­vi­ous novel, Call Me Princess, which I read about a year ago and enjoyed as well. The book is excit­ing and the char­ac­ters are well writ­ten and con­tinue to build up and expand from the pre­vi­ous book (even though I under­stand that there are more untrans­lated books).

    The book touches on some rel­e­vant top­ics, such as honor killing, social intol­er­ance and sex­ual based crimes. The author explores these sub­jects, and more, with­out forc­ing her own moral­ity or ide­ol­ogy down the read­ers’ throats, which is a big plus for me. I love to read about dif­fer­ent cul­tures and ideas, but I dis­like absolutes. Ms. Blædel stays away from giv­ing advice but sup­ply­ing plenty of mate­r­ial to think about dur­ing and after reading.

    There are sev­eral things I like about Ms. Blædel’s work, the social aspect and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion come imme­di­ately to mind. The author writes about a con­scious soci­ety, while not per­fect it cer­tainly isn’t the dog-eat-dog world which we read about in other books. I also like the char­ac­ter of Louise Rick, not a clas­sic hero nor is she an anti-hero, just a sim­ple work­ing pro­fes­sional who makes mis­takes, gets emo­tional, some­times frus­trated with her jobs, col­leagues and her friends.
    Basi­cally, a human being.

    Only One Life is an intel­li­gent mys­tery, with a mur­der as a device to tell a story about peo­ple while bring­ing up some impor­tant ques­tions. The book is solid, well trans­lated and read­able which is an amaz­ing feat due to the heavy sub­jects it tries to deal with.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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