The Second Deadly Sin

The Second Deadly Sin

3.3 3
by Asa Larsson

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Asa Larsson 's Rebecka Martinsson series was included on a list of Top Mysteries Every Woman Should Read by Oprah Winfrey, who called Rebecka Martinsson a "brilliant, believable" female detective. Now in The Second Deadly Sin Rebecka Martinsson's courage to the test once more in her most twisted and unpredictable case yet.

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Asa Larsson 's Rebecka Martinsson series was included on a list of Top Mysteries Every Woman Should Read by Oprah Winfrey, who called Rebecka Martinsson a "brilliant, believable" female detective. Now in The Second Deadly Sin Rebecka Martinsson's courage to the test once more in her most twisted and unpredictable case yet.

After successfully tracking down and killing a rogue bear in the wilderness of northern Sweden, a group of hunters is shaken by a grisly discovery when they dress the bear carcass: human remains in the stomach. Far away in the remote village of Kurravaara, an elderly woman is found murdered with frenzied brutality, crude abuse scrawled above her bloodied bed. Her young grandson, known to live with her, is nowhere to be found.

Only Kiruna prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson sees a connection between the two events, but thanks to the machinations of a jealous rival, she is dropped from the case. Continuing to pursue answers in an unofficial capacity, and with the reluctant assistance of her friend and police inspector Anna-Maria Mella, Rebecka stands alone against a ruthless killer. At the root of it all is a horrifying, century-old crime, the tendrils of which continue to hold the small community in their grip.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Larsson’s compelling fifth Rebecka Martinsson thriller (after 2011’s Until Thy Wrath Be Past), the prosecutor travels to the far north of Sweden to investigate a murder victim’s troubling family history. Before Sol-Britt Uusitalo was stabbed to death, her son was killed in an unsolved hit-and-run, and her father’s remains were discovered inside a slain bear. The century-old murder of Sol-Britt’s grandmother in Kiruna, an iron mining town, also remains unsolved. Rebecka, sidelined by a conniving colleague, looks into the earlier deaths for a motive as the official investigation focuses more narrowly on Sol-Britt’s case. The murderer stalks the woman’s seven-year-old grandson, Marcus. Larsson excels at creating engaging, complex characters whose interactions and development provide as much forward momentum as the search for the killer. The settingalternates between the present and WWI-era Kiruna, with uneven pacing and a few holes. Depictions of brutality are unflinching, and readers should be prepared for scenes of animal cruelty. Agent: Astri von Arbin Ahlander, Ahlander Agency (Sweden). (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"Spanning a century, the plot is labyrinthine and suspenseful. Larsson's characters and their worlds are closely observed, revealing small-town small-mindedness in contemporary Sweden and the elemental struggle for survival a century before, when children might be sold into servitude at a "pauper's auction." Larsson has given her fans another winner (Until Thy Wrath Be Past, 2011)."—Booklist"

Compelling . . . Larsson excels at creating engaging, complex characters whose interactions and development provide as much forward momentum as the search for the killer."—Publishers Weekly"

With a more literary approach to the genre... Larsson remains one of the brightest stars in the current Nordic firmament... perceptive touches quicken the narrative throughout, and the characterization of the bloody-minded Rebecka (who Larsson really puts through the mill here) keeps The Second Deadly Sin firmly grounded."—Barry Forshaw, The Independent"

A must read series for me and the novel's ending hints at new directions for Rebecka which should shake up future books a little."—Louise Welsh, Crimepieces"

shows that Larsson is yet another powerful Nordic storyteller"—Minneapolis Star Tribune"

Åsa Larsson's books have a strong feeling of female empowerment, and not just through the strong female leads of Rebecka and Anna-Marie. This book manages to cleverly pass comment on how arrogance, pompousness and at times, weakness in a subset of men can lead to undesirable outcomes (though I should say that most men in the story are depicted in a much more favourable light!). It also shows how strong ties and co-operation between women are important in finding solutions. Rebecka's vulnerability and sense of past, combined with her strong-mindedness determination, thoughtfulness, and ever-developing character is something the reader can empathise and engage with. An interesting plot, combined with intriguing characters, means that all I want now is to read the next outing in the series! And, as always, there is a great translation from Laurie Thompson."—EuroCrime"

I'm a big Åsa Larsson fan: the first two books in the series are some of my favorites. Rebecka is not a typical heroine, her cases are tough on her, and the setting in extreme northern Sweden is vivid."—Ms. Wordopolis"

engrossing . . . The story is unique, well-written and keeps you guessing on who the murderer(s) is. I would definitely recommend this."—BooksGalore"

Fascinating . . . The reader's attention is held hostage from the onset with action and suspense."—Terrific Reads"

I must go back to the beginning and read this series."—Books Movies Reviews Oh My"

The author has in previous novels proven herself masterful and this is no exception . . . having finished this author's "Until Thy Wrath Be Past," this equally intriguing tale was another treat, and is also recommended."—Gloria Feit, Midwest Book Review

Kirkus Reviews
Another heinous murder in the frozen north.In the tradition of modern Nordic crime fiction popularized by another Larsson, this is a stark, bloody book with strong female leads. There are two separate but related stories running parallel: the modern-day murder of a waitress and the tale of the victim's grandmother, who was murdered many years earlier. When a woman is found slain and her small grandson missing, Rebecka Martinsson, a prosecutor in cold, sometimes-barren Northern Sweden, once again teams up with detective Anna-Maria Mella to solve the crime. But when Martinsson crosses a vain and incompetent prosecutor who wants the case, he takes it over, and she goes on vacation. Though she's off the case, she hasn't quit looking into it. She thinks there's a correlation between the killings of several members of the same family: The woman, her son, her father and grandmother all died under mysterious circumstances. As Martinsson gets closer to the truth, she and the victim's grandson become vulnerable, bringing them closer to danger and the truth about all the killings. Larsson's writings have the same dark and bloody bleakness that readers of Scandinavian crime fiction crave, and the details of the twin cases prove compelling. Even more interesting than the crimes themselves, though, are the day-to-day details of life in both present-day and turn-of-the-century Northern Sweden, where winter's brutality is a normal component of life. One warning: Sensitive readers may find some aspects of the novel disturbing. The real draws here are neither the crimes nor the accompanying mysteries, but rather the deeply compelling atmosphere.The translation proves odd and stiff in places, veering between American and British colloquialisms, but this glimpse into Swedish life in the boonies is fascinating.

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Product Details

Publication date:
Rebecka Martinsson Series, #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

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The Second Deadly Sin 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Nels130 More than 1 year ago
This book, the fifth Asa Larsson novel with protagonist Rebecka Martinsson has brought Ms Larsson's writing to a higher level. The plot is is complex and entertaining. Prosecutor Martinsson is more fully revealed, sympathetic and can be compared to Henning Markwell's, Kurt  Wallander as a fully formed complex human being. This book is a great read.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
The newest entry in the Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson series begins with the discovery of the carcass of a massive bear, evidence indicating that he had mauled and feasted upon a human victim. Not long after, in distant Kurravaara, Martinsson is assigned the investigation into the brutal killing of a woman, Sol-Britt Uusitalo, the daughter of the man identified as that victim, murdered in her bed; her seven-year-old grandson, who lived with her, is nowhere to be found. As the investigation continues, it soon appears that Sol-Britt’s grandfather and grandmother had years ago each also been murdered, in separate incidents, and three years earlier her son was run over in what appeared to be a hit-and-run incident. Like police everywhere in the world, neither Rebecka nor any of her colleagues believed in coincidence. As always, there are office politics in play as Rebecka is soon officially taken off the case. But that’s never hampered her before, nor does it here. Essential to the tale are glimpses into Rebecka’s private life, including her on-again-off-again romance with one of the partners in the Stockholm law firm where she used to work, and her colleagues, chiefly mother-of-four Inspector Anna-Maria Mella and Krister Eriksson, the police dog handler (learning to live with the fact that he and Rebecka are destined to be no more than friends), and her neighbor, Sivving, who is “closer to her than anybody else in the world,” and all their respective canine pets, who become as much a part of the tale as any of the humans. The writing is lovely, e.g.: “Who can love perfection? No, love requires solicitude, and solicitude requires the loved one to have faults, requires wounds, frailty. Love wants to heal. Perfection has no need of healing. Perfection cannot be loved, merely worshipped.” The action takes place in the winter in the far north of Lapland, whose atmosphere is wonderfully well-evoked by the author, as “forbidding as the creaking, squeaking, relentless midwinter.” The present-day chapters frequently alternate with flashbacks to the period between 1914, when the was in Europe is escalating into WWII, through the end of the war in 1919, and for the next several years up to and including 1926, when their relevance is made crystal clear. The author has in previous novels proven herself masterful in using this device, and this is no exception. After just having finished this author’s “Until Thy Wrath Be Past,” this equally intriguing tale was another treat, and is also recommended.
BeatricePortinari More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of this series since the first book, however, after reading this book, I won't be reading another. No fewer than 3 dogs died in this book, which I find disturbing as it was not a book about someone who kills dogs, so to kill 3 is just too creepy for me. It's too bad, because there are other things about the character and series I like, but I can't get past the dead dogs. Good-bye, Rebekka.