Review of Bad Blood – Arne Dahl

Posted: May 7, 2014 in crime, mystery, Review
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bad blood

Bad Blood is Arne Dahl’s second book about A Gruppen or, if you prefer the English the Intercrime Group and was originally released in Sweden in 1998. That small piece of data is important because until I had checked the fine print inside the fly leaf I was suffering not a small amount of confusion as to time and place for the action of the story – as so much has changed in the fifteen years that passed before this book was translated into English.

The novel is a police procedural about a serial killer newly landed in Sweden from the United States of America. But there is something very unusual about this killer, he went quiet for fifteen years before starting up again and no one knows why. The members of A Gruppen were assembled to solve a series of murders a year ago and have grown rusty and restless since the dust settled on that investigation. Now there is a new case to reinvigorate the team. And so it goes.

Besides the dislocation caused by reading something I hadn’t released was a bit dated I found this book difficult to warm to. It is written in a very tele-visual style that would lend itself to easy translation to the small screen (which has already happened to five of the books in the series) but can make for a disjointed reading experience. And because A Gruppen is a team of investigators each member has his or her chapter or three as lead character – not in itself a bad thing but just when I was warming to a character they would fade to the background as spotlight shifted to another team member. But around halfway the action and the interest picked up and Bad Blood developed into a real page turner.

In some not something I would whole heartedly recommend, but not an author I would shun either. And next time I shall check the original publication date so I don’t start wondering about the author’s use of anachronisms.

Harvill Secker

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Simon

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