Sun Storm (published as The Savage Altar in the UK, see also our review of The Black Path), Asa (Åsa) Larsson’s first book (published in English in 2006), starts with a bang: “When Viktor Strandgård dies it is not, in fact, for the first time.” Asa Larsson, born in 1966 in Uppsala, Sweden, is an author, translator, and tax lawyer (now a full time writer).
Viktor Strandgard, a preacher of a church in northern Sweden called The Source of All Strength, is found in the chapel viciously slaughtered. His sister Sanna discovers the body and is emotionally at a breaking point. She contacts her friend Rebecka Martinson, a tax attorney in Stockholm, for her help. Rebecca Martinsson is an overworked junior member in a Stockholm law firm, and comes from remote Kiruna, far north in Sweden. Now Rebecca immediately returns to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before and the craziness she thought she had escaped. And when Sanna is arrested for the murder, Rebecca feels she has to prove her innocence as well as take care of her two young girls.
In trying to solve the case, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess. And the closer Rebecka gets to the solution, the more danger she places herself in.
In Sun Storm, Asa Larsson builds suspense gradually but inexorably. Sun Storm has wonderful characters and a plot that twists and turns. The end is maybe a little over-written, but all in all this is a stunning debut and holds great promise for future books. Asa Larson is a very talented writer, and the book is breathtaking.
More reviews of books by Asa Larsson