Welcome to my stop for Blood Song by Johana Gustawson. Thanks so much to Orenda Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join this blog tour! Before you read my review, check out how wonderful this novel sounds first:
The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the lastest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series
Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.
Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.
Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons.
She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.
I’ve been putting off writing this review… dear god no, not because I didn’t like this novel, it’s more because this one’s making it hard to find the right words without sounding like a crazy fan. You see I’ve been with this series since the first novel and each one is so special. I’m not an historical reader but this author really made me one. Gustawsson entangles crime and historical facts like none other and creates a unique reading experience. If you ask me this is a collector’s item you want to have in your library.
Block 46 took me to WW2 and the author won me over with that one easily. Book 2, Keeper, took me to the era of Jack The Ripper, and I knew then that I’d follow her writing wherever she took me. Blood Song sent me to new territory. I’m almost ashamed to say that I knew little to nothing about the dictatorship under Franco in Spain. The descriptions – based on what was really happening at that time – in prison and the orphanage were harsh and brutal but lent itself well to tell this murder mystery.
Johana Gustawsson plays with time and my mind, and those pages just wouldn’t stop turning themselves. She let me visit Spain in 1937 as well as Sweden in 2016. How both timelines could ever be aligned is something that seemed impossible but she manages to accomplish just that. I’m not getting into the plotlines this time at all, it’s too big and deep to cover, but I can tell you that there were staggering twists in this novel that are sure to startle everyone and it is all tied up brilliantly. Teresa, Gordi, Lados… their story will stay with me for a long time.
I can 100% recommend this novel to every crime loving reader who isn’t afraid of a dark but fascinating read.
*** Check out the rest of the tour ***