Review: Sara Blaedel – Blue Blood

I haven’t read much Danish crime fiction. This year I managed Lotte and Soren Hamme’s The Hanging but that’s about it. Sara Blaedel is a popularblue blood writer in her native Denmark but is relatively unknown here in the UK. Blue Blood is the first book I’ve tried of hers and, despite the distasteful subject matter, I found it a solid and sober crime novel that may well garner Blaedel a loyal following.

In a residential Copenhagen neighbourhood, Susanne Hansson is found bound and gagged on her bed after being raped by a man she found on an internet dating site. The case bears the hallmarks of a similar rape a few years earlier and police are convinced that they are looking for the same man. When another woman dies following a similar attack, Detective Inspector Louise Rick begins to trawl online dating sites to try to track down the killer.

This was a fairly disturbing read for me. I’m not usually fazed by crime novels but there was something about the slightly deadpan tone of the writing, combined with the extremely unpleasant experience of the women, that made the book a creepy read. I know a few couples who have met via dating sites and, subject to the usual precautions, this way of meeting partners has always seemed fairly benign to me. I doubt I’ll view it that way any longer.The descriptions weren’t particularly graphic but the aftermath of the attacks and, in particular, how the women are convinced that they are in some way responsible for what has happened is very disturbing.

There are some interesting relationships teased out in the novel: Louise’s disintegrating domestic life, her friend’s new romance that has come via a dating site and the victim Susanne’s problems with her mother. The subtle way in which these relationships are developed make this book a slightly different read and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next with the series.

Thanks to Sphere for sending me the book to review.

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6 thoughts on “Review: Sara Blaedel – Blue Blood

  1. Hmm: great, helpful review as ever, Sarah, but I think I would find the subject matter and style off-putting. Like you, I have known many people try internet dating, so I certainly wouldn’t be giving this one as a present to them… but it’s a big part of modern life, with an obvious need for preacautions, so of course it’s going to turn up in crime novels. It’s a bit of a gift to novelists really, isn’t it?

  2. Sarah – I think you’ve hit it exactly in saying that sometimes writing style can make a book all the more disturbing. And the topic is a very sobering one. I’d like to try Baedel’s work, and I’m glad you thought this was a well-written book. I’ll probably put it on the list for when I’m ready for something that shakes one up a bit…

  3. Sarah, it doesn’t sound like a fun read, but I will probably try it eventually anyway. The setting is appealing. Thanks for the review, I will be prepared in advance.

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