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Friday, 6 December 2019

‘Blood Song’ by Johanna Gustawsson


Published by Orenda Books,
19 September 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-912374-81-6 (PB)


Seamlessly translated by David Warriner, this is the third thriller in the author’s cracking Roy and Castells series that features the crime profiler Emily Roy and her buddy, crime writer Alexis Castells. 

Three members of the wealthy Lindberg family, a Swedish married couple and their adult daughter, who operate a stylish, upscale fertility clinic, are found, in their home, brutally mutilated and murdered, with their tongues cut out.  This dark and gruesome story swings between two time frames — Spain in the dark chapter of the 1930s under the savage regime of Franco and modern day London and Falkenberg.

The duo is immediately on the case because the killer is likely to strike again and soon. The surviving Lindberg daughter, Alienor, is a new recruit to Scotland Yard and joins them in the investigation.

What is riveting, and unsettling, is the IVF background to this hard hitting tale and the examination of corruption and malpractice that can abound in this industry coupled with the wantonly inhumane abuse meted out to girls, snatched from their parents and installed in dictator Franco’s terror-ridden Spanish children’s homes.

Intricately plotted, visceral and emotional the author ramps up the tension and the unfolding keeps the reader guessing to the very end.  Scenes are raw, vivid and gripping and the intertwining shifts between Spain and Sweden are skilfully realised.  Some readers may find the proliferation of characters a little confusing but how the past can return to haunt the present is skillfully presented. A TV series is planned.
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Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

Johana Gustawsson was born in 1978 in Marseille. With a degree in political science, she has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, which was published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.


Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practiced in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things. 

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