It's no secret to faithful readers that I'm a crime fiction fan. I always enjoy discovering new authors in this genre.
Arne Dahl's latest North American release is Bad Blood. This is the second book featuring his recurring characters, the members of the A-Unit of the Swedish Intercrime Team.
The team is notified by the FBI that an American serial killer has eluded authorities and is on a flight to Sweden. Once the plane lands, the killer manages to again escape and the inevitable wait begins.....for him to kill again.
I felt a little behind as I got up to speed with who was who in the team. There are many players, each with their own strengths, foibles and backgrounds. There's a rich cast with enough personalities that every reader will come away with a favourite. (I'm partial to the old man of the team - Viggo) Dahl makes references to the first crime this team solved - in the book Misterioso. The allusions to the crime made it sound like a book I would also enjoy, but Bad Blood can definitely be read as a stand alone.
American crime novels are often direct and to the point. I find that foreign crime novels often take a different approach, with more conversation between the characters, more speculation and more discussion. This was the case with the first half of Bad Blood. But, the second half of the book really picks up the pace once the bodies (yes, plural) start piling up.
Dahl has created a serial killer with a really nasty way of doing away with his victims. (Fair warning to gentle readers) The plotting took off in directions I would not have imagined. A little bit of a stretch in places, but definitely original. Dahl manages to sneak in social commentary along side of his crime.
Rachel Willson-Broyles was the translator. There were a few wooden bits with some of the humour, but overall it was a smooth read. The book was originally published in 1998, so some of the references are dated. But, I would definitely read the next North American release from Dahl, as I really enjoyed the characters. There are currently eleven books in the series. Read an excerpt of Bad Blood.
You can find Arne Dahl on Twitter and on Facebook. The BBC has made the books into a television series.