Title: Midwinter Blood
Author: Mons Kallentoft
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Malin Fors is a talented superintendent on the police force of a small Swedish town. It’s been one of the coldest winters anyone can remember, and one February morning, the body of an obese man is found hanging from a tree. When it’s ruled that he was murdered, Malin Fors is put in charge of the case.
Midwinter Blood is a Scandinavian crime fiction novel that presents itself as a police procedural. Like many other books in this genre, the main character is a complex, damaged person who finds both therapy and demons in their work. Malin is certainly an interesting character. She is drowning under the pressure of balancing her job and single motherhood, as well as navigating the difficult relationships with her ex-husband and parents. She finds too much solace at the bottom of a bottle, but she’s also very determined and good at her job. Malin presents a new puzzle in Scandinavian crime fiction, one that readers will be itching to solve.
One way Midwinter Blood distinguishes itself from other novels in this genre and from this region is through the writing and storytelling. Though Malin is the primary narrator of this novel, it’s told from multiple points of view, including that of the victim. This can be confusing at times, but it also adds interesting insight into the story. Additionally, the novel is written in a literary manner; the writing is beautiful, and like the snow covering the ground, it provides a cushion to numb the senses while reading. It’s an interesting approach to take with crime fiction, for sure, as it provides a sense of vagueness while reading the novel.
The story of Midwinter Blood is interesting, but it does move slowly. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, action-packed read, this certainly isn’t it. It’s more contemplative and deeper than many of its crime fiction counterparts, and while the story is interesting, it’s all about watching the disparate threads slowly come together. Kallentoft does an excellent job weaving a gripping tale, but it takes its own time to move forward.
If you’re looking for fascinating characters and a beautifully written story, then Midwinter Blood is a good choice. It’s not the fastest of reads, but it certainly is interesting, especially in the way things come together at the end. The multiple sources of narration can be confusing at times, but overall, it’s definitely a promising start to a new crime fiction series.