Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson.
The third book in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, featuring true-crime writer Alexis Castells and profiler Emily Roy.
Previous titles in the series, Block 46 and Keeper, have won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balaid’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards and sold in 19 countries. A French, Swedish and English TV series is in production, adapted by and starring award-winning French actress Alexandra Lamy.
The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa 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 her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that 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…
Back in April 2018 I read and reviewed Keeper, the second instalment in the Roy & Castells series. I absolutely loved it and so have been waiting in anticipation to see what would come next. Johana Gustawsson is fast becoming one of my favourite crime writers. She just sweeps me away with the story. These ain’t no light hearted old fashioned crime novels. They reach right in and grab you by the heart. She brings the horror of the past into our modern world reminding us that these events remain with us, that the effects are still being felt.
The backdrop may be Franco’s dictatorship in which so many suffered and died but Johana shines a light on the evil amongst us that feed off of those darks times to satisfy there own ends. Within her novel we see the pain and suffering of the innocent at the hands of those who should be sheltering and protecting them. There were times when I wondered how one human being could do something so hideous to another. There are parts that are quite distressing but Johana does not embellish or glorify those. She brings them to the page with an eloquent, expert hand. The historical aspects are brilliantly portrayed as she focuses on the effects on the everyday people, the victims of the heinous times. Do monsters breed monsters or are they living within us waiting to be unleashed.
Johana’s novels have strong, smart and professional female protagonists. I like them very much. There is a tenderness behind their steely professional exterior that add an interesting dimension to the story. After Aliénor’s family are brutally murdered profiler, Emily and writer, Alexis set out to track down the perpetrator. Is it a serial killer satisfying a sadistic need or is there a more personal motive behind the killings? We move back and forth between the present and the past as the crime takes us from Sweden to the blood soaked streets of Franco’s Spain.
I really can’t praise this highly enough. It is a superb, engrossing read. I am normally a lover of a paperback but on this occasion I was oh so grateful to be reading it on eBook so I could read on into the night whilst the rest of the house slept. If you haven’t discovered this series yet then I strongly urge you to seek it out. I really don’t think there is an absolute need to read them from the start to finish but really, they are all fantastic so why stop at just one. I’m excited to read that a TV adaptation is underway. I think it could make for some very exciting viewing. Now I just need to to wait for the next novel…I do hope there is going to be one.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. I haven’t read one book by this publisher that I haven’t loved and this one is right up there with the best. They are an amazing team and their translators are heroes, bringing the authors stories to us and capturing every nail biting moment perfectly. Loved it, loved it, loved it!
About the author
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.