Author: Asa Larsson
ISBN: 978 0 85705 073 1
Asa Larsson is a Swedish author of compelling psychological crime thrillers who is definitely going to become a household name across the world.
Admittedly, I was a little hesitant going in because ‘Until Thy Wrath Be Past’ is translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson. I am always a little concerned about translations because it is so easy to make major changes with the most minor mistranslations. I had no reason to be concerned though, the translation was done beautifully.
‘Until Thy Wrath Be Past’ is the 4th Rebecka Martinsson novel, 2 of the novels that come before it were awarded prizes by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Association for best first novel and best Swedish crime novel ; they were The Savage Altar and Blood Spilt.
Asa Larsson writes in a style that makes it extremely difficult to put the book down and walk away from it. Her characters are real and believable, all of them have their flaws and are easy to relate to.
The story begins with Wilma and Simon, young and very much in love, spending their last day together before their tragic deaths. No spoiler in that information because the opening states that the narrator remembers how they died and goes on to describe their beautiful last day and it’s tragic end.
The first thaw of spring unearths the body of a young woman in the River Thorne in the far north of Sweden. The discovery of her body seems to awaken her spirit also and it is a spirit that set out to ensure that the truth is discovered.
Wilma narrates much of the story and we follow her lead in the way we uncover new information as she watches over the town and looks in on those involved in the situation. It is her unique ability to see into the past and the memories of those she is with that allows us the insight to see down the years and understand why things came to pass in the way that they did.
Much of the book seems to be written in the 3rd person, but an unnamed observer rather than anyone involved in the story, it is only at the end of some scenes that Wilma pipes in to let you know that it was her telling the tale.
‘Until Thy Wrath Be Past’ is set in a very small town in Sweden, one of those old towns that consists of mainly elderly people because all the youth have run off to lead exciting lives in the city. The town is getting smaller and smaller as the residents die off because no-one wants to come and take over their houses, they become summer houses for the descendants. So this is a town where everyone knows each other and has done so forever.
The main story here is the search for Wilma’s killer, and justice for the cutting short of two promising young lives.
Running parallel to this we get to know a little more about our other important characters and see their lives outside of their professions.
Rebecka Martinsson’s past involved a case that damaged her so intensely she ended up in a psychiatric facility which gives her a new insight and allows her to feel compassion for Hjalmar Kerkula whose past has damaged him almost beyond recognition. We also see into her head a little about who she is and where she wants to be.
There is so much I want to say about this novel but I don’t want to say too much because it would be relatively easy to spoil part of the plot!
Asa Larsson has created an intense storyline with lovable characters, and pitiable characters you can’t help but feel for. The storyline is intriguing and will definitely keep you guessing until the very end. There are a couple of things that never reached resolution but it makes sense that they didn’t, that may be a resolution best left for another novel.
A great read, and I think I may need to go looking for the rest of the Rebecka Martinsson novels to catch up. Having said that, this is a great stand alone novel that is easy to get involved in and grow to love without knowing the back story.