Larsson, who is famed for her debut novel The Savage Altar, delivered another stunning piece in the form of The Black Path, the third in her Rebecka Martinsson series.
Although possibly not the most critically acclaimed of Larsson’s books, this is a truly remarkable piece of Nordic Noir which delivers excellent female protagonists and offers readers a glimpse into a remote setting, which is utilised as a secondary character within the novel to provide a rich and evocative narrative.
The novel focuses on the murder of a woman, found completely frozen with various wounds and a clumsily delivered blow to the head, in a remote fishing hut. Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson and Police Detective Anna-Maria Mella investigate the crime methodically, with the plot delivering many invigorating twists and complications which entice the reader and draw them in.
Right from the start The Black Path is frightening, tense and emotive, offering the very best traits that have made Scandinavian Crime Fiction so incredibly popular around the world in the past few years. The language used is both atmospheric and curt, providing a vivid description of the gruesome violence which Larsson portrays.
Like many of the author’s other novels, what really gives The Black Path its narrative strength is the characterisation, which is both haunting and accurate. With a full plethora of characters, ranging from the traumatised and exhausted investigative protagonists to the eccentric cast of characters which form the suspects and associated cast, including shady businessmen from the mining company which the victim worked for, and which quickly comes under the hostile gaze of Martinsson and Mella.
Ultimately this is a great example of one of Scandinavia’s finest crime writers delivering a fast paced novel which makes a great read, especially as the nights begin to draw in and the weather turns steadily colder.