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The Black Path: A Rebecka Martinsson Investigation
 
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The Black Path: A Rebecka Martinsson Investigation [Format Kindle]

Åsa Larsson , Marlaine DeLargy

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Saturday March 15


An early spring evening, Torneträsk. The ice was thick, more than a meter. All along the lake, some seventy kilometers long, lay arks, small cabins on runners, four square meters in size. At this time of year the inhabitants of Kiruna made their pilgrimage up to Torneträsk. They came up on snowmobiles, towing the ark behind them.

Inside the ark there was a hole in the floor. You drilled a hole through the thick ice. A plastic pipe linked the hole in the ice to the hole in the floor, and that prevented the icy wind from getting into the ark from below. And then you sat inside fishing through the hole in the ice.

Leif Pudas was sitting in his ark in just his pants, fishing. It was eight-thirty in the evening. He’d cracked open a few beers, it was Saturday night after all. The Calor gas stove was hissing and whistling. It was lovely and warm, almost eighty degrees. And he’d caught some fish too, fifteen mountain char, only small, but still. And he’d saved a few sprats for his sister’s cat.

When it was time for a pee it felt like a kind of liberation, he was

much too hot, it would be nice to get outside and cool down a bit. He pulled on his boots and clambered out into the cold and dark in just his pants.

As soon as he opened the door, the wind seized hold of it.

During the day it had been sunny and calm, with no wind. But in the mountains the weather changes constantly. Now the storm was tugging and snapping at the door like a rabid dog. One moment there was hardly any wind at all, it was as if it were lying there growling and gathering its strength, then it was pulling at the door for all it was worth. Would the hinges hold? Leif Pudas got hold of the door with both hands and closed it behind him. Maybe he should have put some clothes on. Oh, what the hell, it only took a minute to have a pee.

The gusts of wind carried loose snow with them. Not soft, fine fresh snow, but sharp diamond slivers of compacted snow. It whirled across the ground like a white cat-o’-nine-tails, flaying his skin with a slow, evil rhythm.

Leif Pudas ran around the ark to shelter from the wind and got ready to pee. He might be sheltered from the wind, but it was cold so far up north. His scrotum contracted to a rock-hard ball. But at least he managed to pee. He almost expected it to freeze on its way through the air. To be transformed into a yellow arc of ice.

Just as he finished, he heard a kind of bellowing through the wind, and all of a sudden the ark was at his back. It almost knocked him over, and the next second it was gone.

It took a little while for him to understand. The storm had taken the ark. He could see the window, the square of warm light in the darkness, traveling away from him.

He ran a little way in the darkness, but now its mooring had come loose, the ark was gathering speed. He hadn’t a chance of catching up with it, it was hurtling away on its runners.

First of all he thought only about the ark. He’d built it himself of plywood, then insulated it and covered it with aluminum. Tomorrow morning when he found it, it would be firewood. All he could do was hope it didn’t cause any damage. That could lead to difficulties.

All of a sudden there came a powerful squall. It almost knocked him to the ground. Then he realized he was in danger. And he had all that beer inside him, it was as if his blood was just beneath the surface of the skin. If he didn’t manage to get inside somewhere very soon, he’d freeze to death in no time.

He looked around. It had to be at least a kilometer up to Abisko tourist station, he’d never make it, it was a question of minutes now. Where was the closest ark? The whirling snow and the storm meant he couldn’t see the lights of any other arks.

Think, he said to himself. You don’t take one single bloody step until you’ve used your head. Which direction are you facing now?

He used his head for three seconds, felt his hands starting to stiffen, and tucked them under his arms. He took four steps from where he was standing and managed to walk straight into the snowmobile. The key was in the disappearing ark, but he had a little toolbox under the seat, and he got it out.

Then he prayed to someone up there that he was going the right way, and set off in the direction of his closest neighboring ark. It was no more than twenty meters, but he wanted to weep with every step. He was so afraid of missing it. And if he did, he was a dead man.

He searched for Persson’s fiberglass ark. The wet snow covered his eyes; he tried to peer through, but it was as if a slush kept forming over his eyes and he had to wipe it away. It was impossible to see anything, darkness and snow.

He thought about his sister. And he thought about his ex-partner, about the fact that things had been good between them in many ways.

He’d almost walked straight into Persson’s ark before he saw it. Nobody home, the windows dark. He took the hammer out of his toolbox, had to use his left hand, the right one was completely useless, pain shooting through it after holding the cold steel of the toolbox handle. He fumbled his way through the darkness to the small Plexiglas window and smashed it.

The fear made him strong, and he heaved his entire bulk of over two hundred pounds in through the window. Swore when he scraped his stomach on the sharp metal frame. But what did that matter. Death had never been quite so close before, breathing down his neck.

Once he was inside, he had to do something about getting some heat going. Even if he was protected from the wind, it was bitterly cold inside the ark.

He rummaged in the drawers and found some matches. How can you hold something so small when the cold has made your hands completely useless? He pushed his fingers into his mouth to warm them until they were working well enough to allow him to light the lamp and the stove. His entire body wanted to do nothing but shiver and shake, never in his life had he felt this cold. Frozen through to his bones.

“Bloody hell it’s cold, fuck me it’s cold,” he kept saying to himself over and over again. He spoke out loud, it somehow kept the panic at bay, as if he were keeping himself company.

The wind howled through the window like a malevolent god; he grabbed a big cushion that was leaning against the wall and managed to wedge it fast between the curtain pole and the wall.

He looked around and found a red padded jacket, probably one of Mrs. Persson’s. He also found a drawer full of underwear, pulled on two pairs of long johns, one on his legs and one on his head.

The warmth came slowly, he held his limbs out toward the stove, pain shooting through his body; it was agonizing. He had no feeling at all in one cheek and ear, which wasn’t a good sign.

There was a heap of blankets on the bunk bed. They were ice cold, of course, but he could wrap himself up in them anyway, they’d provide some sort of insulation.

I’ve survived, he said to himself. What does it matter if I lose an ear?

He yanked a blanket off the bed. It was covered in big flowers in different shades of blue, a relic of the seventies.

And underneath it lay a woman. Her eyes were open and had frozen to ice, so they were completely white, like frosted glass. Something that looked like porridge, or maybe it was vomit, on her chin and hands. She was wearing sports clothes. There was a red mark on her top.

He didn’t scream. He didn’t even feel surprised. It was as if his emotions had been completely wiped out by what he’d been through.

“What the fuck” was all he said.

And the feeling that washed over him was like the feeling you get when your new puppy pees in the house for the hundredth time. Exhaustion in the face of how crap everything is.

He resisted the impulse to simply put the blanket back and forget about her.

Then he sat down to think. What on earth should he do now? He had to get to the tourist station, of course. He wasn’t too keen on going up there in the dark. But he had no choice, did he? And he didn’t much like the idea of sitting here thawing out with her.

But he needed to sit here for a little while longer. Until he wasn’t so damned cold.

It was like a kind of companionship between them. She kept him company as he sat there for an hour, tortured by the pain in various parts of his body as the warmth brought the feeling back. He held his hands out to the stove.

He didn’t say a word. And neither did she.

Revue de presse

“Asa Larsson is as deft at writing heart-stopping scenes … as she is at getting inside the heads of characters.”—Washington Post

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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  49 commentaires
58 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This 12 septembre 2008
Par Wickie L. Bowman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
As a reader who has read all of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallender mysteries, Karin Fossum's Conrad Sejer mysteries, Kjell Eriksson, Arnaldur Indridason, and Mari Jungstedt, and the best of the British, Peter Robinson, Reginald Hill, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, etc., I have to say that the discovery of the books of Asa Larsson are exceptional. The psychology, motivations, and plot devices are so riveting. I have read the first 3 books, in what I understand is to be a series of 6, and they are truly, "I can't put them down" reads. The darkness of the books is in keeping with the Scandanavian tradition, but there is so much more subtlety. The descriptions, the little surprises of language, and the occasional dark humor, are totally involving. I recommend reading the first, second, and third in order, if possible. 'The Black Path', the third of the septet, have left me eagerly awaiting the next three. The intelligence of writing is astonishing.
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An amazing series of novels -- but I wouldn't call them police procedurals 3 novembre 2008
Par jenmoocat - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is the third book in a series of novels set in northern Sweden. I originally found the first one, Sun Storm, while looking for foreign police procedurals, which I consume voraciously. However, I wouldn't really put these books into that genre -- which might be why some people gave them low ratings.

Yes, there is a central mystery. Yes, there are police people searching out clues. Yes, there is CSI-like pathology stuff. But, by the third book, The Black Path, it is almost secondary.

Asa Larsson and her interpreter have an AMAZING way with words! The images conjured up are amazing and breathtaking. And she builds incredibly rich characters that you watch grow and change and evolve throughout the story. And they are so unforgettable! Rebecka and Sivving and Nalle and Mans and Swen-Erik....

There is a distinct structure to the novels that I am really enjoying, but that is very different from other police procedurals (like those of Mankell) -- so be warned.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 cautionary tale 19 janvier 2009
Par time traveler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is the 3d in a crime series focused on Sweden's northernmost town, Koruna, the author's birthplace. In particular, it addresses the fates of girls and boys from difficult backgrounds there who seem to have 'made it' in the greater world - be that capital Stockholm or, in this book, even Africa, in which Swedish mining firms do operate. That greater world may bring money status and money. Butit also may bring murder and bloody violence. The `Black Path' turns out to be both material and metaphorical. Rebecka, the female Stockholm lawyer from Koruna,is still with us, but the focus is now on a Koruna boy who has risen to the top of the worldwide mining industry. A terrible murder, wrought from that industry, pops up back home. Our familiar Koruna woman-man detective team must deal with it. This device still roots the book as a local police procedural. A potential reader of this series best do so in order, beginning with the first, `Sun Storm.' She or he should have an interest in differing environments, but also be on the lookout for the constants in human nature. The series' perspective is woman's, but the action is as violent as any man would require. The series' main axis, however, remains moral, as befits the Swedes.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Another gripping investigation... 16 juin 2012
Par Raven - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The latest instalment in Asa Larsson's 'Rebecka Martinsson' series and to my mind, her best to date. Rebecka has seemingly made a full recovery from the horrific attack of the previous book and after her release from the psychiatric unit, finds herself embroiled in another murder investigation with the wonderful female detective Anna-Maria Mella. This is where Larsson excels in her characterisation that portrays Rebecka as an outwardly strong but essentially damaged woman and Anna-Maria, who witnesses so much horror in her day job, as an incredibly grounded and centred character, and who acts as a perfect foil to Rebecka's polar opposite characteristics. The interplay and deep-seated respect and affection between them is even more prevalent in this plot as they work together to uncover some insidious goings on within an extremely influential yet corrupt mining corporation that leads to greed and murder. I think this book is the closest in context that I've read to say 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' or 'The Killing' where the more socio-political plot is given centre stage and I did find the detail regarding the corruption of big business in Third World countries extremely interesting. Obviously this was running parallel with the murder investigation and the strange trinity of the murdered woman, her brother and his friend- the figures at the forefront of the mining corporation- and their interaction and relationships with each other which was equally compelling. An accomplished and highly readable thriller from Larsson who just gets better with every book...
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 worth the effort 15 janvier 2011
Par Lyn Alexander - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I have not read earlier titles by Larsson, but I will.

As a police procedural, hmmm. Not really a thriller. As a psychological novel, The Black Path is a fine unravelling of characters. So many characters, in fact, that I had huge trouble keeping them clear in my mind. As a work of fiction, the language is gorgeous, the images beautifully, even poetically expressed. I give full credit to Marlaine Delargy for a superb translation, with only occasional, subtle slips of idiom. The plot is strong, the characters are fully realised and well defined.

Then why four stars? I take a deep breath. Here goes. From page one I was drawn into the internal voice of the protagonist - I think she is the protagonist - Rebecka Martinsson, just recovering from a severely debilitating psychosis. Next, I am literally in the pants of somebody named Leif Pudas. Okay, a new voice, I see it from his eyes, very interesting. He finds a dead body in a fishing hut on a frozen lake. Then comes Inspector Anna-Maria Mella - Can this actually be the protagonist? She is in charge of investigating the mysterious corpse, setting off our police procedural. I am becoming a little worried, being pulled inside the heads of these three characters, one leaping upon the next in quick succession.

It gets more confusing. There is a Lapp child, Ester, who seems not to be entirely present in her own head; there is somebody named Sven-Erik Stålnacke (turns out he is a repeat character in this series), there is a whole family of international high-rollers, each with his/her own fully developed voice, there is even the corpse herself, from inside her head, told fully in flashbacks with flashbacks. Toward the end we even get a brief look into the murderer's head as he is going about committing the original murder -- It goes on, abruptly switching not only inside the heads of many characters, but switching without warning from the present into endless flashbacks: and here's another kicker: the present is written in the past tense, and the flashbacks are written in the present tense. You've got to learn the author's protocol right from the start.

Look. This is a novel well worth reading for the beautiful flow of language, for the fascinating characters and, in the end, for the devastating story. You just have to work it out. You have to concentrate. It's worth the effort. I would request the author to provide a dramatis personae at the start of each novel, just to keep the characters clear as we read.

Go for it. Good luck.
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