A Year of Orenda – Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

Today it is back to Mandie for her review of the third book in the Roy and Castells series from Johana Gustawsson, Blood Song. Perhaps the author’s most personal and emotional book to date, you can find my thoughts on it right here. This book brings Mandie bang up to date with the series and before we find out what she thought, here’s what the book is about:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the latest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese 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 soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation 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.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning installment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

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Mandie’s Thoughts

Blood Song is the third book in the Roy and Castells series, and I have to say these books just keep getting better and better and once again I found that I raced through the book in a couple of days with Johana Gustawsson brilliantly blending events from history with modern day murders. This time the story goes between Spain under Franco’s rule and all the atrocities that occurred and Sweden in 2016. Although I absolutely love history, I have a confession to make…I really had no idea of the events in Spain so reading the authors note at the beginning of the book was a real eye opener.

The beginning of the book is quite stark, and you really get the sense of what anyone who disagreed with the regime in Spain had to endure. What then follows is the brutal murder of Aliénor Lindbergh’s family in 2016 and it is the investigations into these murders that provide the links between the two timelines and has a ripple effect on others within the team that was totally unexpected.

Once again Gustawsson has taken an area that has personal meaning to her and created a book that is truly stunning. Whilst not shying away from the horrors of both the past and the present that are hard to read at times, she has not at any point made the detail gratuitous or unnecessary. What you do get is a story that will certainly open your eyes to both the past and the highs and lows of the fertility clinic industry from both the viewpoint of the clients and the owners.

For me what I love most about the Roy and Castells series is that each one draws you in completely so that you have to keep reading to find out the connections between the two threads. At no point did I feel that the two timelines were confusing and with each book I am getting to like Emily and Alexis more and more. Their personalities while completely different seem to work well and in this book, I also started to understand Aliénor more. Her Asperger’s seems to actually fit her chosen profession as it requires a matter of fact analytical mind. When I started reading this series I thought that Block 46 would be my favourite as it covered a part of history I have a complete fascination for, however Blood Song has blown that out of the water and is now at the top of my list of favourite reads.

Although these books can be read in any order, I would urge you to start from the beginning and read all of them as you won’t be disappointed. As for me I am now just waiting to see what comes next.

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.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

Books by Johana Gustawsson

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