The Bleeding by Johanna Gustawsson, trns by David Warriner

Today Mandie takes over to share her thoughts on The Bleeding, the brand new novel from Johanna Gustawsson. I’ve absolutely loved it and you can read my thoughts right here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 15 Sept 2022
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

Mandie’s Thoughts

Everyone has their favourite authors, the ones you will pre order as soon as you know they have another book due to come out. For me Johana Gustawsson is one of those authors. Having fallen in love with her Roy and Castells series I have been waiting not so patiently for her next book (I may have tweaked my reading plan to fit it in). Although this is not part of the series it is just as compelling and full of mystery and to put it not so politely absolutely bloody brilliant and shows Johana’s writing at its best.

Following the stories of 3 women in 3 different timelines we get to learn about events that shape their lives and how they affect those around them and those after them. Lieutenant Maxine Grant is just back from maternity leave when she is called to the scene of a murder where her former teacher is the prime suspect. With no clues as to what happened or why, the discovery of multiple mummified hands stored in glass jars around the house leads them down some very intriguing and puzzling lines of investigation. Lina is a young girl who has no real friends and finds herself bullied until one day she comes to the attention of an elderly patient in the care home that her mother works in. Lucienne struggling to come to terms with the loss of her children in a house fire turns to a secret society that have some rather unconventional rituals. 

Each character is different, but their stories are compelling,and it is easy to become immersed in their lives not knowing what the outcomes will be or how they are connected. You can sense that you do not know their full story and that they are keeping secrets from the reader which only makes you want to read more until you know everything. The clues are there if you look deep enough, and you may be able to work out the connection between them, but it will not prepare you for the shocking ending. Many books say they have a twist you won’t see coming but The Bleeding is the first time that I have actually read something that surprised me to my core. 

I will always be amazed by the skill of Johana Gustawsson in her writing, how she creates multi-dimensional characters, that may not be good at heart but still have you kind of routing for them. This is a book that lets you savour the action and the build up to its conclusion. A definite must read in my eyes and with a stunning Hardback version its one that should be on your Christmas wish list if you don’t already have 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, including Block 46, Keeper and Blood Song, has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte,Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in 28 countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. The Bleeding – number one bestseller in France and the first in a new series – will be published in 2022. Johana lives on the west coast of Sweden with her Swedish husband and their three sons.

About the Translator

David Warner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a Modern Languages degree he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.

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