Forensic pathologist Lars Pohjanen only has a few weeks left to live when he asks prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson to investigate a murder that has long since passed the statute of limitations. A body has been found in a freezer in the home of a dead alcoholic. It has been identified as a man who disappeared without a trace in 1962: the father of the famous Swedish boxing champion Börje Ström. Rebecka, who recently went through an abrupt break-up and is in a smoldering fight with friend and colleague Anna-Maria Mella, wants nothing to do with a fifty-year-old murder case – she already has enough to worry about. But how can she ignore a dying man’s wish?
Rebecka convinces recently retired police officer Sven-Erik Stålnacke to help her look into the case. What she doesn’t tell him is that she has a personal connection to the case. An old woman named Ragnhild Pekkari found the dead body in the freezer while she was cleaning out her brother Henry’s house. Rebecka Martinsson’s mother was a foster child in the Pekkari home and had been like a sister to Ragnhild before she broke with the family. Rebecka feels an inherited animosity toward the people who once treated her mother poorly – and her personal feelings may be clouding her professional judgement.
Henry Pekkari had lived alone out on a river island and neighbors report having seen snowmobiles drive across the frozen water shortly before he was found dead. When Rebecka and Sven-Erik visit the man’s house, there are signs that suggest someone had been living out on the island with the old man. But who?
Rebecka Martinsson begins to suspect that Henry Pekkari was murdered. When forensic pathologist Pohjanen’s examination confirms her suspicions, Rebecka’s spare-time work with a cold case turns into a red-hot murder investigation. What could Henry Pekkari’s murder have to do with the body of a man that was kept in his freezer for decades?
As Rebecka and the team with the Kiruna police start digging into the case, they are led to the Lingonberry King – a man, now in his nineties, who was once the region’s organized crime leader. He is now surrounded by Russian-speaking muscle-men and a house that is protected like a fortress. The whole city of Kiruna is being torn down and moved a few kilometers east to give room to the mine that has been eating up the city from underneath. In the wake of the city move, the tentacles of organized crime are slowly taking over the city…
Former boxer Börje Ström may have been searching for the truth about his father, but in the process, he is faced with the truth about himself, his life, and the choices he has made in order to become heavyweight champion of the world. In flashbacks, we follow his life as a young man coming of age. In the present tense, Börje Ström and Ragnhild Pekkari, two tough pensioners scarred by a hard life, find one another. A beautiful and unexpected love story unfolds and when the truth of the dead boxer in the freezer, the Lingonberry King and the violence on the Pekkari island homestead finally comes to light, it is transformative for the gray-haired couple – as well as for Rebecka Martinsson, who will finally be given the key to the mysteries of her own mother’s childhood.
The sixth and final book in Åsa Larsson’s beloved crime series brings the story of fragile yet fierce heroine Rebecka Martinsson to a spellbinding end.
“No other Swedish crime writer has been lauded to the extent Åsa has; her stories are something out of the ordinary. […] [The] language roars like a river, it is as if the language itself shows how everything has changed and is coming together: then and now, old battles and new crimes, family ties, and people’s dependency upon one another.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“[Åsa Larsson’s] suspense novels are in a league of their own. In part due to the language, but also because they include several warm portrayals of people; people shaped by harsh social climates as well as severe weather. […] The Sins of Our Fathers holds multitudes, high pace, and human tragedy galore, extreme Laestadians as well as bloody knock-out fights. But also, dizzying ski trips, frolicking dogs, and touching elderly romance. […] A grandiose finale.”
“[This] is a multifaceted, utterly brilliant crime novel. It is also a read that creates an insatiable urge to move north; Åsa writes about a landscape that she loves, a Norrbotten with mountains so beautiful they seem to be out of this world, and sparkling rivers that rush and roar as they have done since ancient times.”
“It has been nine years, and Åsa Larsson is still in impeccable shape. The Sins of Our Fathers is a proper brick of a book that holds her finely tuned ability to capture the people, the environment around Kiruna, her way of building suspense in perfect harmony with said people and environment, and above all her expertise in engaging the reader in all of it.”
Norra Skåne (SE)
“‘When Ragnhild Pekkari decided to die, life became a little easier to live’, is the first sentence in this 550-page thick novel. Wow, without any other comparison it’s basically as good as the start of Kafka’s The Trial. […] Åsa Larsson’s writing is propulsive, and her language is among the very best in the Swedish suspense genre. She has the ability to give her characters life and make them feel authentic and far from one-sided, be it villain or police, because they ‘have all been little once.’”
Norrländska Socialdemokraten (SE)
“A worthy finale for a defiant character.”
Falköpings Tidning (SE)