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. The Sins of Our Fathers was named Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy.
“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)
“Both Martinsson and Larsson have evolved since the debut Sun Storm from 2003. From starting off as a solid, albeit brilliant, Swedish crime novel and writer, to growing into a grand authorship with complex narratives spanning over multiple timelines and with a protagonist that is highly authentic in her humanity. So yes, Åsa Larsson and Rebecka Martinsson are certainly welcome back. […] Åsa Larsson tells her story in a flow that is so rich with anecdotes, nature experiences, history, and emotion that I never want it to end. […] The Sins of Our Fathers is a crime novel, but it is also so much more. It holds the most vivid portrayals of boxing, where you can feel every punch. Here is love, both between humans and that to nature, incredibly palpable, powerful, and splendid. Here is a heart beating for Kiruna, the town with all of its flaws. And nature, wild and beautiful, ever present and often central. And in the midst of it all, in a story brimming with human fates, it persists; the Suspense, of the kind that grabs hold and keeps us fixated. The important kind.”
Borås Tidning (SE)
“Åsa Larsson leads us with a steady hand through the misery and makes sure that our hearts remain open for her cast of characters (and the dogs too). Rebecka of course, but also Ragnhild, the former boxing star Börje, police officer Anna-Maria, and pretty much anyone else that happens to pass by. Not even Rebecka’s insufferable colleague Carl von Post (what a great name) can be dismissed completely; perhaps he’s just very insecure. It is a story that, despite its 558 pages, never feels too long. The milieu evokes an insatiable urge for Norrbotten while the relational drama between characters is a page-turner in and of itself. The crime mystery is ambitious and thrilling, but the read is equally about making sure that everything goes well for Ragnhild, to smile about the on-point portrayal of life with teenagers at Anna-Maria’s, and to see Rebecka try to heal what is broken inside of her. The Sins of our Fathers gives the answers you need and offers a worthy ending.”
“The new book is a 550-page brick of a page-turner. Yes, that’s right. You’re quickly drawn into the peculiar incidents around Kiruna. Events from 50 years ago provide contrast to a complicated murder investigation in the present. […] [Larsson] skilfully builds suspense and relationships. A master with a language that rushes forth like a lively northern river. An everyday language that shines. Straight-forward dialogue. Milieus characterized by the northernmost parts of Sweden. Credible insight into the tough work of police and prosecutor. The puzzle is laid out piece by piece. You sense connections, kinship. And finally, the entirety is revealed. And then there are the different shades of love. That which everyone is constantly looking for, but that is so hard to reach. And the dogs that are always there – those loyal, warm, souls. The harsh northern milieu around Kiruna provides backdrop and character. The city that is being moved in order to get to the iron ore underneath. The northern parts that are drained from natural resources that rapidly flows south in an unequal, elongated country. After an outstanding first sentence, the book ends in a few warm final lines that stay with you – the belated happiness of two people.”
Gotlands Allehanda (SE)
“A worthy finale for a defiant character.”
“It been nearly ten years since we last heard from prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson in Kiruna. But Åsa Larsson makes it clear on the back of the book that The Sins of our Fathers is the last book about Rebecka. What a shame; the story about a recently discovered body of someone who was murdered a long time ago leaves me wanting for more. Not least because of Larsson’s cast of characters, consisting of people with close connections to the sometimes not so pleasant Martinsson. I would gladly read at least one more book.”
“The beginning is fantastic. As is the rest. When Ragnhild Pekkari sets out on skis to end her own life, it is impossible not to become engaged. […] Åsa Larsson’s characters are so human in their weaknesses and strengths. And the dogs are important too. […] It all adds up to a whole that warms. And that is the dominating part. Murder and misery adds suspense, but isn’t what lingers in ones mind. It doesn’t get better than this.”
“With her trademark stylistic ease, Åsa Larsson portrays difficult relationships, but she does so with a rare human love. It is tender and brutal, and closely connected to the milieu in Kurravaara.”
Blekinge Läns Tidning (SE)
“Even the most sceptical crime reader will be captured by Åsa Larsson’s books. A fantastic writer who walks in the literary footsteps of Kerstin Ekman.”
M Magasin (SE)
“Åsa Larsson’s language is fantastic and portrays the milieus of the northernmost parts of Sweden spot-on. […] She writes unique character portrayals from this sparsely populated area. It is pure pleasure to read this book. I never want it to end.
“When Åsa Larsson ends the series about prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson she does so with a dense, stylistically elegant crime novel.”
“It took nine years, but now prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson is back. Well worth the wait! Åsa Larsson delivers yet another Kiruna classic with lots of Nordic darkness.”
“Sure, this is a crime novel but I’ll mention it here among all the romance and feelgood simply because it is one of the best books of the autumn. And because it contains two, or even three, uniquely beautiful love stories that outrival nearly everything published in the romance genre. […] Åsa Larsson is brilliant, she makes me alternately cry and scream out loud after yet another shocking twist. It is action and depth at the same time, and it is so good.”
Tranås Tidning (SE)
“She writes so well. It’s a pleasure to read.”
Leif GW Persson, TV4 Nyhetsmorgon (SE)
“Rebecka Martinsson is back. Magnificent nature, brilliant character portrayals, murder, love, and dogs. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet (SE)
“I will be extremely surprised if a better crime novel than this one is published in Norwegian in 2022. […] A vast, epic story that reflects life in the Cap of the North in many shapes, with many characters, throughout many decades. […] Åsa Larsson writes at the point of intersection between crime and literary, on a level that not many others come close to. She is exceptionally ambitious.”
Adresseavisen, 6/6 stars (NO)
“Together with the portrayals of the milieu, especially the harsh Kiruna, Larsson’s strength lies in the many warm and humorous character portrayals. […] A diverse, thrilling, well-written, and at times both funny and beautiful book.”
Dagbladet, 5/6 stars (NO)
“Åsa Larsson starts out with a bang and sets the expectations high from the very first sentence. […] Nothing is simple across the novel’s 530 pages that are filled with complex, convincing characters and a great suspense arc. […] Current topics like trafficking and fraud in the construction industry are also central in this novel, which is impressive precisely because it spans so widely yet lands in credible solutions. Moreover, the book is as crowded as a Russian 19th century novel. Everyone is delicately chiselled out by Larsson’s sharp pen. […] It is the meticulous, at times loving, portrayals of people in vulnerable positions with difficult lives that make the lasting impression in this highly topical new novel from Åsa Larsson. She entertains with bravura and writes with great style and precision.”
“Here, we’re dealing with high quality crime through and through. […] Åsa Larsson diligently lets her narrative threads converge at the end, and ties together a finale that in all its richness of imagination hangs in the balance. […] Larsson also knows how to write well about as diverse topics as boxing, rafting, and sex! And she’s obviously very fond of dogs. Most importantly, The Sins of Our Fathers is both original and thrilling.”
Verdens Gang, 5/6 stars (NO)
“It must be tempting for a crime writer to milk a successful and bestselling series as far as possible. Åsa Larsson is of another mind. After six books about prosecutor and Kiruna-resident Rebecka Martinsson, she simply says thank you and bids farewell. And: she does so with a book that may very well be her best one. […] The Sins of Our Fathers stretches across 530 pages, yet there is literally no dull moment. […] There’s family, old people, friends, complex love, and dogs. Add a cold case murder that gives Larsson a reason to write with insight about Swedish and Finnish boxing in the sixties and seventies, other murders that involve a lot of money, snowmobiles and Russian mobsters, and it’s complete. Everything is written in an authentic and credible way, and with great linguistic verve.”