BLOOD SONG | Johana Gustawsson
(Emily Roy & Alexis Castells #3)
09.19.2019 | Orenda Books
Rating: 5/5 stars
Profiler Emily Roy and true crime writer Alexis Castells find themselves working side by side on a new case after tragedy strikes the Lindbergh family. Three members of this wealthy family have been found brutally murdered in their home in Sweden. Left behind is their fellow co-worker, Alienor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard. Despite the lack of clues for who would want to target this family and what the motive behind the slayings might be, Roy and Castells do not shy away from digging deeper into the Lindbergh’s lives.
Weaving a connection to this case is the savage Franco dictatorship that ruled over Spain many decades before. Starting in 1938, we meet a young woman whose life and fate are intricately connected to these present day murders. How could something from so long ago be tied to the Lindbergh family?
BLOOD SONG is the third installment to Johana Gustawsson’s remarkable Roy and Castells series. Since first picking up book one, BLOCK 46, I have been floored by Gustawsson’s ability to not only bring to life a present day investigation, but also to include a detailed element of historical fiction to the story. Each book contains a unique case that Roy and Castells are assigned to investigate alongside a team of detectives. These cases have repeatedly been some of the most memorable I have read in the crime fiction genre, however, what truly sets these books apart in this often crowded genre is Gustawsson’s inclusion of history. Whether it’s a more well-known time in history, such as the Holocaust, which is featured in BLOCK 46, or a learning experience for the reader, as this book was with Franco’s dictatorship in Spain, I am often captivated by the narrative provided. Throughout this series I have consistently found myself equally intrigued by the events of past and present.
The latest addition to the Roy and Castells series follows the same formatting that has made the previous two books successful. Gustawsson utilizes short chapters alternating between past, present, and an inside look into the mind of the killer to propel her story forward. There is nothing that hooks me to a book quicker than this formula! I am instantly drawn into the alternating storylines, finding myself wanting to know where each section will take me next. I’ve learned over time how critical it is to pay attention to the small details in each narrative in order to solve the mysteries at hand and yet Gustawsson continues to stump me! I had suspicions about where BLOOD SONG would take me, but I certainly didn’t see the big reveals and ending coming.
Gustawsson could easily have given the reader a compelling crime fiction/police procedural story with the present day murder of the Lindbergh family alone, however, she gifts the reader with two fantastic tales. Each are brilliant as standalone narratives, but it’s when they come together that the magic of this book comes to life. BLOOD SONG is easily one of the most mesmerizing stories I have read recently, as Gustawsson succeeds in gripping the reader’s attention with a mystery while also captivating their heart with a look into a tragic time in history.
As with most series reads I recommend starting at the beginning with Roy and Castells, however, if you simply can’t resist, I will assure you that a new reader to the series could find their footing reading out of order. Why risk it? Buy all three and prepare to binge read!
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Disclosure: A huge thank you to Orenda Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.