It’s an absolute pleasure to be sharing my review today on the opening day of the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson. This is the third book in the Roy & Castells series published by Orenda Books. Huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite and to Orenda Books for the review copy.
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 lastest 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.
Blood Song is available to purchase now – Amazon
Blood Song is the third book in the Roy & Castells series by Johana Gustawsson and is fabulously translated by David Warriner. Although this is the third book I do think it could easily be read as a stand-alone.
With a duel timeline Blood Song is like no other book I’ve read before.
Gustawsson takes the story to 1938 Spain where Valencia has fallen under dictatorship and Therese finds herself watching the brutal killing of her family. Thrown into prison Therese later gives birth to a baby girl who is eventually taken from her and we follow her horrendous and heartbreaking time in an orphanage.
2016, Sweden, we join profiler Emily Roy where she is on the hunt for a killer. A killer who has massacred Aliénor’s family. Aliénor is a new recruit at Scotland Yard working alongside Emily and understandably wants to help find out who murdered her family and with the help of Alexis Castells, a true-crime writer the hunt is on.
It’s unclear how the two timelines fit together at the beginning but both are utterly gripping. Flitting back and forward between the two, I was so eager to find out what would happen next in both that I absolutely devoured this book. The chapters are quite short so I found myself flying through the story and it’s definitely one of those stories where you think just one more chapter and we all know that never works out.
The characters seem to come to life and I couldn’t help feeling emotional, especially reading about life in the orphanage. It made me feel sick to my stomach and I just wanted to sweep my kids up and give them a big cuddle.
Emily Roy and Alexis Castells are wonderful characters but the story focuses more on the plot than the two protagonists which I really liked. It gives you just enough to get to know them and where they are in their lives but doesn’t take anything away from the fabulous and enthralling plot.
It’s so difficult to actually say much about this story without giving anything away and I have to say I just want to tell you everything, really gush about how brilliant this story is but I’ll refrain from spoiling it and urge you to go and read it for yourself.
So if you love crime thrillers that keep you hooked, that combine fact and fiction wonderfully, that have a duel timeline that intertwines effortlessly and is emotional and thrilling at the same time then Blood Song is definitely the book for you.
If I could give this story 10 stars I would, it’s a story with characters that will stay with me for a long time.
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About the author
Johana Gustawsson was born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, 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.