An "A-Unit" Mystery by Arne Dahl
Review: The A-Unit, Stockholm's elite squad of police detectives, is assembled once again to find an American serial killer, who they believe boarded a flight in Newark and now bound for the Swedish capital, in Bad Blood, the second mystery in this series by Arne Dahl, and first published in 1998 as Ont Blod.
The Kentucky Killer, as he was dubbed in the US, has evaded capture for years. However, his method of torture is quite unique, consisting of a pair of pincers inserted into the neck, one of which causes the vocal cords to be silenced and the other to activate nerve cells that result in extreme and non-localized pain. The authorities thought he may have died in 1982 as the killings stopped, but they resumed in 1997 using the exact same devices. The A-Unit has far more questions than answers, as illustrated by this passage about midway through the book:
Why does he kill? Is it for the same reasons before and after his break? Why did he take a break for almost fifteen years? Is it really the same killer? Why does everyone feel there's something wrong with the image of him as a classic serial killer? Why was Lars-Erik Hassel murdered at the [Newark] airport? Why did the murderer go to Sweden? Why did he use a thirty-two-year-old's passport if he is over fifty?
And about a dozen more questions specifically related to subsequent crimes committed in Sweden. Bad Blood takes an incredibly long time to get started. Indeed, the first half of the book could easily have been cut in half without any loss of continuity. But it is at about the halfway point that the plot starts cruising along at a fast and steady clip. The storyline is a strong one and it is unlikely that any reader will "figure it out" much before the end. (One must also keep in mind this book was written in 1998 and the events that are referenced are current as of then.) The ending is a bit ambiguous, but it is as it should be given how the A-Unit's investigation plays out. If readers can hang on through what is a seriously tedious beginning, they will be rewarded with what is, all things considered, a really solid entry in this series.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of Bad Blood for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Pantheon (Hardcover), July 2011
ISBN-13: 9780375425356; ISBN-10: 0375425357
Location(s) referenced in Bad Blood: Stockholm, Sweden; Newark, New Jersey; Kentucky
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Bad Blood by Arne Dahl — An "A-Unit" Mystery
Publication Date: August 2013
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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