Monday 19 August 2013

Book review : More Bitter Than Death - Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff

Last year, I reviewed Some Kind of Peace by Swedish crime-writing duo Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff. (You can read my review of that book here.) In More Bitter Than Death, we meet up again with dysfunctional but endearing psychotherapist Siri Bergman, who finds herself helping to set up a self-help group for women who have been victims of violence, despite having been one herself. She still hasn't really managed to move on from the death of her husband and the attack which almost left her dead, but this book does lead her on to a new life-changing chapter in her life.

The book opens with the harrowing scene of a woman being brutally battered to death as her five-year-old daughter looks on, hidden out of sight under a tablecloth where she is drawing. This crime soon ends up being intrinsically linked to one of the members of Siri's therapy group.

Whereas traditional crime fiction looks at the who and how of the crimes, the psychology aspect of this series looks more at the why, examining the role of victims and attackers or nature versus nurture. Siri's boyfriend Markus is a policeman so we do get a glimpse of the classic whodunnit but the narrative goes beyond this, trying to work out why someone would commit these crimes. The pyschological reports of the assailant throughout his whole life give an interesting insight into what makes someone turn into a criminal or a murderer but the question is, who do they refer to? There are more than a few surprises when all is finally revealed.

I enjoyed seeing the developments in Siri's life, but this is a book that can be equally enjoyed as a standalone novel if you haven't read the previous episode. It gives an interesting look at domestic violence and the factors that can shape a criminal mind, but above all, it's a gripping read that had me totally hooked, trying to work out who the murderer was.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP :  £12.99

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857209493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857209498
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review: The Dead - Howard Linskey

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