Summertime Death

Author: Mons Kallentoft

Why did I read it? I had listened to Midwinter Sacrifice by the same author and enjoyed it, despite the poor narration, so upon noticing a new narrator for Summertime Death, I chose to download and listen.

What’s it about? It is the hottest summer anyone can recall in Linköping, in addition to which forest fires are raging. Having sent her daughter away with her ex to Bali, Malin Fors finds herself investigating the abduction of one girl and the murder of another, both of a similar age to Tove. The unbearable heat makes everyone rather sluggish; it’s hard to think; and, as the investigation to uncover the abductor seems to lead nowhere, Malin grows ever more worried at the imminent return of her daughter.

What did I like? This time, Malin’s inner dialogue seemed more appropriate, and realistic of a woman, much more so than in the earlier book; however I put some of this down to the fact this version was narrated by a woman. I was more drawn into the personal, and inner worlds of Malin this time, too.

The narration of this book by Jane Collingwood was much more lively in Summertime Death than in Midwinter Sacrifice narrated by Lisa Coleman. The little sound effects used were just as effective, and the voice characterisations were better, too.

Once again, I had no idea who the perpetrator was, but, then, these series of book unfolds differently than in other crime thrillers I’ve read in the past.

The use of the weather was wonderful. The heatwave increasing the feeling of sluggishness, weariness of the Linköping police, and Malin in particular. At the time I was listening, a heatwave was occuring where I live and I could feel the effect for myself, but Mons Kallentoft conveyed it beautifully throughout the book.

What didn’t I like? Though Malin thinks more like a woman, had this not been narrated by a woman, I would still think her voice a male one. The overuse by the author of the word “says” nearly drove me to distraction at times. There are other words one can use such as “responds”, “questions”, “replies”, “states”, “posits”, “remarks”, “utters”, and so on. It felt rather lazy, and took away from the style of the book.

Although the narration by Jane Collingwood was an improvement, it still somehow felt too laid back, or soft to me. I wish I could find the words to describe how it affected me better. What I can say is that I felt a lot of tension was diffused by both the narrators of the two books thus released (in English) in this series; however, it could just be Mons Kallentoft’s style of writing that does not lend itself to building tension. Though I may not have known who the perpetrator was, I was not surprised by certain developments in the plot. Everything was so heavily foreshadowed, I knew what was coming.

I was also confused by how Malin arrived at her revelation about the perpetrator. I could not figure out, from what she knew, how she made the connections. It rather spoiled the end for me.

Would I recommend it? Actually, despite my gripes, yes. This was less an exciting story idea than in Midwinter Sacrifice, but the narration of Summertime Death was superior and I still enjoyed listening to this book.

Rating: 3/5

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