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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Nordic Noir Not for Dog Lovers

The Second Deadly Sin: A Rebecka Martinsson Investigation - Åsa Larsson

Well plotted thriller with a historical plot line. For readers who are sensitive to sexual violence, this book would be a pass. The historical plot-line, in particular, involved significant and unpunished sexual violence. More than one character meets a horrible end.


For readers who are sensitive to violence against animals, and I am one of them, this book is not for you. There are a number of canine characters who are very important to the development of the narrative. One child victim, a boy named Marcus who witnesses the murder of his grandmother, is so traumatized that he pretends to be a dog, and calls himself the Wild Dog. Two important characters, a police officer and Martinsson, the main character, are dog lovers, and their dogs are instrumental in helping Marcus cope with his trauma.


I don't want to go into detail because it would be a spoiler, but also because it isn't necessary, but will say that there is an incident toward the end involving one of the dogs that felt gratuitous and was, frankly, fairly awful to read. It felt like a cheap way of gaining horror points, and establishing that one is a serious mystery writer, unafraid to make hard decisions in plotting. But for that event, I would have given this four stars. With it, I wish I hadn't read this book.


I love dogs. There were other canine deaths in the book that made sense and were important to advance the narrative, and those did not bother me in the same way. The end of this book has left me troubled and haunted.