May 16, 2010

Book Review: The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith

The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith
Paperback: 9780380790883, Harper, $13.99

This post was originally published here in February 2009. It has been edited from its original version.

Though published over 10 years ago, this is one of those "new to me" books that I have to tell everyone about. Especially considering how hot Scandinavian thrillers are at the moment, Nicola Griffith's Aud Torvigen is not a character to miss.

When I call this book a "thriller," I don't mean it in the Steven King, make you pee your pants with fright in the middle of the night, sort of way. It's an adventure thriller: a symphony where you have a beautiful melody and harmony and you're floating along on trills of music until all of a sudden it crescendos and the cymbals crash and the drums boom and you've got yourself a little rock 'n roll thrown in there.

Aud Torvigen is hot, sexy, and in control. A 6-foot, ice blonde Norwegian-American, Aud grew up in Norway, and now makes her home in Atlanta, GA. After leaving the elite "Red Dogs" special police force at the age of 29, Aud now works for herself, taking on jobs that pique her interest, since she no longer needs them to pay the bills.

After running, literally, into a strange woman on a dark road in the middle of the night, only to have a house blow up a block away a few minutes after that, Aud gets tangled in a mess of a private investigation involving a highly-placed politican, international money laundering, art forgeries, and one Julia Lyons-Bennet, who is at once more than and also exactly what she seems. When the investigation turns deadly, Aud and Julia escape to Norway where an unexpected betrayal will bring their trip to an abrupt end. Though Aud solves the investigation, Julia has helped her learn it's no longer about that thrill you only get when you're in the Blue Place. Though the end is very sad, it will make you glad there are 2 other books out there about Aud for you to read.

Called a "new wave crime-writer" and an author of "literary noir," Nicola Griffith's writing is a sensory delight. Like Aud herself, Griffith's words are precise and exacting, yet slow and senuous enough to have all of your senses enjoying the experience. You can feel the moist humidity of Atlanta and the icy breath of Norwegian fjords, the bump of rock 'n roll and the glide of skin against skin. Her writing has won her the Tiptree Award, the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and six Lambda Literary Awards. It is easy to understand why. Pick up The Blue Place - for an excerpt, click here. You won't be able to put Nicola Griffith or Aud Torvigen down.

When you look for more Aud reading, check out Stay (excerpt) (9781400032303, $12.95) and Always (excerpt) (9781594482946, $15).
When you look for more Nicola Griffith, check out her website and/or her blog.

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