Narrator: Joyce Bean
Run Time: 9 hours, 23 minutes
Audiobook provided for review by AudioGO and Audiobook Jukebox
It was clearly no ordinary drowning. Inspector Louise Rick is immediately called out to Holbaek Fjord when a young immigrant girl is found in the watery depths, a piece of concrete tied around her waist and two mysterious circular patches on the back of her neck.
Her name was Samra, and Louise soon learns that her short life was a sad story. Her father had already been charged once with assaulting her and her mother, Sada, who makes it clear that her husband would indeed be capable of killing Samra if she brought dishonor to the family. But she maintains that Samra hadn’t done anything dishonorable. Then why was she supposed to be sent back to Jordan? Samra s best friend Dicte thinks it was an honor killing. A few days later Dicte is discovered, bludgeoned to death, and Samra’s younger sister has gone missing.
One thing I have learnt over the last year or so of reading Nordic Noir is that the most obvious solution is never it – so I had to keep my mind open as the mystery played out in Only One Life. This is the third book in the series, although only the second one had been released in English prior to this. That being said, I didn’t feel like I was missing all that much having not read/listened to the previous book in the series. Although, I will be reading it in the near future, as well as looking forward to book 4 that is due out in December.
If I was going to compare Sara Blaedel’s writing to other authors from the area, I would put her somewhere in the middle of the ranking when it comes to the darkness that is prevalent in the genre. The crime was dark, and there was lots of society influences that contributed to the crime, but at the same time, she was able to focus on some of the interpersonal relationships that made the crime all the more real. The book also made me want to pick up some other books that deal with honor killings – whatever the setting. I did identify the killer early on, but then I completely dismissed the person because I didn’t believe that it could be them. You think I would have learnt to not do that by now…lol!
This isn’t the first book I’ve listened to that Joyce Bean has narrated and it won’t be the last. There is something about her voice that just sucks me in. Her range of voices continues to surprise me – having listened to her narrate Urban Fantasy (the fever series), mysteries (Karin Slaughter) and now Scandinavian crime fiction. I found myself driving long routes home just so I could finish up a chapter, or sitting in the parking lot at work. For me, I find that listening to these mysteries helps me to pronounce many of the names that I would normally massacre if I was trying to say them.
Overall, I’d give the book 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars with a 4 star rating overall. I hope others who read/listen to Only One Life enjoy it as much as I did.