Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

Blood Song

We join the blog tour for Blood Song, book 3 in the Roy and Castells series.

Blood Song – the blurb

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war. As Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Author’s Note

Gosh, Blood Song packs a punch! The violence that some of the characters experience under Franco’s rule is horrific. A more gentile person may find it hard to read in parts. Whilst the book is a work of fiction, Gustawsson sets out in a separate note that the violence is all rooted in the terrible truth of a dark chapter in Spanish history. It sickens, and saddens.

Three is the magic number

The book is number three in the Emily Roy and Alexis Castells series and by this point the pair have found their feet. I confess I haven’t read the previous two books and whilst there is obviously history, I was able to jump in and pick up as I read.

Emily Roy is a very intriguing character and I really now want to read her back story. Yet it was Alexis who interested me the most. It’s such a cliche in a book of this genre to read about a character whose relationship is suffering at the hands of their job. Yet Gustawsson avoided this, placing Alexis in a steady, happy relationship. Gustawsson then went one step further by not allowing the relationship, nor the upcoming wedding define Alexis. The wedding was very much a subplot and I liked reading about a career minded woman whose life didn’t stop just because she was about to get married.

Two parts to every story

The IVF aspect to the modern part of the story was a brilliant back drop. Fascinating to read about yet equally horrifying as to the possibility of malpractices. The opening murders were brutal. I admit I was totally creeped out when I found out where the killer waited beforehand!

I had no idea how the two parts to the book would intertwine (if they would at all). Gordi’s tale of life in a Spanish orphanage in 1950s could have made a book alone. You just had to keep reading to see how it ended. Despite the violence, I also really loved the references to food! A plate full of Kanelbullar for me please.


My thanks go to Orenda Books via the Random Things Tour for a copy of Blood Song in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about two intriguing, independent woman working side by side with a good dash of hard hitting violence thrown in.

If you like Blood Song, books one and two in the series are available now. You might also enjoy The Ringmaster about another very modern independent female crime fighter.