Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Blum is a blissfully married mother of two and the successful owner of a funeral home, enjoying a quiet family life until a suspicious hit-and-run leaves her widowed and full of doubt. When she comes across evidence that leads her to believe that her policeman husband's death was no accident, she launches an investigation of her own. But Blum is no typical damsel in distress, as we and her husband's killers will soon learn: her past is shady, and her fury is something to behold. VERDICT Aichner's gritty, fast-paced narrative and unconventional protagonist is the first in a trilogy sure to earn favor among fans of Jo Nesbo, Camilla Läckberg, and Stieg Larsson. A number one best seller in Aichner's native Austria, this is the author's first book translated into English.-Liv -Hanson, Chicago © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Austrian author Aichner makes his English-language debut with a tense thriller, the first in a trilogy. Brünhilde Blum, a 24-year-old undertaker in Innsbruck, couldn't be happier. She has a thriving business, a husband she loves, and two little girls she adores. Then a large black car fatally strikes her police officer husband, Mark, who's just left for work on his motorcycle, and speeds away. Paralyzed with grief, Blum knows she must be strong for her girls, but that grief is refocused when she discovers evidence that indicates Mark's death was no accident and that the people responsible are among the vilest of men. Blum is all too familiar with the evil that men do, and she's not afraid to use every tool at her disposal to take down Mark's killers. Not for the faint of heart, this thoroughly satisfying novel explores how far a person will go for love. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A best-seller in Austria, Aichner's English-language debut is the first in a trilogy. We know from a brief and disturbing prologue that undertaker Blum is willing to take matters into her own hands when she feels that she's been wronged. So it's no surprise that she's not content to sit home and grieve quietly after her police-officer husband is run over right in front of her. Mark had recently befriended a homeless woman who was hiding from the men who had kept her and other desperate immigrants prisoner in a hotel cellar. Blum tracks the woman down and picks up where her husband left off, with one difference. Blum doesn't offer justice; she promises vengeance. A doting mother to two young girls, Blum is a fascinatingly contradictory character: compassionate to the dead, tender with her daughters, merciless to anyone who crosses her. Fans of Lisbeth Salander will be delighted to meet another European heroine whose moral compass points in only one direction: Do not mess with me. --Keefe, Karen Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Bloody corpses and an intriguing protagonist combine to flesh out Aichner's violent tale. The first thing Blum does at the beginning of this book is kill her elderly parents by letting them slowly drown as she sunbathes on the family sailboat, turning a deaf ear to their begging. But readers, though possibly shocked by Blum's callousness, won't shed any tears for the couple: they were monsters. Thus, Blum earns her emancipation and, at the same time, finds happiness in the arms of Mark, the police officer who investigates their deaths. Soon Blum is running her late father's mortuary business and has two children with Mark. But her happiness is cut short when Mark's killed in a hit-and-run as he leaves their home. Later, Blum goes through Mark's phone and finds a bevy of recorded conversations with a woman named Dunya, who recounts terrible tales of being held captive with two other immigrants while a group of five men, whose names she doesn't know, rapes and abuses them. Blum decides to finish what Mark started and sets off to right the wrongs those five men perpetrated. In the meantime, she takes Massimo, her husband's partner, as a lover and forms a special bond with Reza, her loyal helper. This story won't be everyone's cup of tea. Blum is cold as ice while dealing with the men who imprisoned and hurt Dunya. And, since she's an undertaker, her methods often include messy dismemberment and as much suffering as she can inflict on her victims. Blum's not a creature of mercy. Aichner, who worked in Blum's field at one time, shares his knowledge of body preparationnone of which is dignified or neatwith readers. Some will find it fascinating. Gory, explicit, and crammed with dialogue that is often profane as well as curt, this tale of a woman brimming with hate and vengeance won't be for everyone. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.