Tursten’s books present the Swedish setting as if it were a character, in rich, active detail. The cultural quirks that make this so interesting for American readers are front and center in the crimes ... The book has a brisk pace and plenty of twists, as well as some frankly sexy scenes for Embla when not on the job. Marlaine Delargy handles the translation, as she has for others from this author, and it’s clear and well written—but also a bit flat, as sentence structure becomes a counterweight to the plot and drags it down. It’s tempting to assume this is the price of Scandinavian noir (like the endless depressions of Henning Mankell’s books), but because Embla is actually a lively and likeable character, that’s unlikely. Frequent shifts of point of view don’t help. Whichever the cause, the reader will need to summon some tolerance and keep faith in the plot itself.
In this second thriller featuring DI Embla Nyström...Swedish author Tursten deepens the characterization of her 28-year-old series lead ... The novel’s first half often struggles with pacing, as the crimes mount and the focus bounces around various Strömstad authorities who try to determine how these crimes are linked. Once Embla asserts herself as the primary investigator, the story finds its rhythm, and Tursten guides it through a series of satisfying twists and turns ... Tursten’s novels aren’t nearly as bleak or as humorless as others in the genre
... a detective who is interesting and smart ... Tursten does a fantastic job limning the characters who populate Winter Grave. Her writing is clear and smooth, and is a pleasure to read. The plot is fast moving, and fans of noir will find themselves fully engaged in the puzzle she creates in her storytelling. The book is translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy, and is a must read for lovers of crime novels that tweak your imagination.