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January 17, 2013


MIDWINTER BLOOD by Monds Kallentoft
 Midwinter Blood: A Thriller

Meet Malin Fors: Talented, Troubled, with a sixth sense for the truth. (from the front dust jacket)

I can wipe out the longing. I can give up the breathing. But if longing and breathing disappear, you are left with belonging. Aren't you?

I have woken up. I am many years older, but my hovel, the cold, the winter night, and the forest are the same.  I have to do something.  But I've already done it: something has  happened. Where does the blood on my hands come from?  And the noises?

The worms and mice are inaudible over all the commotion.  I  hear your voice.  I hear you banging on the nailed- together planks that make up the door of my hovel.  You're here,  you've finally come.  But is it really you?  Or is it the dead?  

Whoever is out there, tell me that you mean me no harm.  Tell me that you have come in love.  


Review:  Malin Fors is a police detective in Linkoping, a small , isolated town, in central Sweden,  during one of the coldest winters ever.  A divorced mother of a teen-aged daughter, Tove,  she back guesses her decisions and actions privately.

She is assigned to a murder case that starts a long deep story of disturbing secrets.  She soon discovers that not all of them can or will be solved.  If you enjoy dark mysteries, this book is your cup of tea.  The mystery starts with a fat man, dead and cold hanging in the forest.  This is where Malin Fors enters the  picture.  She is the police superintendent.  In many ways, shes the ideal detective. Instinctive and driven. Intelligent? Absolutely! , but in a good way; She finds shortcuts, dares to take chances. but she does it with care . That's what Malin's chief says about her.   Malin is all that and more. She's started to drink, can't sleep, parent of a teen aged girl.  She works hours and hours and wonders about her daughter, Tove.  Getting home late one evening, she finds Tove asleep on the couch.  She feels the heaviness of   love, while all around her is the heaviness of hate.   There is the voice of the dead man throughout the novel,  but not being heard. His soul is hanging by a thread, even after he was cremated. He was still being tormented and  tortured even as the coffin and body is burned.

It is so cold in  Sweden almost  to the halt of what is normal, of people, love and loneliness, dark and light.   So many families that destroy everything they and others have, when only a little thoughtfulness and love might cure. When it gets so cold, you can't even smell. Smell stimulates you in many ways.  Smells hold thoughts and memories.

Could this be a cult or ritual murder? We soon find as the case proceeds, that this may actually be a ritual murder.  Now  here it goes, one clue after another and another until they start to pile up. Families, known thugs, associates of this man are questioned, looked at and visited.  They leave nothing unturned.

As the case goes along we get to know Malin Fors and  her teen-aged daughter.  Her life is open for all to look at and point fingers. Malin does a lot of the investigating but does not lead the investigations.  She's pretty much a loner, which her fellow officers don't like. Does being a loner have anything to do with her past, or perhaps, her present?  Is it from hurt?  Maybe she's just a loner. 

The novel is a fast page turner.  The characters are like you know them, they're real.  Some are likable like Malin.  Maybe there will be a book two.  In the U.S. soon?  Hopefully?  I  wish the books would go in series.  It seems like the first book in the U.S. is the third book in the series.  I hate that. I like reading series books in order.

How did this obese man end up in the tree, naked, cut, beaten and frozen?  There were no foot prints or any signs of how he might  have gotten there. Who was this man?  What did he do to deserve this?  I liked the way the story was told through different views.  It was mainly Malin's but the victim's voice was more intriguing and interesting.  The author did some amazing writing with this book.  This is not your ordinary suspense mystery.

Malin is a very complicated person.  She is so wrapped up in her work that her personal relationships suffer.  Her shared custody of her daughter is being put on the back burner.  She doesn't see that her daughter needs a lot of attention, which she isn't getting.  The constant riff with her father makes the book more real life.  How many of us have experienced this or are still experiencing this?  Malin doesn't just have a cop's life but she has a personal life too, and that does include a child, that being a teen,  needs lots of attention.  The book did seem just a little bit too long.  That didn't make it a bad book, it was just long.  Th vivid descriptions of everything in the book were  great.  He described the victim's death with such detail.  Very realistic.

As long as the victim's spirit is not at peace, than Malin doesn't rest.  Could this murder be connected with another case that involved a brutal rape and torture of a young woman found on the edge of the same woods?  Will things run cold or heat up for Malin?  The author waits until the perfect moment for the answers.  I loved the spirit voice.  It gave the novel that mystery and makes you think, could this be possible?

The voice of the dead man floats throughout the novel,  seeing and hearing, speaking but not being heard.  His spirit is in limbo, even after the cremation of  his body, tormented and tortured , but even so detached as the coffin and then the body burned.

Sweden's cold, cold winter shows the differences between humans, of madness and loneliness and abuse.  Of the loss of light and love, replaced by darkness,  fear and suspicion.  Humans destroying what is, when the only thing it would take would be a small amount of caring and love.  Love can cure a lot of things.

Thanks Mr. Kannentoft for such a good read and the chance for us to read and review the book.  I definitely will read more of your books.  I believe  I may be hooked.

I received a complimentary hard copy of MIDWINTER BLOOD from NightOwl Reviews for an honest and unbiased review.


Starting the New Year with a Fresh Perspective    gospelword
by Mike Glenn

In the story of the prodigal son, Luke uses a curious phrase when the younger son realizes what he has lost and determines to go home. The King James Version translates the phrase, “He came to himself.” That phrase has always fascinated me. How do you come to yourself? Can you set yourself down somewhere and then forget where you left yourself? Actually, it is something like that. We can become so buried under mistakes and failure, stuffed under grief and regret, that we get to the place where we no longer recognize ourselves. But God’s “yes” changes all that. When the Spirit changes our true identity in Christ, we leave behind everything that is false and start walking toward the truth of Christ and who he created us to be.

Changing your mind .....

Walking away from the lies and destruction of sin is very close to the practical meaning of biblical repentance. It goes far beyond feeling bad about your sin—all the way to literally changing the direction of your life. And to change your life, you have to change the way you think. A change in your life’s direction means you stop fighting the current of God’s grace that flows in your spirit. Now you start flowing with the current of grace. As you reorient your life in the direction of God’s leading, you find your efforts are amplified through the Spirit’s presence in the same way an ocean current enhances the work of a ship’s sails.

When we talk about Christian conversion, we emphasize feelings of conviction and a decision to confess our sins and seek forgiveness. But we don’t stress the essential role played by our thinking. The problem that results is we don’t change the way we think, so we end up not changing our behavior. For a total transformation of a person’s life, the mind as well as the heart must change. We live the way we do because we think the way we do. The mess is in our heads before it is in our lives, but it moves from the mind to daily life.

This changes when we ask Christ to renew our minds, to alter the way we think. We need to allow our minds to be completely transformed. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” When your mind is transformed, your life will follow.

I am not naive. I understand the lure of sin and the effectiveness of its deceptions. And I am familiar with the consequences of sin. I have sat with large numbers of people and listened as they recognized and talked through the harmful consequences of their actions. When the cost of their failures sinks in, it is devastating. A man’s infidelity cost him his wife and children. For a few minutes of pleasure, he traded away a future with his family. It takes only one incident to disrupt a friendship, a career, a family, a life. Lies are told, discovered, and confessed in tears, but how can a person regain trust? Sin looks good in the moment but only because it’s hiding the future consequences.

I’m convinced we don’t understand the total impact of salvation. We make it about feelings or a one-time decision to confess our sins and trust in Christ’s death and resurrection. But to live a new life, to be completely transformed, our salvation has to be about the total person, including our minds.

Changing your frame of reference

If in obedience to Christ we are going to make different choices, we have to adopt Christ’s way of looking at things. God will create a new mind in you and me, but we have to join willingly in the process. And part of thinking differently is letting go of old assumptions and preferences and accepting the preferences of God.

In Acts 10 we read the story of the early church hearing from God a “yes” that led to its dropping of ethnic barriers. A Roman centurion named Cornelius was praying, and in his prayers he was told to find a man named Peter. Peter, in the meantime, also was praying. In his prayers Peter saw a vision of a sheet holding all kinds of animals—and they weren’t kosher. Although Peter was told to kill and eat, he refused. Again the vision came, and again Peter refused to eat. Each time, Jesus confronted Peter with the following rebuke: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Only when Cornelius’s messengers appeared at his gate did Peter begin to understand the message of the vision. Nothing created by God, people most of all, can ever be called unclean.

God created Gentiles just as he did Jews, and no one—Gentiles included—was inferior to anyone else. God loves those outside the nation of Israel on a par with the descendants of Abraham. Having grown up under the influence of Jewish traditions and biases, Peter must have had difficulty processing this. But to his credit, he was obedient to Christ and changed the way he thought about these matters. And not just the way he thought, but his life and his preaching as well

Free of condemnation

There are two reasons we should not condemn others or ourselves. First, we all are created in the image of God. And second, Christ died for sinners. This is the price God was willing to pay for our redemption. We are called to live in the glory of knowing what we are worth. And when we don’t, we damage ourselves, one another, and the world we live in. Sin devalues us as people and causes us to see others and all creation as lacking worth. Sin negates the good work Christ does in us and in the world. Where Christ speaks “yes,” sin says “no.”

We have things in our lives that cause shame or grief, and they act as a giant but to the good news of Christ. He promises us new life, which sounds great, but...“my family business went bankrupt after I misspent some accounts. I was going to pay it back, but then everything collapsed.” And suddenly we forget the promise of Christ. He promises forgiveness and second chances, but it’s hard to believe the second chance could still apply after the things we’ve done.

Why do we think that we alone committed a sin so horrible it exceeds Jesus’s ability to forgive? This kind of thinking is the ultimate heresy. What we are saying is the death of Jesus was payment enough for everyone else’s sins, but our sin is so monstrous that his death isn’t enough to cover it

Let Christ change the way you think so you can let go of that lie. Jesus paid it all. No part of the debt has been left for you or me to pay by working hard to clean up our own lives. On our own we can’t get clean enough to impress God. Whatever we might try, we will always be unworthy of his love. The gift of God’s “yes” in Christ is unearned, given to us freely. Our relationship with God is not a contract; it is a covenant, a bond of mutual love and commitment. In this covenant the parties are not equal, but the arrangement is mutual. Christ died for us and offers us his salvation, and we accept what he did for us as a free gift—on his terms.

Christ opens the door; we need only to walk through it. We then live our lives in loving response to God’s grace expressed in Jesus. This is the mutual love and commitment of the covenant. Yet, for some reason, we have a hard time believing the gift of salvation is free. Who would give away something like that? So we think we have to earn it

Adapted from The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn with permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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