cover image As Red as Blood

As Red as Blood

Salla Simukka, trans. from the Finnish by Owen F. Witesman. Amazon/Skyscape, $9.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-4778-4771-8

Finnish author Simukka creates a tough, self-sufficient heroine in 17-year-old Lumikki Andersson in this first book in the Snow White Trilogy. The novel begins starkly, with a young woman’s freshly shed blood soaking the snow of a Finnish winter. Lumikki, who lives alone and attends a prestigious arts school, becomes enmeshed in the murder when she finds (literally) laundered money in the school’s darkroom. Soon, she is swept into an investigation of a dangerous drug cartel along with three schoolmates, including Elisa, the pretty, spoiled daughter of a local narcotics officer. In response to a childhood trauma, Lumikki has remade herself—independent, cerebral, distant; her unlikely friendship with Elisa is unexpected and endearing. Parents are markedly absent; Lumikki has intentionally estranged herself. Elisa’s father loves her, but his criminal involvement consumes him. This leaves the teenagers of Simukka’s story negotiating a landscape that adults have created and then abandoned, cold as the Scandinavian winter; the warm heart at its center is the web of alliance they form. Fans of Nesbø and Larsson won’t be disappointed. Ages 13–up. Agent: Elina Ahlbäck, Elina Ahlbäck Literacy Agency. (Aug.)