As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka
As Red As Blood
Author: Salla Simukka
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 17, 2017 (first published February 20, 2013)
Goodreads Synopsis: Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. But Lumikki’s rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally.
A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back—no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite hosting lavish parties and having a notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she’ll have to uncover the entire operation.
Even the cold Finnish winter can’t hide a culprit determined to stain the streets red.
Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
REVIEW: It took me a good while to get into this read. The novel is already a short read, and it wasn’t until halfway into the book that it picked up for me. Lumikki seems to have gotten herself out of an unhappy place where her parents reside, just to end up in a worse situation that puts her life in jeopardy. And that sounds like a great start to a mystery filled novel, but again I found it very lacking in the way it carried along.
I didn’t very much enjoy any of the characters in As Red As Blood, or even have a favorite. They all had their part and moved the story along well enough, but none of them really shined through. Some of the translation may have changed the feel of this read or how things were meant to come off. The reader is transported to an elite school, meant for kids with some form of wealth and smart genes to top it off. What we get are three teenagers who make choices that intellect driven students would not risk making at all. One of those includes keeping blood-stained money that they find.
“What should we do? Duh. We should keep it, of course. Duh. And keep our mouths shut,’ Kasper said”
Tuukka, Elisa, and Kasper have gotten involved in something they have no clue about. One is the son of the principal of their school, another the daughter of a policeman. Drugs are likely at the center of it all, and still Lumikka gets herself twisted in it. And this is where the book starts getting interesting for me. The mafia is a big part of this complicated situation, and the money is part of blackmail gone wrong. Now all four of them are heading towards an insane amount of heartache if that money doesn’t find its way back to the right hands.
That pain comes much sooner for Lumikka, who is mistaken for Elisa. The bad guys are after her and a chase ensues. Somehow Lumikka is able to escape their grasps, but not without struggling through it. The life she has tried to create for herself is torn apart the minute she gets involved with the crazy antics of these three students. She had done her best to stay far away from most of them at the start of this novel, just to let curiosity get the best of her. And it just goes further downhill from that moment.
“Lumikka watched from a tree limb, pressed against the trunk, as the three men ran in the wrong direction. She had ran into the path, leapt into the tree leaving as few marks in the snow as possible, and shimmied up. Then she had hurled the hat as far as she could down the path. It had worked. But it wouldn’t fool them for long.”
I felt I would have enjoyed this read so much more if most of the book read like the second half. I wanted more of Lumikka’s backstory, but maybe there’s more of it in the rest of the series. Even though some of it didn’t go as I had hoped, portions of it did keep me reading. And like I mentioned previously, the second half of this book is jam packed with action and suspense filled moments. It doesn’t always match the first Lumikka we meet in the intro, but I much prefer the other her. Might have worked even more with her character being out of high school and there being some kind of reasoning behind her ability to pull the things she does in most of it.
All in all, it kept me interested enough to want to check out the next book in the series. Maybe that one is much better than the first, or it might just fall a little flat. Will have to check it out to know for sure.
***I received this copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***