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Amazon.com: 11 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A novel with a conscience July 9 2013
By Lakis Fourouklas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Only One Life by Danish author Sara Blaedel is not so much a whodunit, I wouldn't even say it's a whydunit; it is, to put it gently, a "what the heck happened?" kind of book. This is one of those novels that have many layers. The first layer is made of facts, the second of hidden truths, the third is composed primarily by lies, the fourth talks about the social background and so forth.

As in her previous outstanding novel Call Me Princess, Blaedel is more interested in exploring the tortured psyches of her subjects than providing the reader with a fast-paced narrative. She wants to tell the story behind the story, to see where people are coming from and where they dream of going. She doesn't seem to seek to impress us with her twists and turns in the plot, as much as to make us think; to think about the world that's changing all around us, to consider seriously the issue of immigration and explore our capabilities to adapt in these new realities.

Her heroes and heroines are not extraordinary people; they are as common as they come. They live ordinary lives, lives full of small joys and great sorrows, lives which even at the best of times look unfulfilled, robbed of any potential for happiness. Samra is a girl that arrived in a new land, with different habits, but who tries hard to adapt, despite the fact that her family doesn't seem to want her to do so. Dicta, her best friend, leads a mostly carefree life, since she has rich parents who more or less let her be, even though she's no older than fifteen. Louise Rick, the cop, is a highly intelligent yet sad woman, who tries to find solace in her job and in helping other people out. Her friend, Camilla, is a stubborn journalist, who's trying to recover from a recent break-up, do the best she can about her son Markus, and of course excel at her work.

There are quite a few other people -mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and lovers, in this story- and there's drama all around. And that's exactly what makes the book so special. The people are the story, not the crimes. The crimes just serve to kick-start the process of this long journey of discovery that will lead the main characters time and again into dark places, while it will also show them that in the end not everything is lost, there's still hope in the world. Blaedel tackles the big issues of today with an open mind, and in doing so she has to give her heroes a human face. Nobody is perfect. They all have their weaknesses, they all every now and then do things that they regret and they all try desperately to understand each other, even though sometimes there's no way of making that happen.

How can people from a Muslim country find their way and start a new life in a world so much different from their own? How do they forget their traditions and their codes of honor? How do they integrate into an immoral, at least in their eyes, society? And how can the locals accept these outsiders? Do they feel threatened by them or do they really welcome them as who they truly are? Could it be that the only things that keep society from falling apart, of social tensions rising, are observing some codes of silence and every now and then turning a blind eye?

It takes a crime to burst this ideal world bubble, and another to bring it to the brink of destruction.

Only One Life is a good police procedural that tells a great story, but most of all it's a novel with a conscience, and you can't say that for every book that hits the bookshelves these days. A lot of those books try to feed on the fear of people for the unknown, while this one just tries to understand that fear and put it into context. A job well done.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Only One Life Aug. 13 2012
By P.Bergbauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
A Jordanian girl is found drowned with a slab of concrete tied to her waist and Inspector Louise Rick is called in to help
with the investigation. Is this a hate crime, honor killing or something else entirely?
Well, I have to say I was rather disappointed in this book. I can't get attached to the characters not because they are
unlikeable but there just isn't much substance to them. This is the second book with the character Louise Rick and it being
the second book I have read I just thought there would be more life brought out in the character by now.
Although the writing is well done I just can't get into what I consider a lackadaisical attitude of the police. It is written that they
are doing all this stuff but nothing comes to fruition. I am sure some of this is in the translation but that
doesn't help the reader. Also, the mundane talk of their every day is just not what I want to be reading about. The story's
climax was in the last two chapters and by that time it was a little too late, my interest had waned chapters ago.
An Intel­li­gent Mys­tery Aug. 10 2012
By Man of La Book - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Only One Life by Sara Blædel is a fic­tional mys­tery book set in Den­mark. This is the sec­ond book trans­lated into Eng­lish in the series fea­tur­ing Detec­tive Louise Rick.

When a young girl is found in a watery grave of Hol­braek Fjord , Inspec­tor Louise Rick is called due to her expe­ri­ence, knowl­edge and tact­ful­ness with immi­grants. The dead girl, as it turned out, is Samra, who lived in a new coun­try, while her par­ents enforced old tra­di­tions. Samra's mother main­tains that she did noth­ing to "deserve" an honor killing, but Inspec­tor Rick can detect that there is more than meets the eye.

Only One Life by Sara Blædel lives up to the pre­vi­ous novel, Call Me Princess, which I read about a year ago and enjoyed as well. The book is excit­ing and the char­ac­ters are well writ­ten and con­tinue to build up and expand from the pre­vi­ous book (even though I under­stand that there are more untrans­lated books).

The book touches on some rel­e­vant top­ics, such as honor killing, social intol­er­ance and sex­ual based crimes. The author explores these sub­jects, and more, with­out forc­ing her own moral­ity or ide­ol­ogy down the read­ers' throats, which is a big plus for me. I love to read about dif­fer­ent cul­tures and ideas, but I dis­like absolutes. Ms. Blædel stays away from giv­ing advice but sup­ply­ing plenty of mate­r­ial to think about dur­ing and after reading.

There are sev­eral things I like about Ms. Blædel's work, the social aspect and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion come imme­di­ately to mind. The author writes about a con­scious soci­ety, while not per­fect it cer­tainly isn't the dog-eat-dog world which we read about in other books. I also like the char­ac­ter of Louise Rick, not a clas­sic hero nor is she an anti-hero, just a sim­ple work­ing pro­fes­sional who makes mis­takes, gets emo­tional, some­times frus­trated with her jobs, col­leagues and her friends.
Basi­cally, a human being.

Only One Life is an intel­li­gent mys­tery, with a mur­der as a device to tell a story about peo­ple while bring­ing up some impor­tant ques­tions. The book is solid, well trans­lated and read­able which is an amaz­ing feat due to the heavy sub­jects it tries to deal with.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Only One Life is a novel on life support July 29 2013
By Mary Anais - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Only One Life is more of a dull soap opera with a murder thrown in. This is my first in the Louise Rick series, and it's going to be my last. I simply do not care about Louise and her best friend Camilla; in fact, early on we were introduced to Camilla's relationship problems from a previous book. Sorry, didn't really care when there was a murder to be solved. Then there was the focus on Louise's relationship, specifically her one-night stand, which had nothing to do with the case.

I wanted to learn more about Samra, the murdered girl from Jordan, and her friend Dicta, who wants to help the police, but is soon found with her head bashed in. A lot more could have been explored, such as the reasons why Samra's family moved to Denmark, why Dicta is going to a public school , and why the friendships between two Danish girls and three Muslim immigrant girls formed. By the time I got to the third crime- the disappearance of Samra's little sister Aida- I was done. Aida's disappearance doesn't add to any of the suspense, and it occurs at the end of the novel.

Blaedel tries to handle too many issues in one book: honor killings, Muslim immigrants, modern Danish culture, domestic violence, teen relationships, and of course, Louise's and Camilla's problems. Also, potentially great characters were not developed: Henrik and Anne Moeller, Tue Sands, Mike, Hamid, Liv. These characters are important to the story, but they become significant, I didn't bat an eye because I didn't know them.

If you're already into the Louise Rick series, then you might want to read this book. If you're a newbie, then you might want to see if Blaedel's previous books are any better.
Five Stars April 20 2015
By kat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Great read

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