Title: As Red As Blood
Author: Sally Simukka
Type: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.
Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.
But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.
As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.
I was really surprised by this book. I wasn’t really expecting the detailed writing and the interesting plot in the book, which made the book much better in my opinion. There are some flaws in the writing of course, but the overall concept is admirable.
The main character, Lumikki, is an enigmatic girl who likes to keep to herself and avoids all ‘useless and tiring’ interactions with others. She was an unexpected character in the book because unlike other protagonists in other books, she really treasures her peace. I felt like I can relate to her about some points, and disagree with her about others. Lumikki felt like a Sherlock Holmes character to me, she was smart and isolated, and was pulled into others’ affairs without wanting to be involved. Overall, I admired the main character’s role in the whole book.
The side characters were also an unexpected treat. The three kids who brought Lumikki into their mess were surprisingly relatable and human. Elisa, despite being a rich kid, still wants company and her family be faithful to her, and Tuukka and Kasper were delinquents who didn’t understand the consequences of their foolish actions. I liked how the side characters were not perfect despite their importance to the story. The antagonists were also engaging. They admitted their own faults, but continued to commit crime anyway.
The concept of the story was loosely based on Snow White and other fairy tales, with a mix of suspense and action. There were gang bosses, crime lords, and other shady characters in the book that made the fictional part of the story realistic, which, in my opinion, is a good mix for a mystery novel. I also liked the setting of the story, and how it stayed true to its origins (Lumikki had a Finnish name).
After reading this book, I give the book four out of five stars. I would recommend this title to my friends who enjoy mystery and suspense books, with a dash of fantasy.