The Blue Place
hard to overpraise the taut plotting and broad intelligence
of this thriller. Beyond some smart narrative moves, what
makes The Blue Place stand out is its precision. You constantly
feel like you're getting the inside dope on new worlds,
including those of martial arts, woodworking, Norwegian
foods and dress styles, ice hiking and burglar alarms.
Griffith has already won herself Lambda and Nebula awards...and
she seems destined to add to her laurels.
--Washington Post Book World
police lieutenant with the elite "Red Dogs" until she
retired at twenty-nine, Aud Torvingen is a rangy six-footer
with eyes the color of cement and a tendency to hurt
people who get in her way. Born in Norway into the failed
marriage between a Scandinavian diplomat and an American
businessman, she now makes Atlanta her home, luxuriating
in the lush heat and brashness of the New South. On
a humid April evening between storms, out walking just
to stay sharp, she turns a corner and collides with
a running woman. Catching the scent of clean, rain-soaked
hair, Aud nods and silently tells the stranger Today,
you are lucky, and moves on - when behind her a house
explodes, incinerating its sole occupant, a renowned
art historian. When Aud turns back, the woman is gone.
But Julia Lyons-Bennet will return seeking Aud's help
and protection from a deadly international game of forgery,
drugs, money and murder.
Blue Place doesn't follow any obvious course; it's
as if La Femme Nikita stepped into a '50s lesbian weepie
to mess around with the rules.... It may be the first-ever
nugget of post-gay pulp, with a hero as sexy and iconic
as television's Xena.
Griffith switches genres and breathes life into an appealing
heroine in this smoothly plotted pulse-slammer... Compelling...
Readers will want to see more of Aud Torvingen.
evocatively written and swift paced, The Blue Place
is for devotees of classic, hard-edged detective tales....
But this isn't simply a thriller [but] an excursion into
the more disturbing sides of psyches: What happens when
we explore "the blue place" of the title--the epicenter
of our violent selves--and how we keep ourselves from
being drawn into the seductive power of our most base
responses. How do we keep from killing? [....] Ultimately
The Blue Place is, as all good thrillers and all
the best literary fiction are, a novel of quests and identity.
Griffith's prose is intensely visual, and her sense of
place--whether on the steaming streets of Atlanta after
an April thunderstorm or on the icy glaciers off the fjords
and fjells of Norway--is beautifully wrought. This book...is
as many-layered as the glacial morraine of the Nordic
countryside, and its images and ideas will sear the reader's
consciousness, much like the brutal heat of downtown Atlanta
[Aud Torvingen] is as icy as Norway...except when, in
mortal combat, she must kill. Successful art broker Julia
seeks Aud's protection during a high-risk operation involving
international drug cartels and money laundering, and Aud,
excited by the danger and by Julia, agrees to provide
it. What unfolds is a doubly suspenseful tale in which
arson destroys evidence in a deadly game of double-dealing,
blackmail, fraud, and murder, and the erotic chemistry
between the two women builds and boils. Griffith risks...with
a heroine who is a cold-blooded killing machine... But
superfit, superbright Aud is certainly one watchable sleuth
and may win Griffith quite a following of less squeamish
sexiest action figure since James Bond, [Aud]'s 6 blond
feet of sinew, muscle, and bone. She's also an ex-cop,
a martial arts instructor, a master carpenter, and a private
dick for hire. She's beautiful, she's independently wealthy,
she's in perfect shape: she's downright deadly. And sorry
guys: she's into girls..... Keep a lookout for the next
The novel goes down like honey, full of the quirky detail
that makes a good mystery great... If pretty girls and
danger don't grab you, the plot will. A house full of
forgeries and cocaine explodes, setting off a slow burn
of corruption and murder, with plenty of sex, fast cars,
and a pit stop in Norway.
York Daily News
[Aud Torvingen] the love child of Smilla and Nikita....After
stumbling upon a fire (and bystander) of suspicious origin,
her steely 6-foot body--with the help of her equally sharp
mind--kicks, sleuths and seduces its way through an international
web of drugs and death.
John Woo's movies, The Blue Place swims inside violence
as in a lushly colored dream; it makes a polar opposite
to Martin Amis's gaunt Night Train, which also stars a
big-boned, quick-fisted woman cop. Amis's anti-heroine
is clearly a man in disguise, weary of the cruel noirish
milieu the author can't quite admit to creating. Griffith,
meanwhile, writes Aud as convincingly female, because
she would claim for women the entire spectrum of human
behavior, including brutality and its sometime converse,
Women's Review of Books
Griffith clearly challenges
us to understand a radically atypical--or perhaps just
typically ignored--aspect of the female psyche: the fine
line between brutality and passion. She produces passages
that provoke and startle...finely rendered observations.
The novel soars. Aud's 'blue place'--where women glow
with the elated, bluish tinge of power rather than the
black and blue marks of victimhood--is a peculiar and
unsettling place indeed.
hits her stride, her prose sizzles. The rich descriptive
nature of her writing emerges in full strength, and it
- winner, Lambda Literary Award