Acclaimed Swedish author Camilla Grebe makes her solo American debut with a psychological thriller as cunning in its twists as it is captivating in its storytelling - for fans of the celebrated crime fiction of Camilla Läckberg, Jo Nesbø, Ruth Ware, and Fiona Barton.
Winter's chill has descended on Stockholm as police arrive at the scene of a shocking murder. An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home - a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing 10 years earlier. But this time there's a suspect: the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.
To homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson, nothing about the suave, high-profile businessman - including a playboy reputation and rumors of financial misdeeds - suggests he conceals the dark heart and twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer. In search of a motive, Lindgren and Olsson turn to the brilliant criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön. Once a valued police asset, now marooned in unhappy retirement and a crumbling marriage, she's eager to exercise her keen skills again - and offer the detectives a window into the secret soul of Jesper Orre.
But they're not the only ones searching. Two months before, Emma Bohman, a young clerk at Orre's company, chanced to meet the charming chief executive, and romance swiftly bloomed. Almost as quickly as the passionate affair ignited, it was over when Orre inexplicably disappeared. One staggering misfortune after another followed, leaving Emma certain that her runaway lover was to blame and transforming her confusion and heartbreak into anger.
Now, pursuing the same mysterious man for different reasons, Emma and the police are destined to cross paths in a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.
©2016 Camilla Grebe and Elizabeth Clark Wessel (P)2016 Random House Audio
"Exceptional." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fans of Scandinavian crime fiction, and crime fiction generally, will enjoy the understated, angsty drama created by Grebe; librarians desperate for Girl on the Train read-alikes can also turn to this for readers who enjoy an anti-heroine." (Booklist)
"Impressive...a tour de force that lifts its author to the front rank among the increasingly crowded field of Nordic noir." (Kirkus Reviews)
...but the book threw me a life raft about 3/4 of the way through, so somewhat time well spent. The book earned three stars because it ultimately turned out to be a pretty good mystery. However, the story plodded along for quite a while.
There are three main characters: Peter the detective, Hannah the "profiler" and Emma, the scorned lover. I thought the detective was a jerk, full stop. The profiler- well, she doesn't have much of a role in the criminal investigation at all, but her sad personal life is a focus. Emma's character grew on me as we learned more (in excruciating detail) about her background. The police detectives left me wondering where their heads were the whole time, as some basic investigative techniques were left out. Hannah was the only smart one, and the author would have been well advised to un-stereotype her and make her an effective character. The only character I really enjoyed was Olga, Emma's coworker in a retail clothing store. She had some backbone. The other female characters really weren't written well.
Here are some quotes so you can get a feeling for the writing:
"You should be suspicious of strange men who come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, and even more suspicious if they're not strangers."
"You could kill yourself, or you could have a beer."
"Love and beauty are transient; the shit is eternal."
There are many "striking revelations" and "deep thoughts" like this in the meandering minds of the main characters, and believe me you will hear them all if you make it through this book.
Not too highly recommended, but also not a complete waste of a credit.
Such a slow, quiet book. I was caught up in it and wondering just where the mystery might be - when - wham, the author suddenly launched it. I am a fan of the Scandinavian mysteries. This book is just fine!
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