Overview

It’s a rainy evening in a Stockholm suburb and five-year-old Tilda is hiding under the kitchen table playing with her crayons when a man enters and beats her mother to death in cold blood. The only witness, Tilda can’t quite see the murderer or figure out who he is. But she’s still a witness.

Across town, Siri Bergman and her best friend, Aina, are assisting their old friend Vijay with a research project on domestic abuse. They host a weekly ...
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More Bitter Than Death: A Novel

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Overview

It’s a rainy evening in a Stockholm suburb and five-year-old Tilda is hiding under the kitchen table playing with her crayons when a man enters and beats her mother to death in cold blood. The only witness, Tilda can’t quite see the murderer or figure out who he is. But she’s still a witness.

Across town, Siri Bergman and her best friend, Aina, are assisting their old friend Vijay with a research project on domestic abuse. They host a weekly self-help group for survivors, and over the course of several dark, rainy evenings, these women share their stories of impossible love, violence, and humiliation. When the boyfriend of one of the women turns out to be a prime suspect in a high-profile murder case, it isn’t long before Siri finds herself embroiled in the investigation. But as she draws closer to finding the murderer, unexpected developments in her own life force her to wonder: Can she learn to trust a man again in spite of being surrounded by women who have been so deeply betrayed by love?
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One rainy day in a suburb of Stockholm, five-year-old Tilde is coloring under the kitchen table when a man breaks into her house and savagely kicks and beats her mother to death in front of her. Around that same time, psychologist Siri Bergman is persuaded to guide a self-help group for female victims of domestic abuse. Each tragic story told in the therapy group hits home for Siri, a victim of stalking (as depicted in the first book of the series, Some Kind of Peace). As the women begin to connect, their violent pasts further haunt them and continue to affect their lives in surprising ways. Siri also finds herself pregnant by her boyfriend and must make difficult decisions about their future together. The authors' sophomore effort is at its best when various plots, including seemingly random psychological reports about a disturbed little boy, converge to move toward an unexpected conclusion. VERDICT A bleak, violent murder mystery focused on domestic abuse, psychology, and relationships, this is often difficult to read, but at the same time its detailed psychological analyses are intriguing. For fans of the first book and die-hard Scandinavian crime -thriller aficionados.—Katie Lawrence, Chicago
Publishers Weekly
In Swedish sisters Grebe and Träff’s emotionally devastating second Siri Bergman novel (after 2012’s Some Kind of Peace), Bergman, a psychologist who works in Stockholm, decides to host a support group for abused woman. One of the participants, Kattis, describes her abusive relationship with Henrik, who soon leaves Kattis for another woman, Susanne Olsson. When Olsson is brutally murdered, Kattis suspects Henrik. Although Bergman has reservations, she begins to suspect Henrik, too—yet she’s forced to reappraise the situation when Malin, another woman from the group, admits she knew the victim and would have had reason enough to kill Olsson. As Bergman searches for the truth, she must also deal with her own emotional issues. An overemphasis on the struggles of the women in the support group tends to slow the pacing of this otherwise solid mystery. Agent: Anna Frankl and Joakim Hansson, the Nordin Agency (Sweden). (June)
From the Publisher
“Swedish authors excel at novels of dark suspense, and sisters Grebe and Träff (Some Kind of Peace, 2012) top off this fine psychological thriller with a final, chilling twist.”
Booklist
“Swedish authors excel at novels of dark suspense, and sisters Grebe and Träff (Some Kind of Peace, 2012) top off this fine psychological thriller with a final, chilling twist.”
Kirkus Reviews
A second round of homicide, troubled patients and scarcely less troubled personal relationships for Stockholm psychotherapist Siri Bergman. You wouldn't think the murder of a mother whose 5-year-old daughter is a most unhelpful witness would have anything to do with a therapy group for women who've been in abusive relationships, and, outside the pages of fiction, you'd probably be right. But Grebe and Träff linger for so long on the dynamics of the latest group Siri runs with her partner, Aina Davidsson, that it's only a matter of time before the crime is connected to one of the group members: Malin, who was raped on her first meeting with a new acquaintance; Sofie, who was beaten by her stepfather; Sirkka, who didn't realize how abusive her husband had been until he was dead; Kattis, whose ex, Henrik, claims that she's a pathological liar; and Hillevi, a pediatric oncologist who would have stayed with her violent husband if he hadn't started beating one of their children too. And, in fact, the murder of Susanne Olsson turns out to have ties to more than one member of the group--a fact that leads to a truly shocking development halfway through the story. Unfortunately, matters proceed along more routine lines thereafter. Siri's lover, Markus, isn't happy that she's shutting him out of her pregnancy. Siri finds herself getting maybe too close to one member of the group. The 5-year-old witness is kidnapped. Siri has to be rescued from a narrow brush with death. Siri is an interesting heroine, but this case, like her debut (Some Kind of Peace, 2012), lacks the core of cold logic that fuels the best of the recent flowering of Scandinavian thrillers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451654646
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 382,739
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Camilla Grebe is a graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics. She was a cofounder of Storyside, a Swedish audiobook publisher, where she was both CEO and publisher during the early 2000s. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.
Åsa Träff is a psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy. She runs a private practice with her husband. She lives in Älvsjö, Sweden.
 
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