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Inspector Erik Winter (Death Angels, 2009. etc.) tackles the murder of a woman who was scarcely more substantial in life than death.
As fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell know, Sweden is crawling with violent criminals. The summer of 1997, as "we're headed toward the end of the century, and the end of the world as we know it," is marked in Gothenburg by a feud between rival drug gangs and a bus hijacking that explodes in a hail of gunfire. But the biggest case for Winter and his homicide squad is the quietest. The body of a woman has been discovered at the edge of Delsjö Lake. There's no indication of who she is, where she came from or what she was doing before someone strangled her. The only clue is the indication that she was once pregnant. As Winter and his colleagues begin their patient, months-long investigation, readers already know more. They know that the woman was killed in the commission of a crime; they know that she was survived by her young daughter, who's been carried off; and they know that one of her neighbors has finally noticed her absence and begun to make a fuss. Even after he succeeds in putting a name to the body, Winter, wrestling with the demands of his longtime lover Angela for greater commitment, feels that his work is just beginning. If only he knew.
An expert melding of sociological observation and psychological acuity. The criminals, introduced late in the story, are especially gripping.
Posted March 22, 2012
Great opening, just like Death Angels, where we experience from the viewpoint of the character and not an omniscient narrator. It creates the groundwork for the mystery, and adds to the confusion and suspense. And, even in that establishing scene, things are not what they seem, and, with identity swapping, timeline-jumping, I was kept wondering until the end. It’s great that the mystery was built up in the writing structure itself.
Winter is a changed man, after the last case. And has trouble getting re-adjusted, but he's reconnecting with family, and on the verge of an important personal decision. Edwardson is able to make these personal details follow and inform the emotional and plot arcs, instead of detracting from them. For those who don't like much in the way of the personal lives of the detective, you won't feel bogged down at all.
Also repeating from the first book (I read them in the order they were written, not published in English) is a sense of wistfulness, tragedy, and sadness that reflects the compartmentalization and struggles when cops are faced daily with the dark side of it all. Recommended as much as the first, DEATH ANGELS
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Posted November 21, 2011
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