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SOMEONE IS WATCHING SIRI BERGMAN.
A thirty-four-year-old psychologist with a troubled past, Siri Bergman works in central Stockholm and lives alone in an isolated cottage outside the city. Terrified of the dark, she leaves all the lights on when she goes to bed?after having a few glasses of wine to calm her nerves?but she can?t shake the feeling that someone is spying on her through the blackened windows.
When the lifeless body of Sara ...
SOMEONE IS WATCHING SIRI BERGMAN.
A thirty-four-year-old psychologist with a troubled past, Siri Bergman works in central Stockholm and lives alone in an isolated cottage outside the city. Terrified of the dark, she leaves all the lights on when she goes to bed—after having a few glasses of wine to calm her nerves—but she can’t shake the feeling that someone is spying on her through the blackened windows.
When the lifeless body of Sara Matteus—a young patient of Siri’s with a history of drug addiction and sexual abuse—is found floating in the water near the cottage, Siri can no longer deny that someone is out there, watching her and waiting. With the help of Markus, the young policeman investigating Sara’s death; Vijay, an old friend and psychology professor; and Aina, her best friend, Siri sets out to catch the murderer and finally put her past to rest. But as their investigation unfolds, virtually everyone Siri trusts will become a potential suspect.
"Tense and chilling, this is a thriller for readers who also enjoyed Camilla Lackberg’s The Ice Princess."
"Sisters Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff dig deep into the cold climes of the human heart in this sharp, atmospheric thriller. First rate writing and unusually absorbing characters. Loved this book.”
"Some Kind of Peace is a fast-moving psychological thriller whose plot unfolds from the authors' expert and sensitive consideration of character. Dr. Siri Bergman, haunted by her own loss, finds herself in the midst of danger, the threat coming from a number of possible suspects. Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff spin a tantalizing story of menace and longing in this provocative and richly rendered novel."
“Grebe and Träff break new ground in the Scandinavian crime literature genre, and they do it brilliantly. Using unique insights and experiences from their own professional backgrounds, they tell a smooth-paced yet utterly intriguing story about man’s inability to let go of the past.”
Some Kind of Peace
An insidiously calm, dew-damp morning. The rays of the sun slowly but relentlessly take possession of the art nouveau building’s clean plaster façade, triumphantly embracing it with their indifferent heat and giving it a sheen the night had hidden.
As if nothing had happened.
As if this summer morning heralded a day like any other. A day full of life: sweaty bodies on bicycles; suppressed giggles in front of the ice cream stand by the harbor; steaming, sunburned shoulders; clumsy summer sex as light-blue twilight seamlessly turns to daybreak; the nauseating smell of white wine and lemonade in the pine needle–carpeted edge of the forest north of the pizzeria; the cold water of the lake against skinny child bodies with ribs that seem ready to burst out of their cages, through the soft, paper-thin, milk-white skin.
Gawky teenage boys swim races to the island and back, outlined like pale frog people, amphibious sailing vessels, against the water’s saturated blue-brown darkness. They howl as they jump off the rock. The air is filled with the aroma of grilled meat and the sound of distant motorboats.
Mosquitoes. Wasps. Insects with no name: in your hair, in your mouth, on bodies, itchy, sweaty bodies.
As Swedish as it gets.
A summer without end.
As if nothing had happened.
• • •
Even the building appears indifferent. Heavy and listless, it sits in the lush garden, bedded in leafy, dew-covered greenery. Its massive three-story-high body reaches toward the blue of the brightening summer sky. The plaster has not flaked in a single spot. The gray-green paint that covers the windowsills and doors is fresh and still glossy. There are no cracks or dust in the leaded, stained windowpanes with their coiling organic flower patterns. The roof is covered with old emerald-green copper plate, the kind roofers no longer use.
It seems so idyllic.
But something is out of place.
In the neatly raked gravel parking area is a dazzlingly clean black Jeep. The paint of the Jeep reflects a clematis with large pure white blossoms climbing up a knotted old apple tree. Someone is lying under the low trunk and crooked branches of the tree.
A young woman, a girl.
She is curled up in the grass like a bird, her red hair covered by a thin film of dew. Her slender, pale arms are thrown out along her sides, her palms turned upward in a gesture of resignation. The blood that has seeped from her body is congealed in reddish-brown patches on her jeans and in the grass. Her open eyes seem to be inspecting the crown of the apple tree.
Up there, in the branches, there are small green apples. There are many: The tree will bear plenty of fruit in just a few months. Above the apple tree the swifts and gulls fly unaffected—what do they care about a dead human child?
Under the body, the smallest inhabitants of the garden have already discovered what no person has yet seen. A small black beetle creeps between the waistband and the cold, pale skin in search of something edible; flies have set up camp in the lush red forest of hair; and microscopic creatures are moving slowly but steadily deeper and deeper into the windings of the ear.
In a little while, the inhabitants of the house will wake up and look for the girl. When they don’t find her, they will search for her in the garden, where they will see her in the grass under the tree, her eyes gazing toward the sky.
They will shake her as if trying to wake her from a deep sleep, and when that doesn’t work, one of them will slap her hard across the cheek, staining her face red with her own uncoagulated blood on his hand.
They will take her in their arms and slowly rock her back and forth. One of them will whisper something in her ear, while the other one buries his face in her hair.
• • •
Later, the men who never knew her, who don’t even know her name, will come to get her. They will put their calloused hands around her slender, rigid wrists and ankles and lift her effortlessly onto a cold stretcher, cover her with plastic, and drive her far, far from home.
She will be placed on a metal table, alongside the surgical instruments that will open her up and—hopefully—solve the mystery, explain the unexplainable, restore balance. Bring clarity to something no one understands.
Create closure and perhaps peace as well.
Some kind of peace.
Posted December 6, 2013
This novel can’t make up its mind whether it is a mystery/thriller or a clinical psychology textbook. One of the authors is a psychologist specializing in behavioral therapy, as is the book’s protagonist, Siri Bergman, who treats patients for various mental problems, but seems in need of help herself. She recently lost her husband in a diving accident, but still lives in their isolated house, talking to him and feeling his touch, afraid of the dark, keeping all the lights in the house on through the night (among other problems she has).
One of her patients, a young woman named Sara, is found murdered on Siri’s property. Siri also has the feeling that someone is watching her, often looking at her through the window (of course with the lights on it’s easy). Then she receives a photo of herself in the mail, with a note confirming she is being watched. The receptionist of the office Siri shares with two colleagues is the victim of a hit-and-run, just as she was going to tell Siri something. Despite all these coincidences, the police make no progress in solving the case.
Naturally, Siri looks to her various patients for a possible perpetrator when it becomes obvious she is being targeted. The problem is that half the book is filled with clinical notes on a variety of patients having nothing to do with the main plot, except for one patient. And to the novel’s detriment, the conclusion comes out of left field. Some judicious editing and tightening could have improved the novel from just a run-of-the-mill effort to a much better read. Apparently this first effort has a sequel. Let’s hope it includes those characteristics.
Posted June 26, 2013
if you are a true scandinavian crime fiction reader, you will find this book to be overly wordy and not engaging at all.
it takes way too long to develop and the main character's actions are both unbelievable and irritating. the authors did not
do a good job of creating suspense, developing the plot, or making you care about this woman. i say check it out from the library.