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Posts Tagged ‘Scandi-noir’

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The first thing anyone who is considering reading this book needs to know is that it’s very long. The second thing is that it is very disturbing and takes the reader to some very dark places, covering subjects such as paedophilia, mutilation, and violence against women and children.

The story begins with young boys in Sweden being found mutilated and mummified. Detective Chief Inspector Jeanette Kihlberg is put in charge of the case and this leads her to seek out psychologist Sofia Zetterlund, in an attempt to find out who might be committing such crimes. It is impossible to say more without giving away some huge spoilers, so I will leave the premise there.

As for my own thoughts on the book, they are somewhat mixed. It started off extremely well (a note about the translation by Neil Smith – this was excellent; I often find translations clunky and off-putting, but this one was certainly very well done). The first couple of hundred of pages were gripping and kept me reading with great interest. However, after about a third of the way in, it started to get too long and too convoluted. The storyline jumps forward and backward, and there is a seemingly endless stream of characters, at least one of whom is a very unreliable narrator. It was sometimes hard to keep who was who clear in my mind and the only character I really felt on firm footing with was Jeanette herself, and her colleague Jens Hurtig. Jens was actually my favourite character throughout the whole story and the only one to whom I felt any sympathy.

Towards the end of the book I found myself just wanting to get finished with it. The dark subject matter was dragging me down and the over complicated plot line was tiresome. I think there was a lot that was really well done about this book, but some editing to rein it in would have been beneficial.

Other reviews have been mixed, so if Scandi-noir is your thing, you might enjoy it. However, for me personally, I think I’ll give this genre a  miss from now on.

 

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