As a summary of the book, the copy on the back cover of my edition does very well:
One of the most prominent citizens of Göteborg, Sweden, plunges to his death off an apartment balcony, but what appears to be a “Society Suicide” soon reveals itself to be a carefully plotted murder. Irene Huss finds herself embroiled in a complex and high-stakes investigation. As Huss and her team begin to uncover the victim’s hidden past, they are dragged into Sweden’s seamy underworld of street gangs, struggling immigrants and neo-Nazis in order to catch the killer.The good news is that I really enjoyed this book. The bad news is that I want to continue the series which will just add to my real or virtual TBR stacks.
Detective Inspector Irene Huss is a strong female character, and I like that. In addition to highlighting sociological issues in Sweden, the book addresses women's roles in male dominated jobs like law enforcement. The supervisor of the group (Detective Superintendent Sven Andersson) is older, not in great health, and doesn't deal well at all with the obvious sexual harassment going on. He doesn't want to face the unpleasant task of confronting the offender. The harrassment does not directly affect Huss, although she is very sensitive to comments on women and age.
The author has the gift of portraying the characters ... at least the detectives ... as real people with real lives. The details of Huss' day to day life feel authentic but not boring. One of the minor subplots deals with the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden. I found this somewhat shocking, but similar issues were addressed in The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (set in Norway), so it wasn't that surprising.
We also can feel Irene's dedication to the job.
But she remembered how it had been the first few years. The excitement, the aroused hunting instincts, and the feeling of triumph when the case was solved. Of course she still had these feelings, but noticeably attenuated. Far too many cases had not left behind the sweetness of victory, but rather a bitter aftertaste. You become jaded and cynical in this profession, she thought in her darker moments. But she didn't want to become either jaded or cynical! You had to go on, keep moving forward. You couldn't stop and dig yourself a hole. The job she had chosen was not without its dangers, but she had never wanted to do anything else and had always enjoyed her work. The past few years she had begun to notice an insidious feeling that hadn't existed before. Only recently had she been able to identify it. Terror. Terror of people's indifference to the human values of others and terror of the ever-increasing violence.The book is somewhat long (but under 400 pages) and deals with a very complicated series of crimes; regardless, it kept me interested the whole time I was reading it.
An article at January Magazine.
At The World of Books.
At Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...
At Reactions to Reading. This one has links to even more reviews.
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