The Disappeared by Kristina Ohlsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'd never heard of Ms. Ohlsson, but she's apparently one of the wave of great Scandinavian mystery writers currently crashing on our bookshelves. Because this is the third in this series, there were a few things at the start - backstory on the detectives - that I found a little confusing. We don't get a "previously..." section which was ok, mostly because the interrelationships and personal lives doesn't need to be front-and-center until later and by then you'll have sorted it all out.
As far as the mystery goes, this isn't one of those "only in Scandinavia" stories, or one filled with a huge sense of place. Instead it's more of a psychological story that could be set anywhere. Note: that's not a negative, just a comment for those expecting Arctic darkness or quaint Scandinavian villages or whatever it is that defines this genre. Instead we get a few past events that truly come back to haunt the present, set in motion by a young woman working on her thesis. This thesis starts out being about a children's book author who was accused of writing two horrifically pornographic/S&M books that verge on the "snuff" genre and then convicted of murdering her ex-husband (really merely the father of her son, but nevermind) and possibly murdering her son. For over 30 years she hasn't spoken, yet somehow Rebecca Trolle stumbles on to something...
It was definitely a good thing that I read this on the day we turned the clocks back an hour because I just couldn't sleep until I'd finished! There were a few moments I thought, "no, really?" but only a few, and guessing one of the big twists earlier than the reveal didn't spoil anything for me. My only quibbles were with the interruption of the plot by transcripts of an interrogation of two of the detectives after then fact: the interruptions seem to be leading to Book Four in the series, and a couple of times there's the comment "witness looks blank" or some such, phrasing that makes no sense if this is a transcript of an audiotape.
ARC provided by publisher.