Intruder
The isolated island of Sweden’s Faro is the setting for Hakan Oslundh’s crime novel, The Intruder.
Auntie M finds the Scandinavian writers have different conventions to their crime novels, a more leisurely developed pace that allows for the characters lives to be examined before the hunt for a perpetrator sets in. There’s a large sense of setting, too, which looms over the action and in this case, helps to narrow down the suspects when a truly horrific crime sets in.

But long before we get to the terrible act to come, there are small incidents occurring to this family with two small children. Malin Andersson is a food blogger; her husband Henrik Kjellander is a professional photographer who travels extensively on photo shoots with glamorous models, those print ads paying the bills and helping the couple renovate the house and outbuildings they’ve purchased on Faro. Their plan is to have an artists colony there, a place where other photographers will gather to recharge their batteries, refreshed by the stark landscape and Malin’s food.

The family returns to their home after a four week vacation that has allowed them to rent the house out for decent prices. But immediately upon their return, Malin is frustrated not just by the uncleanliness the last tenant left, but by missing times from the home. There are pieces of glass on the floor, too, found only when Malin steps on one and cuts her foot just as their daughter calls them to her room: someone has defecated in her toy basket.

And then Malin notices that family photos are missing, and when she finds one shoved amongst their linens she calls the police in fear, for the photograph has been damage in that all of their eyes have been poked out.

Gotland detective Fredrik Broman is sent to interview the couple. Just returning after a lengthy medical leave from fall that almost killed him, he’s finding his footing again at work and at home, concerned he doesn’t have what it takes to work at policing again. These incidents on Faro could be a joke, but Broman takes them as a warning. Then the couple’s daughter disappears at lunch from her school, and the action ratchets up.

Henrik has returned to the island under unusual circumstances. Estranged from his mother’s second family, a lawsuit between the two arms of the family seems the obvious place to look for suspects. When the incidents turn deadly, Broman and his team will find themselves rapidly trying to save this family as they exhaust all possible suspects, hampered by the remoteness of the setting.

The language is lovely; there is a depth of characterization of all of the participants Auntie M enjoys that makes the heartbreak later on particularly poignant. This mystery is rich with the psychology of the participants, filled with secrets of the past, and vastly enjoyable.

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