Fans of the Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery series might have wondered what author Hakan Nesser had up his sleeve when the Chief Inspector took retirement.

That question is answered in Hour of the Wolf, a mystery where the reader is quite aware Whodunit but the question becomes: can the police find him?

It’s a rainy night when a young man is hit by a car, killed instantly, and the drunk driver slowly deludes himself that there’s nothing to be gained by turning himself in to the police.

It’s a moral question that has far-reaching implications as the police investigate with few leads. The man thinks he has made his peace with his decision when the case drops off the police radar and the news. A few weeks later he even starts a new love affair.

Then he receives the first blackmail letter. He was seen.

The unraveling of the payment turns into a second, far more devastating murder that involves the former Chief Inspector. With his replacement, Reinhart, now running the case, Van Veeteren is forced to take a back seat but is unable to keep himself from investigating on his own, with good reason.

It is difficult to explain more of this many-leveled plot without giving it away. This is nordic noir at its best: with the complex portrait of the inner thoughts of the killer as his mind continues to deteriorate; with the numbed feelings of those affected by the killings and how they must work through their grief to feel again; with the threads of an investigation that appears to be going nowhere until suddenly the pieces fall together.

Fans of Karin Fossum’s Inspector Sejer series will want to track down this title for that same kind of introspective police procedural. It should be noted that this was first published in Swedish in 1999 and has taken this long to be translated for US readers. Don’t wait any longer to read this intelligent and brooding novel that will have you reaching for the others in the series.