Hakan Nesser: Hour of the Wolf Tuesday, Nov 8 2016 

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.

Stefan Ahnhem: Victim Without A Face Sunday, Nov 6 2016 


Swedish screenwriter Arnhem’d debut crime fiction, Victim Without a Face, is the ultimate revenge novel, filled with taut tension the escalates as the action rises.

Detective Fabian Risk and his wife are trying to jumpstart their crumbling marriage. Determined to begin over, he moves the family with their two children from Stockholm and the mess he leaves behind there to his home town area of Helsingborg. The very day they arrive at their new empty house, before the moving van even arrives, he receives a visit from his new boss, Astrid Tuvesson.

She’s interrupted his vacation to settle in because a photo has been found on a murder victim’s body, and Fabian is in it.

The high school photo of his class becomes a key piece of evidence when members of the class start showing up as murder victims. Making it even more difficult is that the method used to kill them differs in each person, a major clue in itself.

When a key piece of evidence is found in Denmark, the Danes obstruct the Swedes ability to examine it, starting a battle which will bring Fabian to Denmark with long-range fallout.

And just when he’s certain he’s figured out who the murderer is, things swiftly change and he’s forced to reconsider, bringing himself and his family into the crosshairs.

An accomplished and visual debut, with a protagonist readers will want to follow.