Star rating – 8/10
Another review, another Swedish crime theme......This one is the first novel from Camilla Ceder, and although the book cover brag of ‘Move over Wallander...’ is a little wide of the mark, it is a very gripping, and well crafted story.
The clichéd lead male detective is there with all his personal hang-ups and failed relationships – this time in the shape of Inspector Christian Tell, who leads a team stationed in Gothenburg. But this story is unusually told from two different perspectives, Tell’s and that of a female would be journalist Seja, who stumbles into the first crime scene, and as a witness, starts up an inappropriate relationship with Tell. This double window on events as they unfold is cleverly employed by Ceder to make sure both sides of the story are told.
The crime that Tell is charged with investigating is that of a man murdered out in a remote rural spot – shot then run over by a car to break up his body. As he is piecing together the possible suspects and motives, another body is found in almost identical circumstances with seemingly no connection whatsoever to the first. At the same time as this real time investigation, Ceder uses the motif of a storyline with more historical events. The two plot lines inevitably intertwine in a thrilling way to give a very satisfying and page turning read.
As well as Tell, she uses great characterisation for some of his colleagues too, especially of the women in the force. Tell’s relationship with his boss is nicely done, and she is shown as a human being despite his trepidation around her. His colleague Karin Beckman is an especially interesting creation – a strong female police officer grappling with the difficulties of balancing the demanding hours of the job with a young family. She is not afraid of telling it like it is and standing up to her boss when she fears his grip on the case is slipping.
The translation from Swedish is good, and apparently Ceder plans to write more about Inspector Tell - I certainly hope she does as this first instalment is a cracking start.