Publisher: Random House/Transworld | Publication date: 31st December 2015 | Edition: Kindle (Netgalley)
I was utterly spellbound by the quality of this Nordic narrative, which was engrossing to the point of addiction. It’s one of those books you can really lose yourself in, snatching your attention from the first chapter and refusing to loosen its grip.
The main crux of the story concerns a devilishly unhinged child killer who is on the loose. A six year old girl is discovered in the woods, her body hanging from a tree as part of an intricately staged scene. With this, a signature of mayhem has already made itself known to the officer in charge, Holger Munch: if he has any chance of solving the case, he knows he must assemble the best team of investigators in the Country. But they have been separated following an ‘error of judgement’ on a previous case.
His ‘chosen one’ is Mia Kruger. After some coaxing to leave her isolated home, where she exists day to day with her own deadly agenda, Holger convinces her to re-join him. Mia is renowned for her instincts and she grasps the severity of this case immediately. Only her keen eyes see the number that is etched on the victim’s fingernail. That number was ‘one’ – this child is only the first.
As Holger and Mia make the sinister connections I could almost hear the mental cogs clicking into place, but are they being led merry dance called manipulation, as someone enjoys pulling their strings from the side lines (and everyone else’s too).
When a story is brimming with psychosis, from religious ‘fanatics’ who worship in the woods, others whose mental health is questionable, plus the entire population of Norway who decide to call the crime hotline as the parents have put up a reward for information, how could the exhausted team ever have a hope in hell of conquering the case? The crimes are abhorrent, but things start to get personal for the team and it seems the murderer is heading off on a tangent that no profiler could have guessed.
The clues are mulled over by Mia as she applies her unique, repetitive thought process. Snippets of these are offered to us on the page making it easy to follow along, as if you’re witnessing the revelations as they happen – now THAT was very cleverly done. Despite her quirky knack of solving oddest cases, the author has succeeded in making her human – her connection with her boss is priceless. In fact, the interaction within the entire team was extraordinary.
I must mention the bravery of Tobias, the lad who found one of the victims, as this was portrayed superbly and I loved the role his character played later in the story. The writer had a gift of making sure all characters are relevant, no matter how brief their initial involvement.
There’s a couple of unanswered questions, but nothing to spoil the stunning plot. In fact, I’d simply urge you to read this as soon as you can – in the words of the killer, ‘Tick-Tock’… Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
(My sincere thanks to the publisher @TransworldBooks for providing a copy of this stunning title via Netgalley.)
(Extract taken from Netgalley)
A six year old girl is found hanging from a tree. Around her neck is an airline tag which says ‘I’m travelling alone’.
A special homicide unit in Oslo is re-opened with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. He must convince his erstwhile partner, Mia Kruger, an extremely talented but eccentric investigator, to leave the solitary island to which she has retreated in order to take her own life.
When scrutinising the murder files, Mia spots the number One carved into the dead girl’s fingernail. She returns to duty to prevent more little girls falling victim to a terrifying, revenge-driven serial killer…