The American debut of Sweden’s Detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter, who’s about to turn 40, become a father and scour Gothenburg for a double murderer.
Returning from his father’s funeral in Marbella, Spain, DCI Winter lands an appalling case. The victims, Christian and Louise Valker, were found in their apartment weeks after someone had severed and transposed their heads and left a cryptic, bloody message on the wall. Complicating the investigation are security concerns for the forthcoming millenium celebration and the wanderings of 40 extras garbed as policemen for a film-in-progress. The lies that two couples who were sexually adventurous with the Valkers tell about their relationship result in more murder. Slogging police work jogs a few memories but also presents a plethora of leads that severely tax the officers, especially Winter, who’s still dealing with his father’s death and his deepening commitment to the pregnant Angela; Simon Morelius, who’s traumatized by his work and about to quit; Greger Bartram, who hacks into department files to cover himself with glory; and Lars Bergenhem, who’s incapacitated by crippling migraines. When Angela is abducted by the killer, the force goes into overdrive to wrap up the case before she becomes another statistic.
Edwardson, winner of three Crime Writers’ Awards from the Swedish Academy, has penned a solid procedural neatly balancing the professional and personal lives of Winter and Co.