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THE BEAST by Anders Roslund


by Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström & translated by Anna Paterson

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-349-11849-3
Publisher: Abacus/Trafalgar

The escape of a convicted pedophile and child-killer sends shock waves through the quiet community he terrorized.

In a small town not far from Stockholm, an unnamed predator, flush with desire, lures a pair of young girls to an abandoned building, where he imprisons, assaults and kills them. After a landlady discovers their mutilated bodies, Bernt Lund, a young man with obvious mental problems, is arrested, charged and convicted. Now the spotlight shifts to Ewert Grens, the veteran police detective who arrested Lund; Fredrik, the shattered father of one of the murdered girls; warden Lennart Oscarsson, who’s having a torrid affair with one of his coworkers, Nils, unbeknownst to his wife, Karin; and the section of the prison reserved for violent criminals. While transporting Lund in shackles, disgruntled guard Åke Andersson loses his cool and beats up the prisoner. His easygoing coworker Ulrik Berntfors turns a blind eye, allowing Lund to escape and ramping up the anxiety among both closely concerned individuals and the community at large. When more victims follow, Fredrik turns vigilante to put an end to the crimes and to his deepening personal torment. He becomes a local hero, causing even more problems for local officials.

A grim and compelling noir debut, written with cool precision and menacing immediacy. Any lack of familiarity with Swedish culture should double the suspense for American readers.