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MISTERIOSO by Arne Dahl Kirkus Star


by Arne Dahl & translated by Tiina Nunnally

Pub Date: July 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-42535-6
Publisher: Pantheon

An elite team of misfit police officers band together to stop a serial killer.

Detective Inspector Paul Hjelm never intends to be a hero when he diffuses a hostage situation in his local precinct, but the media can’t help but latch on to the story. Hjelm thinks the situation ironic, given the fact that his wife Cilla and their children look at him as if they could see right through him. Hjelm is on the verge of being dismissed from his post for acting outside protocol when Detective Superintendent Jan-Olov Hultin taps him to join a special targeted group which Hultin, for lack of a better term, has called the A-Unit. As Hjelm is introduced to his new colleagues, he sees his own overworked, outsider perspective reflected in their tired faces. Hultin tasks the team with investigating a series of murders of local businessmen, seemingly unrelated but all bearing the mark of cool and calculated executions. Hjelm thinks he’s developed a promising lead by investigating the Order of the Mimir, a local group echoing the secrecy of the Freemasons, but his astute cohort brings in equally likely leads that implicate everyone from a young male-prostitution ring to the Russian Mafia. The investigation slowly devolves into a study not only of the facts of the case but of the characters of the investigators themselves; the darkness they face within the mystery has them all questioning their own reasons to be.

Thoughtfully haunting and sometimes beautifully written, the first of Hjelm’s cases to be translated into English is likely to resonate with readers of the Stieg Larsson trilogy.