A tour de force that lifts its author to the front rank among the increasingly crowded field of Nordic noir.

THE ICE BENEATH HER

Veteran co-author Grebe (More Bitter Than Death, with Åsa Träff, 2013, etc.) takes her first solo turn in this tale of three troubled souls linked by a horrific crime—and what a turn it is.

The discovery of a woman’s corpse in a Stockholm house is doubly eye-opening, partly because the place belongs to clothing tycoon Jesper Orre, famous for his wealth, hard-nosed bargaining tactics, and uncertain temper, and partly because the corpse’s severed head was “placed standing on the floor” to stare at newcomers. The crime is so outré that the closest parallel homicide detective Manfred Olsson can come up with is a cold case he and his partner, Peter Lindgren, worked 10 years ago, the beheading of temp worker Miguel Calderón. In the absence of other leads, Manfred persuades Peter, a train wreck of a man who’s particularly hard on women, to call once again on Hanne Lagerlind-Schön, the consulting psychologist who helped with that case. Manfred doesn’t know that Peter and Hanne have had a fraught history since then; neither detective knows that Hanne is now struggling with early-onset dementia. As if these aren’t complications enough, Grebe cuts repeatedly away from the investigation to focus on Emma Bohman, a salesperson at one of Jesper’s Clothes&More locations who’s swept off her feet by the boss—he meets her, takes her to bed, and proposes marriage—and is then carried along into a nightmare when Jesper improbably borrows an enormous sum of money from her and disappears from her life, only to return, evidently, while she’s out, steal a valuable painting, kill her cat, get her fired, and frame her for robbery. Each of these stories—Peter’s, Hanne’s, and Emma’s—is compelling enough to fuel an entire novel; Grebe’s skill in weaving them together is impressive.

A tour de force that lifts its author to the front rank among the increasingly crowded field of Nordic noir.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-425-28432-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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