A moody loner heads to Helsinki and beyond, while murder and general creepiness follow.
Photographer Cass Neary likes to live under the radar. Despite some early fame, she’d rather keep to her New York grunge corner, with periodic forays out to meet up with her longtime dealer (of drugs, not art). When Anton Bredahl, a collector of obscure art, contacts Cass to have her verify the authenticity of some prints, the job takes her all the way to Helsinki, where she meets with middleman and photographer Ilkka Kaltunnen to confirm that his product is the real deal. Ilkka doesn’t just have a set of prints to check, but a whole room full of mysterious and beautiful photos. These aren’t your standard point-and-shoots; they’re morbid and macabre scenes of death, almost like stills from a snuff film. Cass can appreciate them, but she starts to grow suspicious of why Anton might want to spend so much on these pictures. Instead of getting involved in what is clearly someone else’s problem, Cass hightails it to Reykjavik to locate her old love Quinn. Somehow, finding him enfolds her further in the creepy world she thought she left behind in Helsinki.
Yet another author tries to capitalize on Stieg Larsson’s Scandinavian success. But this entry from Hand (Illyria, 2010, etc.) reads more like a grotesque fairy tale gone wrong.