A series of horrific crimes against Stockholm’s Jewish community has its roots in the Holy Land, which has never seemed less holy than it does here.
Has someone declared war on the Solomon Community? Efraim Kiel, sent from Israel to recruit a new security chief, offers the job to Peder Rydh, who was kicked off the Stockholm police after shooting his brother’s killer, if he can start immediately. But immediately isn’t nearly soon enough. While the body of Josephine, a preschool teacher gunned down by a sniper in front of her building as children and the parents picking them up looked on in horror, is still cooling, 10-year-old Simon Eisenberg and his friend Abraham Goldmann are kidnapped on their way to play tennis by an abductor who locks them in a freezing car overnight before taking them out and executing them early the next morning. Analyst Fredrika Bergman, rejoining Peder’s old boss DCI Alex Recht after a hiatus of two years (The Disappeared, 2014, etc.), hardly knows where to begin. The two crimes couldn’t be more different in their modus operandi, yet they’ve both targeted members of an extremely small community, and the same gun, it turns out, was used to kill all three victims. Even more disturbingly, Efraim Kiel, counterterrorist chief Eden Lundell, and the parents of the murdered boys all seem to know more than they’re willing to share with the police about the Paper Boy, an Israeli bogeyman from a previous generation who casts a disturbingly long shadow. Following the trail of violence and retribution from the Paper Boy to the present will take Fredrika to Israel and back and produce a tangled, gripping, memorable, and ultimately shattering tale.
Warning to the squeamish: things turn out much worse than you could have expected. In retrospect, it’s hard to see how it could have been otherwise.