A Swedish summer is no kinder than winter to Malin Fors, her colleagues in the Linköping police department or the young girls who’ve become the targets of a murderous stalker.
Josefin Davidsson, 15, is found wandering naked and bleeding in the Horticultural Society Park. Though she’s evidently been sexually assaulted with a foreign object, she can’t remember anything about how she was taken or by whom or what happened. Since every police officer who can escape the record-breaking heat has taken a holiday, the case falls to Malin and her partner, Zeke Martinsson. Only a day later, Theresa Eckeved is reported missing, and both her boyfriend, Peter Sköld, and her friend Nathalie Falck stonewall the police. So do Ali Shakbari and Behzad Karami, who were acquitted of gang rape recently. When the only developments in the case come when a new victim is discovered or when the police are accused of harassing first immigrants, then lesbians, Malin and Zeke wonder whom to interview next, and Malin can only cry in exasperation, “Which one do you think would have air-conditioning at home?” Gradually, more revealing cutaways to the stalker’s point of view reveal a troubled soul with a long history of abuse determined to rescue young girls by turning them into “summer angels.” Malin longs for the safe return of her 14-year-old daughter, Tove, away on vacation with Malin’s ex, Janne, little knowing what every reader will suspect: that Tove will become the inevitably climactic victim of the stalker’s solicitous attention.
Like Malin’s debut (Midwinter Blood, 2012), this second of four seasonal procedurals is evocative, atmospheric, ingenious and overlong.