Stockholm may not be Marseille, but Larson and Edenborg’s contributors show that even a verdant place with socialized...

STOCKHOLM NOIR

Larson and Edenborg manage to unearth a dark side to a city that “is verdant, clean, and surrounded by crystalline water.”

Since Sweden’s crime rate is so low, many of these 13 new stories revolve around social issues. Affordable housing is surprisingly high on the list. In Johan Theorin’s “Still in Kallhäll,” Inger Frimansson’s “Black Ice,” and Carl Johan De Geer’s “The Wahlberg Disease,” the lust for desirable homes becomes a driving force to crime. Sweden’s version of the war on drugs powers Anna-Karin Selberg’s “Horse.” And co-editor Larson’s “10/09/03” offers a Swedish take on good old-fashioned xenophobia. Martin Holmén’s “The Smugglers” features more conventional law breaking, and there’s plenty of room for tales of love gone wrong, like Åke Edwardson’s “Stairway from Heaven,” Malte Persson’s “The Splendors and Miseries of a Swedish Crime Writer,” and Unni Drougge’s “Death Star.” But “gone wrong” doesn’t come close to describing the romantic calamities of Lina Wolff’s “Northbound” and Torbjörn Elensky’s “Kim.” Co-editor Edenborg shows a police officer sliding off the rails in “Nineteen Pieces.” And Inger Edelfeldt’s “From the Remains” is a testament to what Larson and Edenborg call Swedes’ love of “scaring themselves.”

Stockholm may not be Marseille, but Larson and Edenborg’s contributors show that even a verdant place with socialized medicine can have its seamy side.

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61775-297-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on...

MYSTIC RIVER

After five adventures for Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and his off-again lover Angela Gennaro (Prayers for Rain, 1999, etc.), Lehane tries his hand at a crossover novel that’s as dark as any of Patrick’s cases.

Even the 1975 prologue is bleak. Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus are playing, or fighting, outside Sean’s parents’ house in the Point neighborhood of East Buckingham when a car pulls up, one of the two men inside flashes a badge, and Sean and Jimmy’s friend Dave Boyle gets bundled inside, allegedly to be driven home to his mother for a scolding but actually to get kidnapped. Though Dave escapes after a few days, he never really outlives his ordeal, and 25 years later it’s Jimmy’s turn to join him in hell when his daughter Katie is shot and beaten to death in the wilds of Pen Park, and State Trooper Sean, just returned from suspension, gets assigned to the case. Sean knows that both Dave and Jimmy have been in more than their share of trouble in the past. And he’s got an especially close eye on Jimmy, whose marriage brought him close to the aptly named Savage family and who’s done hard time for robbery. It would be just like Jimmy, Sean knows, to ignore his friend’s official efforts and go after the killer himself. But Sean would be a lot more worried if he knew what Dave’s wife Celeste knows: that hours after catching sight of Katie in the last bar she visited on the night of her death, Dave staggered home covered with somebody else’s blood. Burrowing deep into his three sorry heroes and the hundred ties that bind them unbearably close, Lehane weaves such a spellbinding tale that it’s easy to overlook the ramshackle mystery behind it all.

An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on his characters’ heads.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16316-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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