Children stolen and dressed like dolls before they’re murdered bring suicidal detective Mia Kruger out of hiding and back to police work in Bjørk’s complicated, yet compelling, tale.
Mia, excoriated by the media when she killed her dead sister’s drug dealer, is biding her time, counting the days until she can kill herself. But her old police boss, Holger Munch, has different ideas. He needs Mia—a genius at reading crime scenes—to help him solve the kidnapping and murder of a 6-year-old girl. The girl, wearing a backpack and a sign around her neck that says, “I am traveling alone,” was found hanging in a tree. Now, Munch fears, the murders of other children will follow. Lured back into service just 12 days from the date she had been planning to die, Mia starts finding things in the crime scene photos that others failed to see. Meanwhile, Munch is balancing his relationships with his daughter, granddaughter, and elderly mother. As Munch and Mia cobble together their old team and add a few new faces to the unit, two young brothers find another dead girl in the woods. Like the first victim, she is only 6 and wearing a backpack and the same sign. Before long, the killer strikes yet again, and soon it will become very personal for the two police detectives. Bjørk has constructed a labyrinthine plot with plenty of red herrings and rabbit holes, but even with a cast of many, he manages to do justice to the story. Munch and Mia, who are very good at their jobs, are also interesting and vulnerable—especially Mia, who is clearly disturbed and shows it. Other than stuffing the book with an overabundance of characters who play little to no role in the case, Bjørk provides good solid reading.
Bjørk constructs a plot like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces, and somehow it all works.