Assistant Detective Louise Rick’s second case, and the first to be published in the U.S., pits her and the Copenhagen Police Department against a particularly nasty serial rapist.
Susanne Hansson leads a sheltered life that would be even more sheltered if her insinuating, domineering mother had anything to say about it. It’s only natural for her to look for love online, and when she brings home a man for an after-dinner drink, she has every reason to expect that he’ll continue to act like a gentleman. Instead she gets bound, gagged, beaten and raped by her date, who turns out to have given her a false name and address before vanishing into cyberspace. Swinging into action, Louise and lead investigator Henny Heilmann have greater success linking Susanne’s assailant to at least one earlier rape—the two-year-old case of Karin Hvenegaard, a day-care teacher who still hasn’t recovered from her attack—than rehabilitating the victim, who swallows a bottle of Tylenol in an attempt to escape not so much her traumatic memories as her relentlessly smothering mother. The investigators are even less successful with the next victim, realtor Christina Lerche, who’s found dead on her bedroom floor. Stung by her suspicion of the new man her best friend, journalist Camilla Lind, has found online, and the defection of her live-in lover Peter to his pregnant co-worker, Louise creates a profile on the sinister site nightwatch.dk in hope of staking herself out as a Judas goat for the rapist.
Middling detection, salty but occasionally clumsy English prose (no translator is credited). What makes this latest Scandinavian import special is Baedel’s success in evoking her women’s nagging fears about unfamiliar men, unfaithful lovers and bullying mothers.