Author: Kristina Ohlsson
Review: How quickly do we think we have someone all figured out? How does this deduction affect our behavior? What are we missing from life based on these quick assessments? Unwanted features young children kidnapped from their parents only later to turn up dead in meaningful places with the word unwanted written on their foreheads. A competent detective team consisting of grizzled veteran, the bull in a china shop overachiever, and the contemplative thinker begin digging into the sparse clues to uncover the villain.
They are sidetracked by their own prejudices and exploring the notion that if you look at anyone closely enough you will find something. They take many wrong turns in the investigation, even solving crimes they didn’t even know existed. Of course as they tear apart their crime, their own lives become exposed to us the listener. Suffering through adultery and betrayal, their skeletons are as incriminating as they people they are set to investigate. The juxtaposition of the hero lying to his wife to cheat, while one of the villain’s stands up for her son at all cost turns our preconceived notions upside down.
This book makes you realize the flaw of judging others too quickly. Like I said, if you look closely enough you will find fault with everyone, even those same faults we forgive in ourselves. We need to look beyond this because the next thing you know we are rejecting people for minor indiscretions and missing the truly evil we encounter. This is the brilliance of good crime fiction. It acts like a mirror reflecting back the depth of our own souls, our character.
Read this book for a great example of Swedish mystery, a police procedural that delivers. But also read it to understand this mystery called humanity a little better; it just might make you a better person.
Thanks to T Stevens for this review.
Copyright: 2009 (translated 2012)
Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: My favorite genre, and a new author I was not familiar with.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: International crime’s newest publishing star Kristina Ohlsson makes her American debut with Unwanted, the first installment of the Frederika Bergman crime series and winner of Sweden’s prestigious Gold Pocket Book Award.Winner of the 2010 Stabilo Prize for Best Crime Writer of Southern Sweden, Ohlsson creates a suspenseful and gripping tale of murder in the first installment of her enormously successful crime series.
In the middle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train. Despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one noticed when the girl was taken, and, in what seems to be merely a coincidence, her mother has been left behind at the previous station. Inspector Frederika Bergman and her team of federal investigators are called in and assigned to what at first seems to be a classic custody dispute.
But when the child is found dead in the far north of Sweden with the word “unwanted” scribbled on her forehead, the case soon turns into the investigation team’s worst nightmare—the pursuit of a brilliant and ruthless killer.
Kristina Ohlsson’s Unwanted is a refreshing debut, a creepy page-turner full of life and presence that will keep readers captivated with suspense until its powerful conclusion.