Monday, November 17, 2014
Sorry this review is late; I was at Bouchercon.
Now we are back in Sweden again, literarily speaking, for a much grimmer story than last week. (But if the subject as I describe it might scare you away from reading the story, please read the SPOILER I put at the end of this review.)
Petra is a single mother and after a long December day is at the end of her rope, so she decides to take her children to the Christmas market. And - boom - her four-year-old daughter disappears. And the tension rockets.
She presses a few buttons, shakes it, but it's pointless. Her daughter is gone and the phone won't ring and fear has to duck because now terror runs up her back, with sharp talons and pointed teeth.
Evetually the cops arrive and Officer Helena Svensson becomes the viewpoint character. She is trying to lead the investigation, while judging whether Petra's reactions are normal -- and what's normal in a situation like this? And she is keenly aware that in Stockholm in December a child who falls asleep outside could die of exposure.
At Bouchercon a panel was debating enthusiastically whether a crime story needed a surprise ending. This tale doesn't have one. It ends with the cop - and the reader - asking a set of plaintive questions. Not at all a standrad crime story, but a doozy nonetheless.
And now: SPOILER ALERT: For some readers the death of a child is taboo, so: No childen die in this one.