Review: The Dead of Summer by Mari Jungstedt

I received THE DEAD OF SUMMER by Mari Jungstedt from publicist Meryl Zegarek to read and review. I had never read any of Jungstedt’s other works, and they are in the “translated Scandinavian crime novels” genre. This book is part of a series featuring Detective Anders Knutas, and it is translated into English by Tina Nunnally.

At the start of the story, a young father leaves his family’s camping site to go for an early morning run. He is a business owner and a family man, but he is plagued by a nameless anxiety. While running along the beach in beautiful Gotland (a Swedish island popular with vacationers), he is shot and killed. Knutas and his team begin to tie the victim into a scheme of hiring illegal workers and possibly trafficking illegal liquor from Russia, when another man is killed in a similar style. Knutas’ colleague , Karin Jacobsson, takes the helm in solving the mystery and finding the killer before anyone else is killed.

I really enjoyed this novel! I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was hoping it wouldn’t be too violent. While there is violence/sex/drugs/etc. none of it was overly graphic and it did not take up all the book. Instead I found that Jungstedt is a master at making her characters come alive through their interpersonal relationships. Knutas is having a bit of a lull in his marriage. Karin is holding a secret from her past. Television reporter Johan is struggling with his failed relationship with his once fiancée Emma. The nature of these relationships made a difference in how I read this book. It wasn’t all action, but also subtle shadings of character. I kept thinking that it would make a great BBC series!

THE DEAD OF SUMMER is currently available for Kindle and will be coming out in paperback in March, 2014.

If you enjoy crime novels, you will probably enjoy THE DEAD OF SUMMER. Thank you, Ms. Zegarek for sending me a copy!

Review: “Room No. 10” by Ake Edwardson

Always one to love a good crime novel, I got “Room No. 10” through Net Galley to review. This book has been translated from Swedish (and I apologize that I was not able to type Mr. Edwardson’s name properly with the “A” with the Swedish notation on top). I had tried to read Steig Larssen in the past, but found the graphic violence too disturbing, so I thought I’d give Edwardson (a popular Swedish author) a try.

The story starts with a death – an apparent suicide that’s really a murder. A young woman is found hanging in a hotel room (room no. 10), her arm painted white. Our protagonist, Erik Winter, is reminded of a missing person (again a woman) from twenty years earlier who had also been in this room. The two events don’t seem to be related — but are they?

Winter revisits the past and opens up old memories for both him and the families involved. Meanwhile, he is investigating those close to the murder victim, including an odd young man, a skittish best friend, and  parents that seem to be keeping a secret. When the victim’s mother also turns up dead, Winter knows he has to work fast to tie all the pieces together and stop a murderer.

I really enjoyed this novel (which wasn’t too violent/graphic/disturbing for me). My only beef is that it wrapped up so quickly, I had to re-read the last chapter to make sure I knew exactly what had happened!

I could see this made into a movie – maybe with a title change. Apparently there are other books by Edwardson featuring Chief Inspecter Winter, too.

Thanks, Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, for my copy!