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Unseen: A Mystery Hardcover – September 5, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312351577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312351571
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Swedish journalist Jungstedt's first mystery, set on the island of Gotland, a popular tourist destination, opens with some promise. After a gathering of friends dissolves amid jealous accusations, the source of the conflict, Helena Hillerström, vanishes from her home, only to turn up the victim of a savage ax murder. This violent act shocks the residents of the normally sleepy resort island. Despite the dedicated efforts of Insp. Anders Knutas, the killer strikes twice again. The killer's clichéd motive for these crimes and the police's failure to connect some obvious dots will disappoint those expecting another Henning Mankell. Still, the unusual setting is nicely described, and hopefully, later entries in the series will focus on issues that are particular to Sweden as this debut effort does not. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Scandinavian invasion continues with the arrival in the U.S. of another talented crime writer from Sweden. Jungstedt's first novel takes place in Gotland, where a serial killer has tourists (in the area during the region's midsummer tourist season) running scared. The sleuth here is Gotland inspector Anders Knutas, who is out of the intuitive-provincial school of crime solving. He is thoroughly engaging in that Maigret way--reminiscent, too, of fellow Swede Van Veeteren (in Hakan Nesser's Borkmann's Point, 2006) and French police commissaire Adamsberg (in Fred Vargas' Have Mercy on Us All, 2005). Knutas has the help of an enterprising Stockholm journalist, Johan Berg, who becomes involved with one of the victim's friends. Like Ake Edwardson in Never End (2006), Jungstedt shows that Scandinavian summers can provide just as effective a backdrop for crime drama as the region's icy winters. If this strong combination of pacing, suspense, and character study is any indication of what is to come from Jungstedt, we have another fine import on our hands. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

This is an fast read and will keep your attention from the beginning.
great read
Part of the problem with this book is its lack of focus on one central character.
PianoGuyFromSC
The characters are outstanding and the mysteries are unusually interesting.
linda grahne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The friends meet at a resort on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Helena is with Per; Emma with her spouse; Olle and his neighbors Eva and Rikard; and finally Beata and her American husband are all there. However, instead of an amiable get together at the trendy tourist locale they chose, jealousies explode leading to accusations and rage.

Not long afterward, the prime focus of the dispute Helena vanishes from her home on the island. However, she is quickly found dead, someone brutally used an ax to hack her to death. Police Inspector Anders Knutas leads the island investigation, but makes no progress as everyone is in shock and denial. As he struggles with the homicide investigation two more brutal murders of females occur amongst the friends, Anders wonders if this is a case of nine little Indians leading to one or just no female survivors.

This is an entertaining serial killer Swedish police procedural in which the audience will have solved the case before Anders figures out what is going on. That is the strength of the story line as it brings freshness that the detective is average not a Wallender offspring or a Clouseau clone which still can frustrate the audience that he cannot see the obvious links. The setting is terrific for this fine Swedish whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By PianoGuyFromSC on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Like many Americans, I've gotten hooked on Scandinavian mysteries. My current favorite writers in the genre are Karin Fossum (Norway), Henning Mankell (Sweden) and Amaldur Idridason (Iceland). I saw a mention of "Unseen" while researching the Swedish island town of Visby, so I thought reading a mystery set there would be interesting.

This book falls far short of the standard set by the other writers I mentioned. It's written amateurishly, and keeps falling into the trap of mixing romance with serial killing. (Perhaps some of the awkwardness is due to the translation, but I tend to think the problem lies with the original author.) I'm not a fan of cosy, romance mysteries, if there is such a genre. And the author is strangely obsessed with letting you know every time a woman needs to pee. Perhaps she is incontinent as well as incompetent.

The author is a TV journalist, so of course, the main character is...a TV journalist. But IS he the main character? There's also a policeman who is working on the case with his team. Part of the problem with this book is its lack of focus on one central character. (Related to that, the book starts at a party where you are INUNDATED with characters right off the bat, which is not the greatest idea.)

The mystery itself is fairly run-of-the-mill. First-person segments by the "killer" are interspersed along the way, which gradually spin out the back story for the motive. But one wonders how such a messed-up, anti-social person could charm several women. The final scene, where the killer demands money and a car is laugh-producing...because he's on an island and can't drive more than a few miles. I will not be pursuing this series any further.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Lim on February 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A serial killer appears on the island of Gotland just as the islanders are getting ready for the summer tourism season and the Midsummer holiday.

Women who appear not to have any connection are found murdered with their underwear stuffed in their mouths. The police have no clues with which to follow and with no witnesses, their frustration rises with the summer heat.

Adding to Inspector Knutas's irritations is a journalist who appears to have a source inside the police providing him with information about the murders the homicide team had not given out during the press conferences.

The mind of the serial killer is gradually exposed ...but will the homicide team find him before he kills again?

There were some rather obvious links, I thought, that I was surprised the homicide team didn't pick up, and the writing at times appeared rather stilted. Still, it's not bad for the first in the series and I hope the author will develop her main characters more fully in subsequent works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda A. Relias on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Unseen, which I picked up in London where Swedish mysteries
are very popular. THis writer was new to me but she certainly creates
an environment of mystery and suspense on the island of Gotland where a
brutal murder of a woman and her dog occurs. You will have trouble guessin
who is murdering women on the island, while Insp. ANders takes you along
on his investigation. There is also a love story that develops between a news reporter Johan and Emma, a schoolmate of the victim. I am reading the
next mystery soon.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Simmons on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is as much a romance novel as it is a story about a serial killer. Most of the female characters have extensive experience in affairs of the heart, and it least one of them is falling "head over heels in love" with one of the protagonists. Should she leave her husband for this hot new guy, or will she stay with her nice but dull husband and kids? Gimme a break. If you are lookiing for a "noirish" detective or police novel, this isn't it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne Mills on December 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first of Mari Jungstedt's Gotland murder mysteries, featuring Inspector Knutas and the young journalist Johan Berg. These novels have everything we have come to expect from Scandi noir -- tense plotting, strong characterization, and a powerful sense of place. The island of Gotland, where these novels are set, is a particularly lovely and exotic locale. It plays a major role in the stories.

The Gotland setting puts the contrast between fictional Swedish crime and actual Swedish crime into sharp focus. When I visited Gotland a few years ago, our hotel had a rack of Ms. Jungstedt's novels in the lobby, mostly in Swedish. I told the innkeeper that I wished more had been translated: he laughed and said that her books were very popular, but perhaps a little exaggerated. He told me that there had been just one real murder on Gotland in the last 35 years, despite the extraordinariy high fictional crime rate. For Sweden as a whole, there were 93 deaths in 2009 due to manslaughter, assault or murder, in a population of 9.4 million. Fictionally, of course, the place is awash in blood. One is reminded of 1930's Britain, when fictional murder ran rampant, but the country in fact was very law abiding. Ah, well, that's what makes fiction fun.
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