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.)
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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
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