Silenced – Kristina Ohlsson

Setting:  Stockholm, Sweden. [Back to good old-fashioned Scandinavian crime fiction. What did we do before it arrived?] There’s a bit of Bangkok, too.

Story: Alex Recht and his team in a special investigation unit are asked to deal with two cases. The first is what appears to be a hit and run victim, but the man has nothing that would help identify him. The second is the apparent suicide-murder of Jakob and Marja Ahlbin, a couple deeply involved in the issue of immigration. The team slowly pick apart the layers to uncover the truth about both cases.

Good Stuff: The plot is complex, but beautifully put together. There are several strands, a nice dose of misdirection, and plenty of twists, all keeping the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. The various characters making up the squad are a good blend of types, with good interaction and lots of future potential. (I am not certain, but believe this is the second book of a series. This may explain a couple of loose ends as well.) The human aspect benefits from the lack of one super cop; it’s a team effort, and like many teams they have good days and bad days. The relationships between the victims and the baddies are intricate, but believable. The pacing is good in that the book seems just the right length. It’s a solid package.

Not So Good Stuff: To make the plot work there are a couple of relationships which are hidden. However, without giving any plot essentials away, I found their success at staying hidden to be stretching credulity. I was also less than 100% convinced by the characterization of the main baddy; it was ok, but was weaker than other main actors in the drama.

Score: 7/10