Author: Camilla Grebe
Genre: Crime thriller
Format: Hardcover 400 pages
Release Date: 21 March 2019
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book from Readers First. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
A case as cold as the season. A profiler who can’t remember. A killer ready to strike again.
Psychological profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön and her partner, investigator Peter Lindgren are invited to the small, sleepy industrial town of Ormberg to investigate a cold case: ten years earlier a five-year-old girl’s remains were found in a cairn near the town.
But when a recurring memory problem resurfaces, Hanne struggles to keep track of the case. She begins keeping a diary, noting down everything she is likely to forget to keep up appearances so she doesn’t lose her job.
When the body of a woman is found at the cairn and one of Hanne’s shoes is found nearby covered in the victim’s blood, can Hanne’s diary hold the key to what happened? How does this new murder connect to their old one?
How can you put together what happened when the pieces keep fading away?
This story is set in Ormberg, a small backwater community deep in Swedish forest. This is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and has done their whole lives. No-one comes to Ormberg voluntarily and those who are lucky manage to get out and often relocate to Stockholm for bigger and better opportunities. The only people residing in Ormberg who don’t have generations of their family connecting them to the location are the refugees who were relocated there due to civil unrest in their own countries.
Ormberg is the kind of place that begs to have a book wrote about it. It is isolated, surrounded by dense forest, and often bitterly cold and covered in snow. It really was the perfect setting for this story.
The story starts back in 2009, some 8 years before the rest of the book takes place. a group of friends are hanging out and having a few drinks at the cairn, famous for the ghost stories the locals tell of the place involving the ‘ghost child’. Malin, a young teenage girl at the time takes herself to go to toilet and discovers more than she bargained for: the remains of a body.
Flash forward eight years later to 2017 and Malin is now a cop tasked with investigating a cold case, and that cold case just happens to involve the remains that she found all those years ago.
The story is told in alternating chapters between Malin and Jake, a young boy also living in Ormberg. Jake is one of those quiet children who would do no harm but because of his gentle nature often finds himself the target of the school bullies.
We follow the story from these two characters point of views as Malin investigates the crime and Jake finds himself unwittingly tangled up in.
What I wasn’t expecting from this book is how socially aware and politically on point it actually is. In today’s societies where there is such unrest with immigration and how much Government’s are doing for refugees in comparison for their own nationals this book actually explores some really interesting moral dilemmas.
As well as this, the book also hits all the points you want when reading a crime thriller providing multiple suspects, multiple dead ends, and plenty of action. At times the plot was slightly slow going, this isn’t a page turner in the traditional sense. But running at the heart of the story is a cold case involving a murder and I was still really intrigued to find out what happened.
About the Author
Camilla Grebe was born near Stockholm. She co-founded audiobook publisher Storyside. She has written four celebrated crime novels with her sister, Asa Traff, about psychologist Siri Bergman, the first two of which were nominated for Swedish Crime Novel of the Year by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy. Camilla has also written the popular Moscow Noir trilogy with Paul Leander-Engstrom. The Ice Beneath Her is Camilla’s debut novel as a solo author and announces hers as a fresh new voice in suspense writing.
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