Series: Fabian Risk #1
By: Stefan Ahnhem
Rachel Willson-Broyles (Translator)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 9/6/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Established sexy Swedish screenwriter, Stefan Ahnhem,breaks out with his highly anticipated debut – A gritty, edgy police procedural crime thriller, VICTIM WITHOUT A FACEtranslated by Rachel Willson-Broyles . The first in the Fabian Risk (love the name and the character) series; high-octane, adrenaline fueled a race against time to catch an evil class killer.
Forty-three-year old Detective Fabian Risk, has left Stockholm under a cloud, and is now hoping to start fresh with his wife and children in Helsinborg- the town where he grew up. He wants to forget about money for once and buy new things.
He is recruited to assist with a murder; he, being a former classmate. He is supposed to be on family vacation--what happened to the six-week vacation before he starts his new job at the Homicide Department? He decides he wants to help. Especially intrigued, when he finds the identity of the first victim.
Someone from his old class had been brutally murdered and was discovered several days later- on the very day he arrived back in his hometown with his family. Sure, it could be a coincidence. But something told him it was about as likely at coincidence as the sawed-off hands.
Jorgen Palsson they said was violated. Had he gotten exactly what he deserved?
His students at school supposedly worshiped him, his wife says. Fabian knows he was rowdy in his days. Fabian was certain he had used steroids; however, unsure his wife, Lina knew his violent past. Or does she?
A single clue was left at the scene: a class photo from 1982, with two faces neatly crossed out.
He had never liked Jorgen and had made sure to stay as far away from him as possible. It wasn’t because he was afraid, but more so out of faintheartedness. He wouldn’t have to witness the abuse and be forced to take a side-if he hadn’t seen anything. His memories were fuzzy.
He remembered enough to know that he and another guy had spread fear throughout the class, but they had picked on one person in particular: Claes Mallvik. He was bullied as soon as the names were read for attendance in the first grade, all the way until he finished the ninth grade.
Everyone including teachers knew, and no one did anything but avert their eyes.
What he recalled about this guy, was his shy and cautious nature, someone who had hardly dared to raise his hand in class to answer a question. Had he now gone so far as to take the life of his tormentor in a brutal and headline grabbing way?
There was no limit to what violence and mental terrorism could do to a person; it was probably the very way to create a monster. Could this case be something other than a victim’s revenge? Or someone altogether different?
The case was not going as he imagined and everyone is interested in teamwork, while a madman is on the loose. Another twist which hits close to home. The killer had been in his home and now his family was in danger. Tick tock . . .
The author, cleverly uses wit and dark humor, mixed with tidbits of a disturbing diary/journal written by a boy in school. Who is writing? The writer of the diary beats himself up at the end of each entry with bullet points about how weak, ugly, useless and a wuss he is. (you smypathize with him). Fabian looks at the yearbook album and thinks he knows who the killer is. 9th Grade.
How many of the classmates will die before the killer can be apprehended?
With many red herrings,
and unexpected twists and turns, the author uses some top notch cop procedures and some nice interactions with his new boss, Detective Superintendent Astrid Tuvesson and forensic expert Ingvar Molander, with Dunja Hougaard Homicide Unit of Copenhagen Police and supporting characters.Character driven,
with well-crafted dialogue and smooth plot planning- a perfect mix of good and evil. and nice personal interactions. You have to love "Nordic Noirs" their eerie setting, desolate characters and complex subject matters leave readers wanting more. I love Harry Bosch and Fabian Risk
reminds me of his “flawed-edgy risk-all” strong personality. Looking forward
to the next in this crime sequel and learning more about what happened in Stockholm six months prior --and some of Fabian’s intriguing skeletons from the past. Should be interesting.Gripping!
The author definitely knows his way around, and fans of well-written crime thrillers will devour. Going to hold a star (5) rating for the next installment, which I expect will be a show-stopper. Can't give away all your secrets the first time around.Nordic Noir
has been a dominant part of global detective fiction, film and television in the past two decades and do not see it slowing down anytime soon. Even though this was a lengthy book, it did not read as such. I was at the end in a "blink of an eye". Great job with the translation. A US fan! JDCMustReadBooks