Summer Death by Mons Kallentoft, translated by Neil Smith
Originally published as Sommardöden, 2008, also published as Summertime Death
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, June 2013
Malin Fors book 2
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
The scene is an incredibly hot summer in the relatively small city of Linköping, and Malin Fors is called to investigate the rape of a teenage girl close to her own daughter’s age. She is found in a park without a memory of what happened to her. The investigation then turns to murder when another teenage girl’s body is found near a lake in town.
The investigation itself is slow: it’s slowed by the hot weather, it’s slowed by several dead ends, and it feels slow because Kallentoft spends time with everyone in the investigative team. Malin, the main character, is a divorced woman who is obsessed with her work, has an alcohol problem, and struggles with communicating with her teenage daughter and her ex-husband of ten years for whom she still has feelings: she has a lot of issues to deal with while dealing with a gruesome set of crimes.
While the book has many pages and spends time with a large number of characters, and deals with a very convoluted investigation in the majority of the book, the last section of the book proceeds very briskly (if a bit obviously) and graphically. I prefer a little less gruesomeness in my crime novels, or maybe it’s just that I prefer the suggestion of evil instead of lots of passages in the minds of the killer, as this book has. I think that’s a fair request: I’d rather know as much as my main character investigating the crime knows about the perpetrator’s motives instead of having more information about motive than that.
Though I’m new to this series, I think this book is a fine introduction to the series that doesn’t leave a newbie at sea at all. I’m interested in continuing because I’m interested in the character of Malin, but I’d prefer a novel in the series that doesn’t have over 400 pages.