Summer Death by Mons Kallentoft

summer death

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.

8 thoughts on “Summer Death by Mons Kallentoft

  1. Rebecca – I think you and I have a similar feeling about gruesomeness. And books that are very long. Still it’s an interesting series in several ways. I’ll be interested to see what you think about the other novels in it.

    • I’m definitely interested in this series, Margot, but I’m looking for a brisker read next. I already devoured Gone Girl over the holiday weekend, so I’m in brisk mode.

  2. I enjoy this series, Rebecca. I know what you mean about the ending. It’s interesting that you thought you could start with this book, as I’ve read them all from the beginning.

    • I think I thought it was easy to jump into this series in book 2 because I’ve been trying books four or later in a number of series lately, Sarah. I plan on catching up at some point.

  3. Hi, a little late to comment. Work has been a bear lately, and that puts me behind on everything. Anyway, I liked this review and it forewarns me what to expect. I read another book where some of the story was told from killer’s point of view and that was a very uncomfortable book for me. I will wait and see how you like other of this author’s books.

  4. […] She also reviewed Mons Kallentoft’s Summer Death, which has a lot of hot weather in it that slows down the story (which is awfully long at over 400 pages) – though the pace picks up for the final section of the book. She plans to continue with the series, but thinks the books could be trimmed to a more effective length. (I concur!) […]

  5. […] Autumn Killing takes place in a particularly cold and rainy stretch of fall in Linköping, Sweden. The deceased is an lawyer turned Internet billionaire named Jerry Petersson who recently purchased an old castle from a royal family falling on financial difficulties. Class tensions pervade the book and the case, and Malin Fors hears the voices of the deceased Petersson and others, much like she did in the only other book in the series I’ve read, Summer Death. […]

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