St. Martin’s Minotaur, September 2006
Originally published as Den du inte ser, 2003
Inspector Knutas series book 1
Unseen is the first in a series by Mari Jungstedt set in Gotland and featuring Inspector Knutas and journalist Johan Berg. The setting on the vacation island with a permanent population of 58,000 that swells to over ten times that during the summer is one of the main draws of the series, as is the emotional drama of both Knutas and Berg. The mystery itself was not my favorite part of the book because it featured a serial killer, but I liked the characters enough to compensate for that storyline.
The murders take place in the month of June as tourist season begins, and they begin with the murder of woman who is a native now living in Stockholm who is visiting for the weekend. Knutas and his team are deeply affected by the murders they are investigating, which is a good touch. Berg, a crime reporter for Regional News television, is embroiled in the murder story and some others, and his scenes are a good picture of the workings of the mass media for sensational stories. He also has a strong personal story that is a thread in this novel that must continue in other books in the series. If Jungstedt, a former journalist, weren’t critical of the press or hadn’t made Berg a human who is affected by the stories he reports, this story would be much harder to take.
This book was not overly innovative, but it was a fairly quick read that focused on characters, which made me able to stand the serial killer storyline. I also thought she balanced the personal story with the investigation very well instead of letting one take precedent over the other. However, I hope the murderer in the other books in the series is a bit more interesting than this one was. My mixed feelings are probably a sign that I need to read something besides police procedurals for awhile, and I am working on it.
I borrowed the book from the library.