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Tuesday 20 March 2018

‘Eighteen Below’ by Stefan Ahnhem

Published by Head of Zeus,
11 January 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78497-556-2 (HB)

A police car chase ends in the speeding car plunging into the cold waters off Helsingborg. The driver is Peter Brise, a shining light in Swedish IT companies, and he’s dead ... except that an autopsy finds he’s been dead for two months, and his body kept frozen.

This lengthy crime novel gives us not one but two separate investigations, linked by the characters involved in them. Swedish inspector Fabian Risk is working on the case of Peter Brise, and soon finds out that the two-month dead man has been having business meetings until recently – selling off his estate, and squirrelling the proceeds away. It’s a case of identity fraud, and soon Fabian and his team are on the trail of a ruthless, and very clever killer. On the other side of the sound that separates Sweden and Denmark, in Helsingor, morning shoppers are horrified by a girl who is covered in blood appearing among them. Disgraced cop Dunja Hougaard is given the task of finding her – and in spite of a higher-up former colleage who’s got in in for her, she finds where the blood came from – a dead homeless person who has been savagely beaten. Looking up other assault cases, she finds several similar ones, and fears that “happy slapping’ – assaulting someone and recording it for posting on YouTube – has come to Denmark. Both investigations become complex, nearly everyone is in danger at some point, and there’s a high body count. The chapters are short, 3-5 pages, and the action constant. We’re also drawn into the main characters’ private lives – Dunja’s feud with her former boss, and Fabian’s difficulties with his wife and teenage children. The ending keeps up the idea of doubles, with not one but two teaser lead-ins to the next novel.

A fast-moving Scandi PP with interesting characters – great for making that long journey pass more quickly.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Stefan Ahnhem  has been working as a screenwriter for over twenty years. He has worked in both TV and film, with everything from comedy to thriller and with original ideas as well as adaptations.  In 2014 he debuted with Victim Without a Face.  Since then two more novels about the murder investigator Fabian Risk have been released. He lives in Copenhagen.
Marsali Taylor
grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Death in Shetland Waters

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