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Tuesday 22 November 2022

‘Dark Music’ by David Lagercrantz

Translated from the Swedish by Ian Giles

Published by Quercus,
18 August 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-52941-319-9 (HB)

The murder of a seemingly harmless immigrant, Jamal Kabir, in Stockholm, initiates an investigation in which local police are forced to second guess why the Swedish foreign ministry let Kabir enter Sweden in the first place, and just how much their decision had been influenced by the CIA.

Martin Falkegren, a young police commissioner anxious to keep up with modern trends, invites Hans Rekke, a rich, former concert pianist, and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University in the USA, to review the case for the Stockholm police. Rekke, now based in Stolkholm and suffering from a severe mental breakdown, is an authority on interrogation techniques and is gifted with extraordinary powers of observation and deduction. He is also a suicidal, unpredictable, drug junkie.

Because community police officer, Micaela Vargas, has a passing acquaintance with Giuseppe Costa, the young man accused of killing Kabir, she is assigned to the investigating team.  Micaela, the daughter of Chilean political refugees, and the sister of two, law-breaking brothers brings a dogged perseverance and a clear head to the investigation. She has reservations about Costa’s guilt and the lack of sensible evidence against him.

The police meet with Rekke who also has doubts about Costa’s guilt. When the investigation stalls Micaela is taken off the case. Dissatisfied with the way the investigation has been handled, she decides to see if she can stimulate the semi-comatose Rekke to help her discover what really happened to Kabir.  Rekke and Micaela make a strange duo. On the surface they have little in common, but in reality, they are almost like pieces of a jigsaw that fit together and feed off each other whilst reaching decisions about how they should proceed. With help from Jonas Beijer in the police station, and information from Rekke’s connections in the foreign office and one of Michaela’s law-breaking brothers, Vargas and Rekke eventually uncover who murdered Kabir and why they did it.

As might be expected from the man who has added three books to Stieg Larsson’s Milennium Trilogy and who is unashamedly inspired by Sherlock Holmes, David Lagercrantz’s Dark Music is a complicated and intriguing story. It takes us from Stockholm in 2003 back to Kabir’s youth in Pakistan, his time at a conservatory in Moscow and his subsequent time as a football referee in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan where music was restricted, before it finally finishes in Germany. It also describes the CIA’s use and abuse of foreign nationals and countries. Dark Music, and I hope several sequels featuring Rekke and Vargas, will be enjoyed by lovers of Swedish Noir.
Reviewer: Angela Crowther

David Lagercrantz was born 4 September 1962, in Sweden. He is a Swedish journalist and best-selling author, internationally known as author of Zlatan Ibrahimović's biography I am Zlatan Ibrahimović and as the current writer of the Millennium series, originally by Stieg Larsson.


Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner. 

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