Swedish crime author Mons Kallentoft is a true storyteller. His first book in the series about superintendent Malin Fors – Midwinter Sacrifice / Midwinter Blood (2007) – quickly became a bestseller and is now translated into 28 languages.
With dark, lingering prose his emotionally intensive stories draw you into the life of Malin, her daughter Tove, and her colleagues before you know it. Mons Kallentoft puts a great emphasis on his characters, and you get to spend a lot of time with them. The investigation is an important aspect of each of these books, but there’s an equal significance given to how these horrible events affect not only the victim’s family, but the investigators too. Using a peculiar, clipped writing style he paints a beautiful picture, blending suspense with the mundanities of everyday life.
The eerie voices of the dead provide a unique perspective to all of the stories; their painful, yet detached narrative allows an intimate glimpse into the violent act committed against them.
For fans of slow burning nordic noir these four books are a delicious treat, not to be missed.
Midwinter Sacrifice / Midwinter Blood
It is the coldest February in recent memory. In the early hours of a particularly cold night, the body of an obese man is found hanging from a lone oak tree in the middle of the withered, windswept plains of Östergötland.
The young superintendent Malin Fors, a single mother plagued by personal tragedies, is assigned to the case. Together with her colleagues from the Violent Crime Squad at the Linköping Police Department, she must track down the identity of the man in the tree and the reason why he ended up there. And at the same time they must follow in the frigid wake of a killer – a manhunt that takes Malin Fors into the darkest corners of the human heart.
Linköping, one of Sweden’s most advanced centres of technology, medicine and scholarship, is surrounded by a landscape of plains and forests, where time often seems to have stood still.
Summertime Death / Summer Death
It is the hottest summer anyone can recall and Linköping is plagued by a sweltering heatwave and raging forest fires.
A teenage girl is found naked and bleeding in a city park, without any recollection of what has happened. A grisly discovery is made on a lakeside beach, and it becomes painfully clear to Malin Fors that the heat is the least of her worries – especially with her daughter the same vulnerable age as the two victims.
The second novel about Malin Fors is a harrowing story of unrequited love and the blackest malice, where danger comes far too close to Malin Fors´s beloved daughter…
Autumn rains are pouring down on the Swedish countryside, but it’s the discovery of a brutally stabbed body floating facedown in the moat of Skogså Castle that chills one town to the bone. Jerry Petersson, the castle’s new owner and a notoriously ruthless lawyer and entrepreneur, is now, shall we say, permanently out of business. Meanwhile, Malin Fors, the brilliant but flawed star of the local police force, is already struggling to keep her life together following the recent murder attempt on her teenage daughter, Tove. Now, as the Petersson case forces Malin to delve deep into her town’s history and her own family’s past, the secrets she uncovers threaten to drown her, too.
Savage Spring / Spring Remains
The spring sunshine is beaming over Linköping and its still winter-pale inhabitants who are enjoying the weather from the pavement cafés by the town square. Swallows are circling the sky, colourful tulips are radiating from the market stalls and a mother with two children approaches a cash machine. But then, suddenly, the peace is violently disrupted by a heavy explosion, and Linköping will never be the same again.
Inspector Malin Fors is standing by her mother’s coffin at the Chapel of Resurrection, trying to provoke some kind of emotion. A muffled rumbling breaks the silence, and soon she is on her way to Filbyter Square and a sight she will never forget. Shards of glass. Crushed flowers and scattered vegetables. A ragged child’s shoe. A dove pecking at something red in the deafening silence.
Have you read any of these books? Loved it? Hated it?