On the surface Midwinter Sacrifice is a cleverly plotted police procedural, but beneath all that grime lies a beautifully written, bone chilling tale of unspeakable evil and its aftermath.
Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoft
Genres: Mystery, Nordic Noir, Crime Fiction
Published in English: 1st October, 2011 (The Swedish version was published in 2007)
Series: Malin Fors #1
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon UK
It is the coldest February in recent memory. In the early hours of a particularly frigid night, the body of an obese man is found hanging from lone oak tree in the middle of a withered, windswept plain. Malin Fors is called to the scene.
Together with her colleagues of the Violent Crime Squad at Linköping Police Department, they must find out who the man in the tree is, and how he got there. Their manhunt in the frigid wake of a ruthless killer brings Malin Fors to the brink, and into some of the darkest corners of the human heart. The first in a series of four books, Midwinter Blood will keep readers coming back for more, again and again.
An investigation consists of a mass of voices, the sort you can hear, and the sort you can’t. You have to listen to the soundless voices, Malin. That’s where the truth is hidden.
First in the series, the story follows the ambitious, thirty-four year old detective, Malin Fors and her colleague as they try to untangle the mystery surrounding the dead man, hanging from a tree in the woods. Small towns, rumours and long buried secrets go hand in hand, and Malin often has to rely on her instinct, almost like a sixth sense, when the traditional investigating skills lead to yet another dead end.
Malin thinks that everyone waits for the truth to come and pay them a visit, that no one comes with the truth or helps it along of their own volition. But perhaps this is the nature of truth: is it not a sequence of elusive, shy occurrences rather than any one powerful supposition? That fundamentally there is only a perhaps?
The characters Mons Kallentoft created are all real people. Mothers, fathers, husbands and wives, and they all have their troubles outside work, and we get to spend some time with them as they tend to their dogs, comfort their sick spouses or struggle to raise their children to the best of their abilities while trying to solve gruesome murders. Malin’s life is a proper mess. Finding a healthy balance is not easy when you are a workaholic, addicted to cheap tequila and your 13 year old daughter’s love life is way more interesting than yours, and despite her young age often sounds more reasonable and emotionally adjusted than you.
‘They were nice,’ Malin says. ‘Not at all what I imagined.’
‘You imagine so much about people all the time, Mum.’
Midwinter Sacrifice gets under your skin and grips you from the inside with ice cold fingers.
Midwinter Sacrifice was published under the title Midwinter Blood in the US.