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*Starred Review* In Sundsvall, Sweden, police responding to a distress call at a girls' group home discover a brutally murdered teenager posed with her hands covering her eyes. Blood-soaked bedding in an adjacent bedroom conceals a hammer, and that room's occupant, Vicky, has fled through an open window. While police collect evidence, a figure resembling Vicky emerges from the forest nearby and steals a car with a preschooler strapped inside. Joona Linna, recently sidelined by an internal-affairs investigation but still widely recognized as Sweden's premier investigator, is ordered to respond as an observer to the local investigation. When the car is found submerged in a river, both children are assumed dead, and the official scenario paints Vicky as a savage killer and kidnapper. Inconveniently, Linna finds evidence that they're still alive, and he begins poking holes in the police scenario. At the same time, he faces personal dilemmas upon learning that the wife and child he sent into hiding years ago are once again facing danger. This third novel featuring Joona Linna is a knockout example of the thoughtful plotting and character development, genius investigation, and unflinching examination of human evil common in Scandinavian crime fiction. But it's the mixture of relaxed, witty dialogue and raging action scenes that will draw American readers who believe the Scandinavian subgenre is too moody for their taste.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Insanity and evil pervade the pseudonymous Kepler's gripping third novel featuring Stockholm Det. Insp. Joona Linna (after 2012's The Nightmare). At a facility for troubled girls, a resident and the nurse in charge have both had their skulls crushed. One of the inmates, Vicky Bennet, has gone missing, a bloody hammer left in her bed. Although Vicky seems incapable of murder, she becomes the only suspect. Vicky's theft of a car results in the accidental kidnapping of four-year-old Dante Abrahamsson, who's asleep in the back of the car. When Linna discovers the missing car in a river, both Vicky and Dante are presumed dead, and the investigation is closed. Linna, though, is certain that they're both still alive and continues his search. False leads, administrative difficulties, and hints of a case involving Linna's own family keep the pages flying by. Agent: Jonas Axelsson, Bonnier Group Agency (Sweden). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.