Gina Williams's Reviews > The Viper

The Viper by Håkan Östlundh
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's review
Aug 15, 12

bookshelves: 2012, mystery, police, series
Read from August 12 to 15, 2012

I'd definitely give this a 4.5.

Just when you think they can't possibly add another wonderful author to the overflowing buffet of Scandinavian crime fiction, better plan on going back for seconds, or even thirds.

Responding to a house-cleaner's call, two people have been killed. The woman who resided there and an unidentifiable man, presumed to be her husband, recently returned from Japan. It's the story of how life can go wrong living in a small community, where growing up with outward appearances not matching the reality of a dysfunctional family life leads to heinous consequences. Maybe it's the isolation, or one man's seeming attempt to control everything around him, but it's up to detective Fredrik Broman to put the pieces together.

This is a novel filled with a lot of wonderful characters, both real and flawed, coping with a harsh landscape and even harsher peoples. The police aren't innocent of rushed speculations, missing pieces of evidence due to theories based on supposition, and it's comforting to see they don't get everything right all the time. Through many man hours and determination the pieces eventually fall into place as the investigation moves towards a close.

The only disappointment was learning that this is actually the fourth book in the series, first one printed in the States. Now I either need to begin studying a foreign language or wait patiently for the previous books to be translated.

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