Susan's Reviews > Killer's Island

Killer's Island by Anna Jansson
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Sep 17, 12

bookshelves: mysteries, scandinavia
Read in September, 2012

In the idyllic seaside town of Visby on Sweden's Gotland island, murders are cropping up. Cop Maria Wern is attacked and beaten when she tries to intervene when three masked men are stomping a young boy to death. Because she was involved, Maria is excluded from investigating this case, but she does get called to action when seemingly the same criminals begin killing other people in the same neighborhood. The novel asks some existential questions: do the police prevent or punish crime, for instance. Their attitude remains sympathetic to the perps. What can be done to prevent vicious crime? In Visby, the police are unable to prevent crime, or even follow up if there are no witnesses or evidence. But bystanders who do not intervene are not without guilt. The problems of women reporting sexual crimes are also explored. Maria's best friend, a pathologist named Erika, is also attacked and stalked. The circle draws smaller and smaller, and turns in on itself, as the killer draws closer and closer. The novel is sentimental and sensational, but still good. For one thing, the women characters are evolved sexually, and appear to ask the same things from their work and social relationships as men have in less advanced countries. This social and psychological depth, along with a tight plot, are the hallmarks of the best Scandinavian noirs.
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