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Victim Without a Face

(Fabian Risk #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  6,112 ratings  ·  638 reviews
Detective Fabian Risk returns to his hometown to resolve a string of hideously inventive murders. The sensational debut from the new star in Nordic Crime Fiction.

The first victim was a bully who liked using his fists. The second was a thug who favoured steel-capped boots. Their bodies bore the marks of a killer who knew their sins. A single clue was
Hardcover, 580 pages
Published January 14th 2016 by Head of Zeus (first published June 2014)
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Daniel Bratell Did not even consider it. The first name is just a normal, though not extremely common first name, and the family name follows a pattern of "soldier n…moreDid not even consider it. The first name is just a normal, though not extremely common first name, and the family name follows a pattern of "soldier names" quite common in Sweden.

As in many countries, past and present, Sweden used names based on the parent (patronymics or matronymics), so it would have been "Peter, Johan's son" or as they are now written "Peter Johansson". This caused problems when people joined the military where people were just called by their family name and there were way too many "Johansson". The military solution was to have the company commander assign people with duplicate names an epithet, in general based on some ability.

Examples I personally know of, with a rough translation:
Dristig - Bold
Barsk - Stern
Sköld - Shield
Dolk - Dirk
Rask - Quick

and so on. Risk would probably have meant "dangerous".

This happened from the 1500s onwards, and when family names became inherited, some 150 years ago, those epithets stuck with the family.

And once you are used to that kind of name, you don't even consider its historical meaning. (less)
Fiona McLaughlin I really hope there are, can't get enough of this writer now.…moreI really hope there are, can't get enough of this writer now.(less)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  6,112 ratings  ·  638 reviews

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Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

"A killer with a message. The first victim was a School Bully who liked using his fists. The second was a thug who method of abuse was steel toe capped boots. A single clue of a School Class photograph from 1982 was left at the scene with two faces crossed out. There are eighteen people in the photograph and one of them is the lead detective Fabian Risk.

A dark and gripping thriller set in Sweden. I read this as it had been likened to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I Am Pilgrim two books th
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was an extremely good thriller. This is the first book in a series of three and what an introduction to this authors work. The story revolves around Fabian Risk, a cop who returns to his home town for a six week stay with his family, meant to be a vacation. Not long into his trip he is confronted with the murders of some of his old 9th grade school class mates and finds himself totally absorbed in the case as he soon becomes a major part of this. Meanwhile we are presented with extract ...more
Jan 20, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
I am so fed up with all the violence in books like these. I had hoped to read a good police procedural but I find it an easy way out for the author if the amount of violence makes his book popular. Just not my type of book obviously.
The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Fabian Risk doesn't know when to quit, he is like the energizer bunny he just keeps going and so does his first book, it just keeps going.

Risk has moved back to his hometown, to assume a job as a detective, after losing his job in Stockholm as a cop. It appears that someone is killing members of his high school class. Risk, who seems not to have a wit of good sense immediately becomes involved in the case, thinking that his new working companions are a bunch of dead beats. There are so many thin
I don't know why I read this to the end.
An irresponsible, legend-in-his-own-mind, Detective Fabian Risk moves back to his home town to rebuild bridges with his family after some shady business in his previous case. There's a murder. He has to be involved. He also is new to the team so he goes about his work with little to no consultation. One of his actions causes the death of an innocent person. But that seems to be okay by him as he needs to focus on the serial killer who is going around with
Denisa Arsene
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Oh, yes, five shining stars. It is a thriller which keeps you its prisoner from the first pages. Twisted situations, crimes, it gives you an answer just to make you more problems. It takes you near the end, just to understand that you are far from it.
There is a criminal, but not just one mere criminal among thousands of other criminals. He is different. He wants to enter to history with the biggest number of crimes. An entire class - his own ex-colleagues. All of them.
But who is the real murde
Its a very dark thriller, that is quite gruesome in its brutality and descriptions of torturous things so if you are squeamish in any way? stay far away from this one.

I personally don't mind it, as long as it is not overly or unnecessarily drawn out -meaning that torture is happening without any reason, or we get pages after pages of descriptions of it if a handful of sentences would have been enough. Ahnhem doesn't go overboard with it, so it worked fine for me however strange that might sound
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thrillers
Victim Without A Face – A Stunning Nordic Noir Debut

Stefan Ahnhem is no stranger to writing, scripts that is but Victim Without A Face is his absolutely stunning debut, that will take your breath away. Ahnhem has been compared as the true heir of Stieg Larsson and to me that is an understatement. This has all the hallmarks of the best Swedish noir writers such as Larsson and Mankell, with the descriptive writing of Nesbo.

This book is full of surprises and turns that it would give the game twist
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Gritty and gruesome and, it must be said, overlong.

This Swedish debut thriller by Stefan Ahnhem fits the ScandiNoir tradition and it is brilliant. It keeps you completely gripped throughout countless twists and turns. The author has plotted this story with flair. At its heart is maverick Fabian Risk, a detective who has left Stockholm police under a cloud and whose marriage is suffering strains. He has moved his family back to his hometown and is looking forward to a long vacation with his family, but immediately finds himself drawn into a gory ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first outing for Swedish detective Fabian Risk and has all the elements I have come to love in Scandi-crime series: a flawed main character, both at home and work; professional rivalries; a twisted and devious murderer; but also an interesting Danish-Swedish police rivalry reminiscent of The Bridge TV series.
As Fabian Risk leaves Stockholm under a cloud and moves with his family to Helsingborg on the southern coast, he is immediately thrown into an investigation of a series of bruta
Nick Davies
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, 2017
A five out of five, just, because of the fact I really quite enjoyed and appreciated the ambition and quality of this - and because any complaints I might have about it would basically be a little trivial. I'm in a decent mood, feeling kind.

This was one of the best of the Nordic crime genre I have read - following a killer who seems to be avenging the bullying he experienced at school several decades before. The plot was big and unusual, frequently twisting and taking the reader in a different d
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now this was a thriller. Fabian Risk, a policeman, has moved back to his childhood hometown just as a kid (of course, he is a man now) from his ninth grade class has been murdered. Several days later, another kid from that class is found murdered. What is going on and who killed these guys?

That's just the beginning. I was tearing through the pages of this book trying to figure out who the murderer was. Between chapters, reading a diary that I assumed was the murderer. It was jaw dropping when I
Lynda Kelly
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good start to a new Nordic series for me. I was a little unsure about Fabian Risk (terrific name) a few times near the start as I thought he was pretty abrupt and rude to his new boss and needed a good slapping down if you ask me !! I was pretty shocked that he and his wife were both satisfied leaving their son home alone at 14 as well !!
It wasn't without a few mistakes-dropped words like of, a missed hyphen, started used instead of stared, inteded and not intended and one charac
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victim Without a Face is a smart, layered, well-written mystery/thriller. It takes place in Sweden, where Detective Fabian Risk has just moved back to his old hometown to start a vacation before beginning his new job there, when the gruesomely murdered bodies of his former high school classmates start turning up. The first victim: a bully who used his hands to beat on his high school victims is found with his hands chopped off. And so it begins, with each successive murder more gruesome than the ...more
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victim without a face is up there with the best of the thriller genre of Nordic Noir and is Stefan Ahnhem’s debut novel and the introduction of detective Fabian Risk. Set in the south eastern city of Helsingborg, Sweden, Risk is returning to his childhood home from Stockholm with his family. Little does he know that his supposed new start throws him directly into one of the most horrific serial murders that Sweden has ever witnessed and one in which he is directly linked.

Risk is somewhat intrigu
Mark Tilbury
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book pulls you into the story from the first page and leaves you wondering what is going to happen during the rest of the book. It is quite a long novel at almost 600 pages, and it felt as though the story was being padded out with filler, rather than killer, writing in parts. The majority of the writing is of high quality though, which is why I continued reading.

There was plenty to keep me guessing and some events took the story in a completely different direction to what I was expecting.
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a series of installments via "The Pigeonhole" and I probably would not have read it if I had picked it up in a bookstore.

This novel is almost but not quite good: there are a number of glaring errors in the prose which could have been picked up by a thorough editor and the plot twists were loudly telegraphed. The deaths were so fantastical that they felt more suited to a James Bond movie.
This author is clearly trying hard but overall this novel reads as though it has been writ
Susie Spizzirro
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Victim Without a Face by Stefan Ahnhem
I loved this story. I won an ARC copy on Goodreads. Thank you.
I got lost a few times and had to go back. I was very surprised. An excellent read.

Judy D Collins
Established sexy Swedish screenwriter, Stefan Ahnhem, breaks out with his highly anticipated debut – A gritty, edgy police procedural crime thriller, VICTIM WITHOUT A FACE translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles . The first in the Fabian Risk (love the name and the character) series; high-octane, adrenaline fueled a race against time to catch an evil class killer.

Forty-three-year old Detective Fabian Risk, has left Stockholm under a cloud, and is now hoping to start fresh with his wife and child
Angelique Simonsen
An amazing thriller. A real page turner that keeps you hooked right to the very end. Swedish setting which is very good
Aug 16, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gisela Hafezparast
For me this is not an outright 4 star, more like a 3.75. This is a very good first novel with a great story line and even better characters, which you can see can develop into a successful series of crime stories, with various characters taking the lead not just one. The characters are flawed, but real and whilst this first book was mainly circled around one of the detectives and his family and circumstances, you found out more about others as well, which leaves you wanting more. Also some inter ...more
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm starting this review with how much I love the cover and title of the book. This has been translated very well. I liked the writing style and the plot was interesting. it kept me guessing, there were diary entries which I thought was the killer but how wrong I was! I didn't see that coming.

I found this book sometimes hard to follow as there was a lot of characters to remember. What their connection was to someone else or who they were etc. I also found the length to be too long and found my
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

This was so annoyingly stupid at times.. Like what parent would only communicate with their 14 year old child through SMS? I didn't much care for the mystery part either, the solution was lame all the while it was so brutal and gory for no reason at all.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stefan Ahnhem's first novel titled Victim Without A Face is a terrifyingly wonderful Swedish novel about a class of students who have been together since starting school. The fictional town is set in the Swedish town of Helsinborg where the main character grew up and also the town that the author grew up in. This adds real value to the setting as the author knows the town intimately. He has moved his family back into the town from Stockholm after personal problems and taken a position with the p ...more
Mihaela Coman
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
The author is an amazing storyteller, I read this book like a movie, it is exceptionally well designed to keep you entertained and curious about what comes next. At first, I thought his style is similar to Jo Nesbo but actually it proved to be even more creepy and violent as the characters were quite unique in their actions. Really glad I discovered this series and cannot wait to get on to the next one.
Gripping, chilling and addictive. I'm going straight to the sequel now!
Five stars.
Renita D'Silva
Very dark and thrilling
Zuky the BookBum
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 4-stars, kindle
All spoilers hidden!

"In contrast to kindness, which has to be taught, nurtured, and developed, evil existed naturally from birth and grew more cunning throughout the years"

I had high hopes for this book before I started it. Bagged it for a mere 99p on Kindle and it had hundreds of excellent reviews, not to mention it’s a Bestseller in Sweden. I liked the premise of this novel, I thought it brought a certain uniqueness to the detective “gritty” crime drama genre. So you can only imagine my disapp
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”As a kid, I never dreamt of being a writer. Putting letters in the right order to form words did not come easily to me. In school, while the rest of my class had Swedish lessons, a strange-smelling lady would pull me out of the classroom to play with wooden blocks painted with colourful letters.

For as long as I can remember, however, I have been a passionate storyteller. Growing up as an only ch

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