Julie's Reviews > The Wolf and the Watchman

The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag
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bookshelves: 2019, atria, crime, e-book, historical-fiction, historical-mystery, netgalley

The Wolf and the Watchman is a 2019 Atria Books publication.

Morose and grisly- but morbidly fascinating!

Late 1700s- Stockholm-

A mutilated corpse is found in the lake- and by mutilated, I mean limbs, tongue, and eyes had been methodically removed, one at a time, the work mimicking that of a surgeon.

Cecil Winge, a lawyer, suffering through the last stages of consumption has been asked to look into the matter, which is the only thing that keeps him on his feet, fighting to stay alive long enough to solve the mystery.

Winge teams up with Mickel Cardell, a disabled former soldier, who discovered, then fished the body out of the water. Together they work to officially identify the body and discover who murdered the man in such a gruesome manner.

This novel has generated a bit of publicity, and as such, has already garnered a bit of a reputation- clueing me in on its violent nature. However, I was still unprepared for the lurid content I encountered in this story!! So, even if one has a high tolerance for graphic violence and gore, this novel will test your limits and boundaries. So- consider yourself warned.

The plot is intricate, and very absorbing, with several interesting character studies rounding things out. The dark and macabre underbelly of Stockholm provides an unsettling and nerve-wracking atmosphere which never allowed one to relax or exhale, even for a moment. There is also an urgency to the solving the crime as Winge’s health progressively worsens, adding an even heavier quality to an already depressingly grim tale.

Although there are very few rays of light in this dreary mystery/thriller, the sun does break through the clouds from time to time, offering some modicum of relief, but not for very long. I needed a respite from this one a time or two, but did find the story very compelling, with moments of real brilliance, although, the grit still overshadowed the finer nuances.

I can see why this book has captured the attention of its publisher, and why they hope a marketing push will steer it into the mainstream. But, despite the impressiveness of it, I’m not sure it’s ready for prime time, which is an audience trained to absorb bland, contained, polished, and watered down content. I'm not convinced this novel is suited for mass consumption.

Perhaps it would work better with a cult following, which is a far more intriguing, enduring, and even flattering thought, appealing to a specific audience capable of giving it the credit it is due…. Without feeling a little blue or green around the gills.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 11, 2019 – Shelved
January 11, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: atria
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: crime
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: e-book
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-mystery
February 16, 2019 – Shelved as: netgalley

Comments Showing 1-50 of 54 (54 new)


message 1: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Nice review, Julie. It sounds interesting.


Julie Barbara wrote: "Nice review, Julie. It sounds interesting."

This one is not for the faint of heart, Barbara! But, it was still good. Very, very dark, though. 😊


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Fantastic review, Julie! I have to check this book out.


message 4: by Bookish Ally (new)

Bookish Ally Have you noticed that Scandanavian authors have a tendency for dark and grisly? As soon as I saw the first couple of lines of your review I thought “this has got to have a Scandinavian author” and, sure enough! The last book I read was “Crow Girl” and it was horrendously dark and grisly ~ well done, but one must warn the people reading the reviews to be careful in their choosing- one almost feels it’s dark bits hanging off of you like the brain matter of the victims. Almost deserves a genre of its own, although the cult following you think it might need chills me, what kind of person would immerse themselves in this kind of book over and over? I think I could read one about once every 3 years. I appreciated your thoughtful review and sharing about it’s effect on you. 💕


message 5: by Sumit (new)

Sumit RK Superb Review, Julie!


Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! I have to check this book out."

Thank you, Mary Beth!! I hope you can find a place for it on your TBR list!! 😊😊


Julie Bookish Ally wrote: "Have you noticed that Scandanavian authors have a tendency for dark and grisly? As soon as I saw the first couple of lines of your review I thought “this has got to have a Scandinavian author” and,..."

Thank you, Ally!! Yes, now that you mention it, Scandanavian authors do tend to lean towards the dark and grisly side. I've really mellowed over the years, so I can only read something this dark once in a blue moon. But, I think there are folks out there you really devour this stuff on a regular basis!! 😲😲


Julie Sumit wrote: "Superb Review, Julie!"

Thank you, Sumit!! 😊😊


message 9: by KAS (new)

KAS Fabulous review, Julie!! Glad to know they storyline is a violent one. Also glad you found it to be a compelling read ;) 😘❤️


Julie KAS wrote: "Fabulous review, Julie!! Glad to know they storyline is a violent one. Also glad you found it to be a compelling read ;) 😘❤️"

Thank you, KAS!! It was a good book- just really disturbing! 😊💕😊


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* I just recommended this on Overdrive. So hopefully they buy it and I get it soon.


Ann (Little Bear) Murray Woah. What a great review, and I thank you sincerely for the warning. I’m more like Ally, and only can handle something like this every once in a blue moon. Might think of this when the time comes. Thanks again!


message 13: by *TUDOR^QUEEN* (new)

*TUDOR^QUEEN* Superb review, Julie :-)


message 14: by Collin (new) - added it

Collin Great review Julie. I want tor read this even more now. :)


message 15: by JV (new)

JV Grand review, dear Julie! 🤗


message 16: by JanB (new)

JanB You have me intrigued but I'm not sure if I can handle grisly details. I'll have to think on that....in any case, I thoroughly enjoyed your review!


Peter Excellent review, Julie, and a wonderful analysis of how dark this novel gets.


message 18: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Julie , my friend, you know me well enough by now that the mutilated corpse won’t work for me . But glad it was good enough for you to garner 4 stars.


Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "I just recommended this on Overdrive. So hopefully they buy it and I get it soon."

Good luck, Mary Beth!! 😊😊


Julie Angela M wrote: "Julie , my friend, you know me well enough by now that the mutilated corpse won’t work for me . But glad it was good enough for you to garner 4 stars."

Thank you, Angela!! This one was hard for ME and I've read lots of crime thrillers in my time. 😊😊


Julie Peter wrote: "Excellent review, Julie, and a wonderful analysis of how dark this novel gets."

Thank you, Peter!! 😊😊


Julie JanB wrote: "You have me intrigued but I'm not sure if I can handle grisly details. I'll have to think on that....in any case, I thoroughly enjoyed your review!"

Thank you, Jan!! It is one of the darkest novels I've read in a long while. But, at least it's not more of the same old, same old. 😊😊


Julie JV wrote: "Grand review, dear Julie! 🤗"

Thank you, JV!! 😊😊


Julie Collin wrote: "Great review Julie. I want tor read this even more now. :)"

Thank you, Collin!! Let me know what you thought of it, once you get around to it! 😊😊


Julie *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Superb review, Julie :-)"

Thank you, TQ!! 😊😊


Julie Ann (Little Bear) wrote: "Woah. What a great review, and I thank you sincerely for the warning. I’m more like Ally, and only can handle something like this every once in a blue moon. Might think of this when the time comes...."

Thank you, very much, Ann!! If you decide to read it someday, let me know what you thought of it! 😊😊


message 27: by Marialyce (new)

Marialyce Wonderful review, Julie. I have seen this one pop up a lot on gr. Not sure with the violence overload whether it is one for me.


Julie Marialyce wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie. I have seen this one pop up a lot on gr. Not sure with the violence overload whether it is one for me."

Thank you, Marialyce!! I seem to be a little more sensitive towards graphic violence than I used to be, but yes, this one really did push the envelope a little. It's still a compelling novel, just be prepared for some uncomfortable subject matter. 😊😊


message 29: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Fantastic review, Julie! 💖 I've seen a lot of positive reviews for this violent tale that I'm tempted to give this a try.


Tammy Terrific review, Julie! Glad you liked liked this. It’s not for everyone


message 31: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Fabulous review, Julie! I’m not sure that this book is for me but I am intrigued!


message 32: by Susanne (new)

Susanne  Strong Absolutely brilliant review Julie!!! You are so right about this one! I just started it.. it's so gruesome it is brutal at times, yet it is also fascinating... and well written, yet I don't know many that would dive in.. That said, it is completely gripping.


message 33: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro Terrific review, Julie!
I instantly had an image of the police frogmen placing the arms, legs, torso, eyes, tongue and ears on the grass and piecing together a fleshy identikit of the victim! ; )


Julie Michelle wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! 💖 I've seen a lot of positive reviews for this violent tale that I'm tempted to give this a try."

Thank you, Michelle!! I think you might like this one. I hope you'll give it a try!! Let me know what you thought of it, if you do!! 😊😊


message 35: by Amy (new)

Amy Sounds intense! Great review. I am thinking this is one I will have to skip. :)


Julie Tammy wrote: "Terrific review, Julie! Glad you liked liked this. It’s not for everyone"

Thank you, Tammy!! Yes, despite the subject matter, this is still a very good novel and certainly stands out in the midst of the psychological thrillers we've all been digesting ad nauseum. 😊😊


Julie Amy wrote: "Sounds intense! Great review. I am thinking this is one I will have to skip. :)"

Thank you, Amy!! It is just really dark, with some gross subject matter- but it is still a good novel. 😊😊


Julie Kevin wrote: "Terrific review, Julie!
I instantly had an image of the police frogmen placing the arms, legs, torso, eyes, tongue and ears on the grass and piecing together a fleshy identikit of the victim! ; )"


Thank you, Kevin!! Oh, dear!! LOL!! 😊😊


Julie Susanne wrote: "Absolutely brilliant review Julie!!! You are so right about this one! I just started it.. it's so gruesome it is brutal at times, yet it is also fascinating... and well written, yet I don't know ma..."

Thank you, Susanne!! I can't wait to read your review for this one!! 😊😊


Julie Meredith wrote: "Fabulous review, Julie! I’m not sure that this book is for me but I am intrigued!"

Thank you, Meredith!! It is very gruesome- and I admit, I have gone soft lately- I can't take the gore like I used to. But, it is still a really good novel! 😊😊


Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ Wonderful review, Julie! <3


Julie Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie! <3"

Thank you, Alex!! 😊😊


message 43: by Kat (new)

Kat Valentine Excellent review Julie!😉💖


Julie Kat wrote: "Excellent review Julie!😉💖"

Thank you, Kat!! 😊😊


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Fab review, Julie! I’ve been curious about this one! It sounds quite dark! ♥️


Julie Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader wrote: "Fab review, Julie! I’ve been curious about this one! It sounds quite dark! ♥️"

Thank you, Jennifer!! It is really good, but yes, very, very, dark! 😊😊


message 47: by Roland (new) - added it

Roland Clarke Tempted for many macabre reasons.


Julie Roland wrote: "Tempted for many macabre reasons."

This book has been well- received, Roland. It is a great crime novel, despite a few very uncomfortable scenes. You might like this one! 😊


megs_bookrack Well this is a delightfully compelling review! Adding this now!


message 50: by Roland (new) - added it

Roland Clarke I've added it to my TBR list here and at Amazon. Many thanks.


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