Melody

Random House Publishing Group | December 2016 | 368 pgs
Source: Library
Translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel


Camilla Grebe has written five crime novels with her sister Åsa Träff; two of which were nominated for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year and this novel is her solo American debut. Aside from these, she is also the co-author of the popular Moscow Noir trilogy. The Ice Beneath Her is both an exceptional and a gripping psychological thriller but I have to admit the murder crimes were much too violent to me although they aren't described explicitly.  

When the Swedish police arrived at the scene of a murder, they were shocked to discover an unidentified woman brutally murdered in a posh suburban home. What also makes this brutal crime so disturbing is the violent act of murder resembles an unsolved case ten years ago. Unlike the cold case, this time around they have a suspect and he is the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO, Jesper Orre, as the murder scene took place at his house and he is nowhere to be found. 

Homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson find nothing more informative of Jesper except that he has a playboy reputation and many of his employees and the Union dislike him for his cold management practices. They suspect his characteristics and an affair gone wrong might drive him to being a cold-blooded killer. To gather more clues and to understand the motive of a murderer's mind, they turn to Hanne Lagerlind-Schön, who is once a brilliant criminal profiler but had "retired" ten years ago. No one knows of her unhappy marriage and the sickness which is slowly creeping up onto her, but she is eager to share her expertise with the police again despite her husband's opposition. While the police is glad to have Hanne's assistance, Peter isn't so glad as he and Hanne had had a love affair before and Peter left Hanne without an explanation. 

Two months earlier, Emma Bohman is searching for Jesper too. Emma and Jesper's chance encounter had led to a swift romance and they were inseparable since. However, Jesper wanted Emma to keep their romance quiet as he didn't want to bring attention to the media considering his position. Emma yielded to his request but with Jesper's disappearance, she is both confused and lost and thus begins her search for her runaway lover. 

This novel is narrated by three voices - Peter, Hanne and Emma. As the story progresses, we see Peter and Hanne race against time to find their answers leading to the perpetrator while battling their own internal struggle whether or not to be with each other, again. Emma's narrative was chronicled in a way that begins her relationship with Jesper right to the time she goes in search for Jesper. I found this parallel narrations was what makes this multi-layered story a compelling read even though halfway through the book I suspected where the direction was going but still the outcome surprised me. I hope this book will begin a new series featuring Peter, Manfred and Hanne, though I thought this was a great stand-alone, too.


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10 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    This one definitely had some twists! I found it compelling, even if I didn't really like any of the unreliable narrators. This is the only book I've read by Grebe, but I'd like to read one of the books she has written with her sister.


  2. I do love a good Swedish crime novel. I am not too familiar with this author, I'm afraid though. The multiple narrators appeals to me. I will definitely have to check this out.


  3. Lark Says:

    I haven't read any books by Grebe, but I do love Swedish crime novels and compelling psychological thrillers. Are her other books better? As good? I'm trying to decide which to read first. :)


  4. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Yes, this book was compelling and it definitely had some twists. The three characters are interesting and lone you, this is the only book I've read by this author. I'll have to check out if her other books are being translated.


  5. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I rarely read Swedish or Scandinavian thrillers but then they're either a hit or miss to me. I'm glad I read this one and enjoyed it though.


  6. Melody Says:

    Lark - This is the first book I read by this author and I'm not sure if her other works are being translated. I'll have to check it out though. I think this was a good read and I hope you'll enjoy it if you do read it. :)


  7. Lark Says:

    Hey Melody!
    I checked my library's catalog and apparently they have three of Grebe's books. So that's good. But I think I'll start with this one. I'll let you know what I think. :)


  8. Melody Says:

    Hi Lark! Thanks so much for telling me. I checked mine and they only have two titles - this book and "Some Kind of Peace". I hope you'll enjoy this and I can't wait to hear what you'll think of it! :)


  9. Iliana Says:

    I almost started this one at lunch today but went with another mystery. Now I wish I had chosen this one but we'll see how my other one goes. I do enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction and need to read this author!


  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I hope you'll read this soon, Iliana. I'm going to check out her other books after reading this. I need to read more Scandinavian crime fiction. :)