Random House Publishing Group | December 2016 | 368 pgs
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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