Hanover Square Press | 6 June 2023 | 400 pgs
This book is named "Shortlisted for the Crimetime Award 2022" and "Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' Award Best Debut of the Year". And with the story set in the wilderness of Sarek National Park in Sweden, I knew I've to read it.
Anna, Henrik and Milena always make it a point to go for their hiking trip once a year. Anna and Henrik are a couple and the three of them have known one another for some time. This year, however, is different from their annual hiking trip as Milena is bringing her new boyfriend, Jacob, along. Anna and Henrik have had some disagreements amongst themselves since they hardly know Jacob but in the end Henrik gave in.
Jacob happened to be a seasoned hiker and while this comes as a relief to the others, Henrik isn't pleased that Jacob suggested a different hiking route; one which they haven't hike before - Sarek. On top of it, Jacob made a few arrangements beforehand and this adds tension to the group. But it is a bit too late to reverse their trip so they could only move forward to their destination. But uneasiness begin to set in as they wander deeper into the vast wilderness and further away from civilization, as Anna begin to question herself if bringing Jacob along might be a mistake after several circumstances that put their safety at risk. Jacob seems like a person who couldn't take no for an answer and his attitude annoys both Anna and Henrik. Milena, on the other hand, is too meek to point out anything probably she doesn't want to make matters worse. But, the situation gets worse as they progress and things start to go terribly wrong.
This was a wild ride and I enjoyed the thrill and intensity throughout my reading journey. The dynamics among the four characters and their hiking journey are the highlight of the story alongside the various challenges imposed by Mother Nature; but the biggest surprise of all is learning that things aren't as straightforward as what they're seemed to be. I like twisty ending and while this book has it, I felt that there are still some knots left untied and it took away that reading satisfaction and the perfection I'd had in mind initially (perhaps there's a sequel? Please say yes, Mr Kvensler! Otherwise that ending was a bit of a letdown.) That said, I'll read all future works by this author as his writing is captivating.
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