A Chilling Tale: A book review

The Chosen (Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht #5)The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Chosen is a dark story that looks into the heinous murders of a pre-school teacher and two young boys. In true Nordic Noir fashion, the motivation is dark, the atmosphere oppressive and every character flawed and suspect.

Nordic Noir has been characterized by it’s Scandinavian setting, it’s bleak landscape and plain language. There are many authors who are finding their home in the genre and readers continue to seek out these morally complex, disturbing tales. This is a new Nordic author for me. And this title is touted as a #1 Bestseller in Sweden on the cover of my edition. While noir is not one of my go-to genres, it is one I find myself comfortably enjoying when the mood strikes. I would not consider this a good place to begin a journey into Nordic Noir, but if already a fan, this is a good author to add to your reading schedule.

Once again, I am reading a series out of order; but, in this case, I did not feel like I missed anything by doing so. There were several references to earlier exploits by our detectives, but enough information was shared that I could follow along with where the characters were. The fifth installment in this series focuses on a tight-knit Jewish community in Sweden. As the detectives fight their own personal demons, they must also solve the crime and for one involved, it’s going to hit much too close to home.

The author uses an interesting construct of interspersing pieces of the ‘conclusion’ throughout the story. The reader is set up to know one of the characters is going to have a very bad day early on. The information given in these conclusion parts keeps the reader guessing right to the end. The language is straightforward and easy to read, even if the material is occasionally more than one wants to imagine.

The comments about the snow littered throughout the story helped to set the stage: “Snow is falling from the dark sky, settling like frozen tears of angels on her head and shoulders,”
“The falling snow was like confetti made of glass,” “It was as if the snow was whispering to him”. And those are just a few of the examples from the first 50 pages.

I picked up a copy of this book at a library bag sale. I was surprised to see it came from a library system in the UK. I will be searching out additional titles by this author, so I am hoping her books have crossed the pond!

This is a very dark story, as is typical of the genre. There is a tight knit community with secrets galore and all those secrets will need to be exposed in order to find the hunter of children. There is no lack of suspects and even as they are cleared, they come back under suspicion. This story will keep you guessing and may keep you up at night.

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