Monday, 3 November 2014

Dead Souls by Elsebeth Egholm

 review by Maryom

On a routine job, clearing war-time explosives from Danish shipping lanes, diver Kir Røjel discovers a box of human bones. At first she and her fellow divers assume it to be a teaching aid, but the contents turn out to be a lot less innocuous - the victim was garrotted, probably in reprisals at the end of WW2.
Later in the year, at All Hallow's Eve, ex-convict Peter Boutrup finds himself unwillingly dragged into a murder enquiry again - a young nun goes missing only to be found dead in her convent's moat, and as Peter was the last person to see her alive, the police are obviously suspicious of him. The nun though has also been garrotted which causes Detective Mark Bille Hansen to believe the two deaths are linked, despite the 60 years between them.
And as if all this isn't enough trouble for Peter to be in, his past is still stalking him. He's contacted by the mother of his deceased friend My, asking for his help in tracing her son who's disappeared, he's being manipulated by someone he felt he could trust and the local drug-dealing biker-gang still feel they have a score to settle with him. Life's never as peaceful as he would like.

Elsebeth Egholm's latest thriller takes the reader back to the countryside and characters familiar from Three Dog Night  It's a complex, convoluted plot weaving several strands together as Peter Boutrup,  Kir Røjel and Mark Bille Hansen find themselves brought together again in the search for a killer, with each of them approaching the target from a different direction and seeing part of the puzzle but not the wider picture. How after all can a murder committed in the 1940s be related to the activities of present day animal activists or the special talent of which one strange family is so proud? It's all excellently done, the different threads moving forward simultaneously and leading the reader (and the police investigators) to suspect first one person, then another.

Be warned - this is Nordic Noir so it is at times rather gruesome, and not for the easily disturbed. I loved it but for me the unravelling of the mystery, and the following of obscure clues leading to the perpetrator always over-rides any squeamishness on my part.

It's probably not necessary to have read the first book of this series, but I did find it helpful having already been introduced to the main characters and their relationship to each other because the story hits the ground running with murder victims piling up almost from the first page.

Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Headline
Genre - Adult thriller, Nordic Noir

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