4 December 2014

Review: THE SHADOW WOMAN, Ake Edwardson

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 787 KB
  • Print Length: 355 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0143117947
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010) - it was originally published in Sweden in 1998
  • Translated by Per Carlsson
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
Synopsis (Amazon)

It's August and the annual Gothenburg Party is in full swing. But this year the bacchanalian blowout is simmering with ethnic discord spurred by nativist gangs. When a woman is found murdered in the park-her identity as inscrutable as the blood-red symbol on the tree above her body-Winter's search for her missing child leads him from sleek McMansions to the Gothenburg fringes, where "northern suburbs" is code for "outsider" and the past is inescapable-even for Sweden's youngest chief inspector.

Chief Inspector Erik Winter investigates the murder of Helene Anderson, whose body was found in a local park. Armed with few clues, Winter soon learns that the young woman left behind a child who may still be alive. Further probing leads him more than two decades back in time to a bank robbery in Denmark that a very young Helene likely witnessed. (The perpetrators remain at large, a source of great frustration for local law enforcement.) Winter travels to Denmark, and soon a cold case turns hot. Back on the home front, the inspector must contend with the annual Gothenburg Party, a hedonistic free-for-all that prompts riots among nativist gangs. 

My Take

The novel begins
    For three years a massive drug war between the Hells Angels and the Bandidos has ripped through Scandinavia. Antitank rockets swiped from the Swedish military have been launched at club-houses, gun fights have erupted in airports, car bombs have been planted and bystanders killed. A well-publicized truce will soo bring the Great Nordic Biker War to a close, but not before dozens of lives are claimed by the violence, many of them innocent.
While this foreword helps put the action of the novel in 1997 it also confused me until I realised the novel was a reprint.

It actually takes some time, and a lot of careful police work, and a vital contribution by a concerned elderly citizen, to identify the young woman's body. Erik Winter becomes concerned with what has happened to the red-haired little girl who was seen with the young woman. Winter is a policeman who can't focus on anything else once an investigation gets underway.

One of the interesting features of this story is the feeling of history repeating itself. Twenty five years earlier the young woman was involved in a similar incident when her own mother disappeared. Both mother and daughter leave behind paintings that give clues to the life they've been leading. My guess is that some readers won't realise there are two young voices in the narrative.

My rating: 4.3

I've also read  FROZEN TRACKS

EuroCrime lists the titles available in English in this order
Chief Inspector Erik Winter, Gothenburg, Sweden
Death Angels20091
The Shadow Woman20102
Sun and Shadow20053
Never End20064
Frozen Tracks20075
Sail of Stone20126
• Room No. 1020137

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