This was a recommendation for me from Goodreads and so I ordered it from the library without really knowing too much about it, other than it was Nordic Noir fiction. I was a little shocked when I went to pick it up and found out it weighed in at almost 800 pages. I almost put it back because the opportunity cost of reading a longer book like this, that I knew nothing about, might be too much, but I didn’t.
This was originally published as three books and has been combined into one volume, that explains the length. It is also an extremely complex tale and it needed the length to tell the whole story. There isn’t any filler here. Fast paced with short chapters that change time, perspective and thread of the plot. This makes it seem like you are flying through the book. The story begins with two women, one Sophie, a psychiatrist working with disturbed patients in the legal system and the other Jeannette, a family legacy police officer, who starts out the tale with a case of a mummified, castrated boy. From there, the story spreads out to encompass family members, co-workers, victims, witnesses, perpetrators and others swept along in its wake.
The storylines bob and weave occasionally crossing over before they converge. There is very disturbing content here regarding mental illness (DID in particular), pedophilia, incest, child grooming, organized child sex trafficking, child soldiers in Sierra Leone, torture, scat references and general brutal mayhem. Definitely not a book for the faint hearted. The sheer number of victims is overwhelming here.
With the multiple storylines and the switching of time frames, it can be easy to get lost at points. Adding to this is the fact that you have at least one unreliable narrator. I can’t really say much else with out spoiling one or more of the twists, turns and red herrings.
I would recommend this for fans of dark nordic noir, who don’t mind their thrillers landing heavily on the gruesome side of things. I enjoyed it and read it straight through, but I will definitely choose something lighter to read after this.