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Friday, 8 March 2013

Review: Unwanted, Kristina Ohlsson (Sweden)

Title:                           Unwanted
Author:                       Kristina Ohlsson
Translator:                 not acknowledged
Publication:               2012/Simon & Schuster, Inc
Original Publication: 2009/Piratförlaget, Sweden (“Askungar”)
ISBN #                       978-1-4391-9891-9
# pages:                    353
Discovered at my local independent bookstore
Read in paper format
Also available in e-book format

The third Tuesday in July will remain frozen in Henry Lindgren’s memory for the rest of his life. He was the train conductor in the coach from which the little girl Lilian went missing. A few minor incidents with passengers, an annoying train delay, and then…life changed forever.

The police team called in to work the case is not necessarily the most cohesive. DCI Alex Recht has been on the force for more than 25 years and is considered a legend but his skills will be challenged as the case unfolds.  He is used to working with Peder Rydh, an eager young officer with plans for promotion. However, their newest colleague Fredrika Bergman is a puzzle to both these career officers. One of the new civilian recruits brought on board for their specialized skills, she is in her probationary period but has been placed right into an investigative role, skipping the usual patrol car entry position. Her expertise is in crimes against women and children and she sees policing as a temporary position to gain experience.

Despite their internal conflicts, they will be forced to work together to find the little girl and track down her abductor. The suspect is obvious but the clues don’t always lead where expected.

 Although the reader follows both the police investigation and the perpetrator’s activities, the answer to “who dunnit” keeps shifting.  The back stories for the three detectives are nicely woven into the plot. All three are flawed but their prickly sides are nicely balanced with a softer side, making them quite human and real. A page turner that makes you stay up late to finish the book.

Kristina Ohlsson has written several more books in this series: “Silenced”, “Guardian Angels”, “Hostage” and “Star of David” (due for release in April 2013). She has also begun a trilogy of children’s fiction. Interestingly, her background is as a political scientist, most recently holding the position of Counter-Terrorism Officer at OSCE (the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).

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