Author: Camilla Grebe & Åsa Träff
Translator: Paul Norlen
Publication: 2012/New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
Original Publication: 2009/Sweden: Wahlstöm & Widstrand
ISBN #: 978-1-4516-5459-2
# of pages: 315
Discovered at an airport bookstore
Read in paper format
Also available in e-book and audio formats
The book opens on a young girl dead under an apple tree outside her home. The scene quickly moves to psychologist Siri Bergman’s office where another young girl is discussing her struggles with cutting. Through different patients’ sessions, we come to learn more about Siri, professional therapist by day and wine-loving darkness-fearing widow by night. The sudden death of her beloved husband Stefan a few years ago has profoundly affected Siri and in her grief, she clings to the isolation of her seaside home.
The reader soon learns there is a dark presence stalking Siri. Brief pages share the stalker’s thoughts and plans. Siri begins to feel as if someone is watching her, perhaps following her. She doubts her feelings though and does not even share her concerns with her best friend and fellow therapist Aina. When a body is found outside her home, Siri is forced to confront the fact that someone is after her. The stalker seems to know too much about her to be a stranger. Could they be a patient or someone even closer to Siri, one of her colleagues? The police meet with her regularly to try and advance their investigation but it is up to Siri to search her files and her memories to discover who is behind the escalating acts.At first, this book seemed a bit disjointed. The chapters weave between the background of Siri’s life with Stefan, her personal struggles and her sessions with patients. The details of the sessions and the mundaneness of some of their concerns were not initially engaging. Siri herself was somewhat annoying at first, a therapist not willing to address her own unresolved issues. Some of her discussions with patients seemed to make their situations worse. At times, she seems quite naïve about situations at work and in her personal life. Can she really be a competent therapist? However, as the story proceeds, you get caught up in the building suspense and the eerie remoteness of her home. You start reviewing the possible suspects and seeing how they fit into the clues. Definitely worth reading to the end.
Rating: (°_°) Worth reading
The authors Grebe and Träff are sisters, Träff putting her psychologist background to good use. They grew up on Swedish mystery books, especially author team Sjöwall and Wahlöö (my favourites as well). This book is the first in the Bergman series, followed by “Strangers” and “More Bitter than Death”.