Sail of stone, Ake EdwardsonSail of Stone is the sixth and most recent novel in Ake Edwardson’s terrific Swedish crime fiction series about the intelligent and intuitive detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter of the Gothenburg police! This is a well plotted and brilliantly paced psychological thriller. In focus in this novel are Erik Winter and African-Swedish detective Aneta Djanali, both smart, introspective and very thoughtful detectives.

As we follow the two detectives while they work on two separate cases, Ake Edwardson takes us deep into their minds and lays bare their psychological make-ups in a highly intriguing fashion. Fascinating as the cases are, this dive into the psyches of these two very-well drawn characters, is masterfully executed by Edwardson, and is in some ways perhaps even more spell-binding than the very professional and intelligent police work they do in working their respective cases. It is interesting to see how Edwardson lets Winter and Djanali be guided and assisted by intuition.

Ake EdwardsonErik Winter’s case concerns the missing father of a lady that he once had an intense love affair with, Johanna Osvald. Her father, Axel Osvald, has – strangely – traveled to Scotland to search for his own father. It is a very peculiar and odd tale. Why travel to Scotland to look for a man who died there during World War II? And – is Axel really missing? Winter allows himself to get drawn into this strange mystery and unravel the secrets buried in the past of the family of his former lover. To solve this mystery he will have to enlist the aid of an old friend in the Scotland Yard and visit hidden places deep in the Scottish fjords.

Aneta, on the other hand, pursues a reluctant victim of domestic abuse – Annette Lindsten – that she has a very hard time finding. She meets the alleged abuser – the quite frightening lover Hans Forsblad, as well as the victim’s father and mother. But where is the victim? Why isn’t anyone talking to her or helping her – not even the parents? The case has hard to pinpoint aspects that somehow are very frightening to Aneta – resonating with old, deeply buried fears in a very unpleasant manner.

Sail of Stone is an outstanding character study, very perceptive and excellently written. The plot is rich and deep, and the pacing is on the spot throughout. A pearl!

Links to books by Ake Edwardson at Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon CAN.

{ 3 comments }

The Shadow Woman (Swedish title Dans med en ängel) is the second book in the Erik Winter series by Ake Edwardson, even though it is the fifth book to be translated into English. It is a very good police procedural with an interesting and tense plot.

We meet up with Erik Winter The Shadow Woman, by Ake Edwardsonin the middle of a very hot summer in the Swedish city of Gothenburg; the annual Gothenburg Party is in full swing, and this year the bacchanalian blowout is simmering with ethnic discord spurred by nationalist gangs. Erik Winter is vacationing, but get a little tired of it, so when a colleague of his is brutally attacked on the streets and ends up in hospital with a broken jaw, and the body of a murdered woman is found close to a lake in the outskirts of the city, he quickly ends his vacation.

The police find very little evidence on the site where the body was found – the only clue is a red symbol on a tree above her that holds little meaning to them – and nothing that can tell them about the identity of the victim. There are no witnesses. Marks on the body indicate that she has been murdered elsewhere and then moved to this location.

Winter and his colleagues know this will be a hard case to solve. They start with the obvious steps: to establish the identity of the victim and try to locate witnesses – people who might have seen something usual, people who have seen a car nearby, or something else of interest. The autopsy of the body shows that the victim has been strangled and that she has had at least one child.

But that’s it. The police are unable to learn the identity of the murdered woman – she is not on the list of missing people, and reports her missing from work or home. It is as if she didn’t exist or has lived her life in the shadows. Even so, Winter has to solve this murder and also find the unidentified victim’s child before it is too late.

Even when Winter and his team establish the identity of the victim, it soon becomes clear that it is difficult to find out more about her. As they start to uncover facts about her, they find evidence that leads to organized crime gangs in Sweden and Denmark and back to a brutal bank robbery a long time ago. What is it that ties the murdered woman to that awful crime that took place so long ago in a different country when she must have been just a child? And why did the past come alive in this fashion now – why was she killed?

The investigation in this excellent police procedural is very difficult. The book is, in my opinion, very good; actually very fascinating because of the great descriptions of the challenging police work and the tedious process of connecting the dots. The character descriptions are good and contribute strongly to the realism of the story. The Shadow Woman is a high quality Swedish crime fiction novel and very interesting to read, especially if you like police procedurals.

Links to books by Ake Edwardson at Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon CAN.

{ 1 comment }

The Erik Winter series by Ake Edwardsn now has a new series translator, Ken Schubert, who seems to more fully capture Edwardson’s signature atmospheric style.

The most recently translated book by Edwardson, Death Angels, is America’s introduction to Sweden’s youngest Chief Inspector as he teams up Death Angels, by Ake Edwardson
with Scotland Yard to solve mysterious parallel killings of young British and Swedish tourists. Ake Edwardson’s writing is richly evocative of mid-nineties South London and Gothenburg, Sweden, and Death Angels is a good opening to a mesmerizing series that has become a phenomenon in international crime fiction.

Death Angels is the fourth novel in the Chief Inspector Erik Winter series published in English, but it is actually the first book in the series (and Åke Edwardson’s third novel) in Swedish. So if you are trying to come to grips with Erik Winter – trying to understand this interesting Swedish detective – this book is a good place to start.

In Death Angels readers familiar with the series meet a younger and unmarried Erik Winter. However, he is even now a Chief Inspector. Winter was the youngest detective ever to be promoted to such an elevated position in Sweden. And he is pretty much the Erik Winter we have come to know in the later books: A bit remote and contemplative, a loner, quite a bit of a snob, likes expensive brands and jazz, slightly philosophically oriented, and with a sometimes quite surprising way of thinking – as when he sees that the lights are out in his sister’s house, concludes that nobody is home, and tells himself that “Now would be a good time to call her”.

In this book the youngish Chief Inspector teams up with Scotland Yard to solve a mysterious case of parallel killings of young British and Swedish tourists. It involves young men murdered in extremely horrible ways, with blood on walls. Strangely Englishmen are killed in Sweden, and Swedes in London. The killer, dubbed Hitchcock, appears to have filmed the butchery, as evidenced by traces of a tripod stand in the victims’ blood. Possibly the plan is to distribute the recordings as snuff films.

A female stripper named “Angel”, whom one of Winter’s detectives investigating strip clubs gets in touch with, seems to be a person that knows more than she tells. And a thief who breaks into a house finds a sack full of clothes that have lots of blood on them.

Death Angels is well constructed police procedural. The story is a little slow in taking off. It is not quite as good as Edwardson’s later novels in the series, but we have to remember that it is the debut book in the series. And as such Death Angels is very good opening to a series that has improved over time. The novel is also smoothly translated. And the ending is very interesting, with some very neat twists in the tale.

Links to Ake Edwardson’s books about Erik Winter, at Amazon US: Ake Edwardson books. Links to Amazon UK and Amazon CAN.

{ 0 comments }

Sun and Shadow is the first book that was translated into English in Sun and Shadow, by Ake EdwardsonAke Edwardson’s crime fiction  series about Chief Inspector Erik Winter. It is yet another of those suspenseful, crafty and excellent Swedish crime fiction novels!

The main character of the series, Erik Winter, is a very interesting character. He is a bit of a snob who loves Italian clothes and excellent food, a jazz fan and fond of cooking. He comes across as quite arrogant, especially to people who do not know him. But he is also considerate and philosophical, and the youngest policeman ever to have achieved his elevated rank in Sweden.

In Sun and Shadow we are introduced to swingers in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden. A couple entertain a stranger in their Gothenburg flat, a man who plays death metal music and doesn’t behave quite as expected. Instead of having steamy sex with the couple, he kills them and leaves their apartment with the death metal music still playing.

The dead couple is found by a young newspaper delivery boy. For more than a week he has watched his deliveries piling up behind the front door. Also, the loud music playing inside the flat seems odd and the boy contacts the police.

What greets Chief Inspector Erik Winter and his team when they arrive at the scene of the murder, appears as a grotesque stage setting. There are some clues, but they are hard to follow. Erik Winter feels that the murderer is providing them with a riddle of nightmares, of good versus evil, of sun and shadow.

Then the murderer hits again. Another couple is killed. The murder has taken place very close to Erik Winter’s home, and his pregnant girlfriend is nervous. And she is also scared by mysterious phone calls. As the investigation proceeds, it unearths a possible link between the murderer and the police force. So now even friendly faces are not to be trusted and, when the killer strikes again, Winter is in a race against time.

Sun and Shadow is excellently written and a great crime fiction novel. The translation by Laurie Thompson seems a little stilted at times. In my opinion it is a little too slow in the beginning, but many readers will probably appreciate the time and space devoted to character development and descriptions of the setting of the book. And Ake Edwardson is very good at getting into the psyche of his characters. The plot is rich and full of interesting twists. Edwardson leaves a number of clues to his readers, but even so the solution is somewhat surprising. Overall, Sun and Shadow is a well-rounded, compelling and very entertaining crime-novel.

Links to Ake Edwardson’s books about Erik Winter, at Amazon US: Ake Edwardson books. Links to Amazon UK and Amazon CAN.

{ 1 comment }

This is the second book in the Erik Winter series by Ake Edwardson published in English. The summer is unusually warm in Gothenburg. People are out in the long summer evenings, Never End, by Ake Edwardsonpartying and having fun. Then a young woman is raped in a deserted public park. Shortly after another young woman is raped and strangled to death.

Chief Inspector Erik Winter, a young but very talented and intelligent investigator, is in charge of the case. There are some similarities between the crimes. Winter also has a feeling the two cases may somehow be connected to an earlier, still unresolved, case of rape in the same park many years earlier.

This is a beautifully written, compelling book. Never End begins slowly. The reader struggles to make a coherent story from the details gathered by the detectives, who are also trying to make sense of confusing clues. But as the story continues the pace picks up. Ake Edwardson is an exciting, skillful writer.

Ake Edwardson, in a fashion similar to other Swedish crime novelists like for instance Henning Mankell, chronicles a methodical homicide investigation extremely well. He is very good at making visible the psychological aspects of the suspects, the victims and the police officers working on the case.

When a third woman is killed, Winter and his team find a possible link between the victims. This takes them on a journey deep into the city’s nightlife. And Winter suddenly finds that the case is endangering both himself and his family as well.

The prose in Never End is sparse but finely detailed. It is an excellent police procedural with good, deep characterizations. Erik Winter is a very interesting character, a Scandinavian detective who is a snob rather than a slob. And the book is very suspenseful with a fabulous ending.

“Edwardson’s series is as much about character interaction as it is about story, but he is no slouch at building suspense, and his ability to make the sweltering heat a kind of secondary character – as in Hitchcock’s Rear Window–only adds to the tension.”
—Booklist

“This series is a tough, smart police procedural. . . . Edwardson is a masterful storyteller. . . . This is crime writing at its most exciting, with great atmosphere and superb characters.”
—The Globe & Mail, Toronto

“A novel with the most exhilarating final 50 pages in recent crime fiction.”
—Toronto Star –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Links to Ake Edwardson’s books about Erik Winter, at Amazon US: Ake Edwardson books. Links to Amazon UK: Sun and Shadow: An Erik Winter Novel, Never End, or Frozen Tracks

{ 1 comment }

Frozen Tracks, by Ake Edwardson

Frozen Tracks is another wonderful psychological police procedural from Ake Edwardson. Here Detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter and his team is engaged in a tough case where four college-aged men are brutally attacked from behind, leaving them with severe head trauma. The victims seem totally unconnected in their day-to-day lives and acquaintances, but the attacks […]

Read the full article →

Ake Edwardson: Biography

Åke Edwardson (born 1953 in Eksjö in Småland) is a professor at Journalisthögskolan in Göteborg, and one of Scandinavia’s most successful crime writers. Edwardson has had many jobs, including a journalist and press officer for the United Nations. Ake Edwardson has won several awards for his writing, including the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award […]

Read the full article →

Ake Edwardson: Bibliography

Till allt som varit dött (1995) Gå ut min själ (1996) Dans med en ängel (1997) English: Death Angels Rop från långt avstånd (1998) Genomresa (1999) Sol och skugga (1999) Sun and Shadow Låt det aldrig ta slut (2000) Never End Himlen är en plats på jorden (2001) Frozen Tracks Segel av sten (2002), Sail […]

Read the full article →