Review copy provided by publisher
Simon & Schuster, September 2012 (translated to English version)
Synopsis- Fifteen years ago, a teenage girl is assaulted and raped as she picks flowers for a Midsummer’s Eve ritual. Cut to the present, and a man is killed in a hit and run. He has no identification on him, he is not reported missing nor wanted by the police. At the same time, a priest and his wife are found dead in an apparent suicide. Fredrika Bergman, along with Alex Recht’s federal investigation unit, is assigned to the seemingly unconnected cases. The investigations lead to a clandestine people-smuggling network: a new player on the international human smuggling market operating out of Bangkok.
As the police slowly uncover the shocking hypocrisy behind the network, they begin to find a trail that runs all the way back to the 1980s, to a crime that went unreported, but whose consequences will reach further and deeper than anyone ever expected.
Review- Silenced is a perceptively written, captivating crime thriller by Swedish author, Kristina Ohlsson.
On Midsummer’s Eve in 1993 a teenage girl is violently assaulted in the garden of her family home in Sweden. Fifteen years later, a man is killed in a hit and run and a well-respected couple is found dead in a suspected murder suicide. The two daughters of the dead couple are M.I.A and Alex Recht’s federal investigation unit are trying to piece together how these two crimes are related and track down the missing women, Johanna and Karolina.
Silenced is the second book in Fredrika Bergman detective series following on from Unwanted, which I am yet to read. It can easily be read as a standalone novel though I’m sure it would have helped to know a little of the background information on the members of the investigation unit.
Fredrika Bergman is a female detective who has recently toned down her feisty attitude since she became pregnant despite sparking curiosity among her colleagues about her personal life. Fredrika is the “other woman,” she’s been in a decade-long relationship with a married man who has agreed to father her child while remaining committed to his marriage.
Peder Rydh is the only permanent employee on the team, but the security this brings him is soon shaken up when he is commanded to meet with the HR department regarding his inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, followed by compulsory therapy. Peder is not a likeable guy, he is sexist, rude and selfish- but I did find him fascinating. I’m glad he developed some insight as the story evolved.
Joar Sahlin is a mysterious character and probably the least developed, but as a controlled, polite guy he contrasted nicely against Peder’s brashness. Alex, the leader of the team was quite a likeable character- he’s got some family issues happening and out of fear of receiving bad news he avoids dealing with it head-on. I sympathised with him at times, he was somewhat isolated in his role, despite the long hours he spent with his colleagues.
What Ohlsson does remarkably well is create a team of investigators who are just as interesting as suspects and victims they are scrutinising. The crime plot unfolds bit by bit revealing a huge international human trafficking scandal which explores issues associated with immigration and the difficulties faced by refugees arriving in a foreign country. I had absolutely no idea until near the very end who was responsible for what. Ohlsson left me guessing the entire time and it was this along with the fascinating characters that made me fall in love with the book. I highly recommend Silenced!
Silenced can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers