All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Ninth Grave by Stefan Ahnhem

on February 13, 2017

ninth-graveThe Ninth Grave (Fabian Risk #2)
Stefan Ahnhem
Head Of Zeus
2017, 551p
Copy courtesy of Harper Collins AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Two countries in the grip of winter…

On the coldest day of the year, Sweden’s Minister for Justice steps out of Parliament House and into a blizzard – and disappears. That same night, across the Baltic Sea, a Danish celebrity finds a stranger lurking in her snow-bound home.

Two killers stalk the streets…

One is a srugeon who carefully dissects his victims. The other is a brutal predator who targets women. Police in Stockholm and Copenhagen are closing in on their suspects. But as winter darkens and more people die, their investigations begin to unravel.

Sometimes murder is just the beginning…

I was super keen for this next installment in the Fabian Risk series. The first book, Victim Without A Face ended at a pretty interesting place and I was really excited to see what happened next. So I was a bit confused when this began and Fabian was somewhere else. It took me a little while to realise that although this is book 2, it’s set before book 1. The events in this novel are how Fabian came to be back in his hometown at the beginning of the previous book, it explains more of the situation between Fabian and his wife….and also gives a better idea about the ‘other woman’ situation.

Fabian is called in to discreetly investigate the disappearance of the Swedish Minister for Justice, who stepped outside in a blizzard. There was a car waiting for him but the Minister disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. Meanwhile in Denmark, young female detective Dunja has been given the lead on an investigation into the brutal murder of the wife of a Danish television star. Much to her colleagues chagrin, Dunja has been placed in charge by her sleazy boss, whom she suspects might have ulterior motives.

It doesn’t seem possible that the disappearance of a Swedish politician and the savage murder of a woman in Denmark could be linked. But as the bodies keep piling up, soon both Fabian and Dunja, working different cases, discover that the victims are each missing something. In this case, it’s what is missing that helps complete the full picture.

It’s so nice to get a lot of the backstory that set up Victim Without A Face. You can tell that Fabian is under a huge amount of pressure, both at home and at work. His wife Sonja is an artist who is working day and night to finish her latest pieces in time, leaving Fabian to do the bulk of the parenting at home. Given that Fabian is out at all hours doing his job, this doesn’t generally work too well. The oldest child Theodor is about 13 in this novel and there are clearly some inklings that things are amiss with him. Their daughter Matilda is younger and her creatively artistic drawings for school depict the cracks that are running through the marriage of Fabian and Sonja. Most of the time Matilda is left in the care of a negligent babysitter or her distant older brother as Fabian searches for evidence, follows up hunches and takes women out to dinner. Fabian is the sort of person that is always going to get results in the cases he investigates but probably not without large amounts of collateral damage, some of that being the emotional development of his own family.

The plot is intricate….very intricate but it’s woven together incredibly well. As well as Fabian and Dunja, the reader is also treated to the thought processes of some of the victims as they struggle to piece together what is going on or in some cases, accepting their fate as perhaps a debt owed. Something that has finally caught up with them. That was really interesting and as the story unfolded and the pieces came together, it suddenly took on a whole new meaning. I don’t mind a non-linear timeline and I really liked the extra points of view. There are even some chapters that take place from the perspective of the killer(s) although it’s up to the reader to interpret who in particular is responsible for what.

As well as getting a lot more insight into Fabian and his family dynamic here, likewise we are treated to equally the same amount of Dunja’s backstory. She was one of my favourite characters in the first book and I really saw here how much she has put up with in order to have and hold her job. Her boss is an odious creature, her two colleagues resentful when she is put in charge, one so much so that his attitude towards her nearly results in her death when he ignores her call for help. There’s no doubt that Dunja is actually incredibly capable of running the investigation, despite the hindrances from her boss and her colleagues. However they assume she’s been put in charge because her boss either is sleeping with her, or intends to use his decision as leverage to be sleeping with her. They ignore her when she suggests that a closed case doesn’t feel ‘right’ and that there’s more to it. She has good instincts and after book 1 I’d hoped she’d be working with Fabian. Now I’m even more sure that it needs to happen.

The first two books in this series have both been winners for me. It’s been a while since I’ve started a new Nordic crime series but this reminds me why I’m such a fan of them. I know there’s a third book but I’m guessing it’s going to be a year or so before we see it released in English…..which isn’t fair because I’d really like it now, please.


Book #26 of 2017

Antique Maps of the WorldMap of EuropeNicolas Visscherc 1658

Antique Maps of the WorldMap of EuropeNicolas Visscherc 1658

This is the first book I’m counting for my European Reading Challenge 2017! It is mostly set in Sweden but also includes Denmark.

One response to “Review: The Ninth Grave by Stefan Ahnhem

  1. Terry Pratt says:

    I liked the book until he allowed his 2 colleagues to be murdered. Thats a deal breaker and The Man without a face should never have been written as the character could not remain a Police officer,no way

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