cover image The Cruel Stars of the Night

The Cruel Stars of the Night

KJELL ERIKSSON, , trans. from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg. . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36667-4

In Swedish author Eriksson's fine second ensemble procedural (after 2006's The Princess of Burundi ), members of the Uppsala Violent Crime Division try to connect the dots linking the separate murders of two old men and the disappearance of a third. Eriksson eschews crackling dialogue and facile descriptions in favor of longer, slower developing profiles of the principal men and women of the police unit: Ann Lindell, Ola Haver, Sammy Nilsson, Allan Fredricksson and others. Their investigation proceeds in parallel with the story of Laura Hindersten, daughter of the missing man. Eriksson balances these stories nicely as the detectives reach for clues. Lindell, the single mother of a young boy, emerges as the most compelling investigator, but the others are also distinct individuals. The author's squad of detectives displays the kind of interdependency and fractious loyalty that endeared Ed McBain's 87th Precinct squad (Cop Hater , etc.) to fans for so many decades. (May)