Woman with Birthmark: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery

Hakan Nesser, Author, Laurie Thompson, Translator , trans. from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson. Pantheon $23.95 (335p) ISBN 978-0-375-42504-2

Chief Insp. Van Veeteren heads a sterling ensemble cast in Nesser’s fine police procedural, his second (after Borkmann’s Point ) to win the best novel award from the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy. A nameless young woman, soon after burying her mother and learning what sealed her mother’s fate and her own, embarks on a ruthless course of vengeance. While the woman’s motivation remains vague, her method is crystal clear—killing shots at close range followed by additional shots “below the belt.” There are virtually no clues when the first victim is found, and precious few when the second occurs less than two weeks later. Slow, meticulous police work eventually produces a tenuous connection between the victims—one that suggests a potential pool of almost 30 targets. Nesser keeps readers guessing whether the killer will complete her gruesome task before the police can uncover the fatal link that binds killer and victims. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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