cover image The Last Grudge

The Last Grudge

Max Seeck, trans. from the Finnish by Kristian London. Berkley, $17 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-43884-8

Det. Sgt. Yusuf Pepple takes center stage in Seeck’s gripping third Ghosts of the Past mystery (after 2021’s The Ice Coven), in which the Helsinki Police investigate the homicide of industrialist Elial Zetterborg. The murder occurs on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the victim’s company and at a time when the sudden closure of a local factory will cost several thousand people their jobs. Assisted by other series regulars on the force, Yusuf must first decide whether to look for suspects among those adversely affected by Zetterborg’s controversial business decisions or with personal motivation to kill. Meanwhile, Det. Sgt. Jessica Niemi is on leave as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of events that nearly took her life in the previous book. Jessica’s hallucinatory struggles help develop her character but distract from the main story line, and it’s a relief when Yusuf persuades her to join the Zetterborg investigation. Clever plot twists more than compensate for some inconsistent handling of characterization and dialogue. Newcomers are advised to start with the first book in the series, The Witch Hunter. Agent: Josh Getzler, HG Literary. (Feb.)