cover image The Truth Behind the Lie

The Truth Behind the Lie

Sara Lövestam, trans. from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg. Minotaur, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-30007-2

Swedish children’s author Lövestam (Wonderful Feels like This) makes her adult debut with a delightfully quirky mystery. When Pernilla’s six-year-old daughter, Julia, vanishes in a Stockholm shopping mall, she hires Kouplan, a mysterious Iranian refugee who calls himself a PI but has no actual credentials. As Kouplan repeatedly questions Pernilla, he realizes she won’t reveal why Julia is unregistered with Social Services or why there are no photos of her. It’s not even clear who her father is. As for Kouplan, who’s undocumented, hiding from the police, and mourning his long-missing brother, he has all the right instincts for sleuthing with zero clues. Doggedly, he grills those at the kidnapping scene about child smugglers. As Pernilla’s story fails to add up, Kouplan comes closer to uncovering a possible human trafficking ring—complete with a lone little girl staring from an apartment window. In Lövestam’s remarkable hands, this enigmatic pair lures readers in, slowly, one detail at a time. Hopefully, Pernilla and Kouplan will be back soon for another adventure. Agent: Marina Penalva, Pontas Literary & Film Agency. (Aug.)