cover image We Know You Remember

We Know You Remember

Tove Alsterdal, trans. from the Swedish by Alice Menzies. Harper, $28.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-311506-4

At the start of Alsterdal’s taut, fraught U.S. debut, Olof Hagström returns to his family’s house in Kramfors, Sweden, which he hasn’t visited since he was convicted 23 years earlier at 14 for raping and killing a girl, though no body was found. Too young to be sentenced, the learning-disabled Olof was sent to a youth home. Inside, Olof releases a dog that’s been shut in the kitchen, and finds the dead body of his reclusive father, Sven, in the shower. Olof drives away, but the dog blocks the road, where he stops long enough to be approached by Patrik Nydalen, a neighbor who soon realizes who Olof is. Olof tells Patrik his father is dead. Police detective Eira Sjödin, who was nine at the time of Olof’s conviction, investigates what turns into a murder case, in which the locals suspect Olof. In her compulsive hunt for the truth, Eira must deal with pernicious changes in Swedish policing and grapple with her mother’s descent into dementia. Strong local color, convincing characters, and a twisty plot make this a standout. This is Swedish noir at its murky best. (Sept.)