cover image The Inner Circle

The Inner Circle

Mari Jungstedt, , trans. from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally. . St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36378-9

In summer the Baltic island of Gotland, Beowulf's old stomping ground, offers stunning scenery for tourists and white nights for love and lust, all of which shape the backdrop of Det. Supt. Anders Knutas's investigation into one horrifying crime after another in Swedish author Jungstedt's absorbing third police procedural (after 2007's Unspoken ). The decapitation of a harmless pony is followed by the “threefold” Viking ritual murder of a female archeology student, who's been carrying on a torrid affair with a secret lover, then two more grisly executions, all punctuated by chilling glimpses into a psychopathic mind. The fluid translation evokes the stark economy of the ancient sagas, where all that mattered was how one fought and died. A little of that old warrior spirit still inhabits Jungstedt's tired, frustrated Swedish policemen and journalists, facing monsters within and without and, like Beowulf, never giving in. (Dec.)