cover image Victim Without a Face: A Fabian Risk Novel

Victim Without a Face: A Fabian Risk Novel

Stefan Ahnhem, trans. from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Minotaur, $27.99 (608p) ISBN 978-1-250-10318-5

Swedish screenwriter Ahnhem’s compelling if overly long first novel, a series launch introducing Det. Fabian Risk, explores social exclusion and its consequences. Risk has left Stockholm to return to his hometown of Helsingborg, but before he can unpack and settle his family, one of his high school classmates—a notorious bully—is found brutally murdered, both hands chopped off. When another classmate is killed (again, in hideous fashion), it’s clear that everyone in Risk’s class is a target—and Risk himself becomes a focal point for the killer. Risk is a fine detective with a strong dose of humility, but this killer is meticulous, leaving essentially no clues as the bodies pile up. Some scenes are grotesquely inventive (one victim is burned alive by a large magnifying lens), and the plot hangs together despite the many digressions. Patient readers with a taste for the gruesome will be glad they stayed the course of the book’s 600-plus pages. (Sept.)