cover image The Boy in the Shadows

The Boy in the Shadows

Carl-Johan Vallgren, trans. from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Quercus, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68144-440-6

A kidnapping propels this stunning crime thriller from Vallgren (The Merman). One day in Stockholm in June 1970, a harried father allows a strange woman to walk his seven-year-old son, Kristoffer Klingberg, up the stairs to reach a train platform, while he rides with his two-year-old son, Joel, in the elevator. When the father reaches the platform, there’s no sign of Kristoffer or the woman. In 2012, Joel, who has become a wealthy businessman, disappears. The police believe Joel left home voluntarily, but his wife, Angelina, has her doubts. Angelina approaches Danny Katz, a former heroin addict who’s now a successful translator, because she believes he’s the right person to find Joel; the two once served together as interpreters in the army. Danny, who needs the money, agrees to search for Joel. As Danny unearths twisted family secrets, he reconnects with tormented public prosecutor Eva Westin, whom he may have assaulted when he was a teen. Rich psychological insights complement the well-executed plot. (July)