So this book is part of a series, which I didn't know. I bought this book on a whim from either Target or Barnes and Nobles. That being said, while I'm not familiar with the series you can read this book as a standalone but I think it would have been better having read the whole series. This book is listed as number eight in the series, as a fyi.
Title: The Killing Forest (Dødesporet)
Author: Sara Blaedel
Page Number: 335 (paperback edition)
Genre: mystery, murder mystery, thriller, suspense, nordic noir
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, part of Hachette Book Group (American version)
Year: 2016 (America)
Sara Blaedel, author of the #1 international bestseller The Forgotten Girls--which was roundly praised as "gripping" with "uncompromising realism" (Washington Post) and "tautly suspenseful" (BookPage)--returns with the thrilling next book in her series featuring police investigator Louise Rick.
Following an extended leave, Louise Rick returns to work at the Special Search Agency, an elite unit of the National Police Department. She's assigned a case involving a fifteen-year-old who vanished a week earlier. When Louise realizes that the missing teenager is the son of a butcher from Hvalsoe, she seizes the opportunity to combine the search for the teen with her personal investigation of her boyfriend's long-ago death . . .
Louise's investigation takes her on a journey back through time. She reconnects with figures from her past, including Kim, the principal investigator at the Holbaek Police Department, her former in-laws, fanatic ancient religion believers, and her longtime close friend, journalist Camilla Lind. As she moves through the small town's cramped network of deadly connections, Louise unearths toxic truths left unspoken and dangerous secrets.
Some of the characters in the book (I think) are reoccurring throughout the series, those are Louise, her son Jonas, her partner Eik (which was a new name for me) and Camilla, her friend who is a journalist.
The setting is Denmark, in a town/area called Hvalsø (a real place). It starts with a group of men having a coming of age ceremony for the butcher's son, Sune. They practice an unaccepted variation of Asatro, an old religion of the area. I had never heard of this religion either (it's real!). During the ceremony, there's a murder committed.
I think noting that this book has some dark and twisted elements is vague. So I'm going to spoil part of the crime. During the 'ceremony' a woman is raped and murdered, this causes the butcher's son to flee into the wood. This group of men might have raped and/or murdered before. I tend to dislike reading about rape in books but I think Blaedel does a good job with the pace because I kept reading.
The murder of the woman is unknown when Louise Rick is called in. She's asked to find the teenager who is hiding in the woods. Camilla also lives in the woods and has run ins with the boy as well as other (non-murdery) practitioners of the Asatro religion. The town of Hvalsø is also where Louise Rick's former boyfriend, Klaus, killed himself.
The multiple mysteries-- (1) missing teen, (2) possible previous murders by this group of men, (3) identity and location of the murdered woman and (4) what happened when Louise Rick's boyfriend died--are all connected to one another. I love this multiple threads of mystery because it adds an energy to the book. It makes it hard to put down.
This book was translated from Danish by Mark Kline and I was really pleased with the translation because it was effortless. I didn't realise that it had been translated until I was checking out the book on goodreads (when I also discovered it was part of a series).
I gave this book a four star rating. I love Nordic Noir type books so this was a total win for me. I'm planning on picking up other Sara Blaedel books.
Also, because Blaedel is so popular, she's given several interviews so I'll link those here: Crime by the Book, The Big Thrill, Deborah Kalb books.