Sunday 10 January 2016

Victim Without a Face - Stefan Ahnhem


The first victim was a bully who liked using his fists. The second was a thug who favoured steel-capped boots. Their bodies bore the marks of a killer who knew their sins. A single clue was left at the scene: a class photo from 1982, with two faces neatly crossed out.


There are eighteen men and women in the photo who are still alive - and one of them is the lead detective on the case. Fabian Risk thought he'd left his schooldays behind. Now his classmates are dying for the sins of their childhood ... Who is the faceless killer who's come back to haunt them?


What did I think?

I have read very little Nordic Noir so for me this was something a little bit different and I really enjoyed it.  I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book, trying to read fast but, at the same time, avert my eyes from the horror unfolding on the page.  It's pretty gruesome in some parts but so clever the way that each person was killed depending on what offence they committed at school.  

I loved Fabian Risk as the main character - Risk by name and risk by nature.  He really doesn't care what he needs to do to get the job done, in the same manner as my old favourite, Harry Bosch.  He's supposed to be on leave but joins in the hunt for his classmates' killer and not even second degree burns can stop him.  This even has an effect on his home life, although he barely notices.

I was reading so fast that at first I was confused by the Swedish and Danish names, but it doesn't take long to get used to who is who.  I was intrigued by the rivalry between the two police forces; Swedish and Danish, and it had a great ending to that little part of the story.

Thinking of school photographs, I think it could be true for a lot of us (over a certain age) that we struggle to remember the name of every single person in our class.  We're told that school days are happy days but I can't imagine that bullies or their victims would describe themselves as having been happy.  Perhaps it's true what they say - the quiet ones are the worst.  I'm really looking forward to reading more Fabian Risk - thankfully, Stefan Ahnhem doesn't plan to stop with just this one Risk novel.

With absolutely nothing lost in translation, it's so fast paced, gripping, gruesome and thrilling - I really enjoyed it and I will definitely be looking out for the next Fabian Risk book.

I received this e-book from the publisher, Head of Zeus, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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