Lisa Marklund follows up the success of “The Arctic Circle” with a crime thriller that oozes storytelling joy and excess.
“Kallmyren” is the second book in the Stenträsk trilogy that successfully kicked off 2021’s critically acclaimed “Arctic Circle”. A book that reinvigorated the writing of Lisa Marklund, W It is better I have written.
With “Kallmyren” she redeems herself again, renewing herself again.
We still go to the fictional town of Stenträsk in northern Sweden. It’s fall 2020, and the Corona pandemic has gripped the Sverge.
Local police chief Wiking Stormberg, whom we met in the previous book, has other concerns than the contagious virus.
At the start of the book, he’s been diagnosed with cancer, and an arsenal of weapons is on the way. What disturbs Wiking most is the letter his son, Marcus, receives.
A warning fell on the way Wiking’s wife Helena signed her letters with an asterisk.
Helena has been missing for thirty years, presumably drowning in a swamp after a mule ride, which the book’s good estimate depicts.
In parallel with Wiking’s search for the mysterious letter-writer, we get flashbacks from the 1980s. Wiking is in Stockholm to train to become a police officer, and meets his great love, Helena.
Marklund again wrote a thriller, called “a good read,” as the English call it.
Not only is “Kallmyren” a really good crime novel, but the book also shows that Marklund is a great storyteller.
The book is as much a relationship novel as it is a crime novel, and is somewhat slower paced than its predecessor.
Readers expecting an intense psychological thriller like “The Arctic Circle” will be surprised. The element of excitement is present here, but “Kallmyren” has more of an international thrill.
The plot is absolutely amazing, although not everything is necessarily entirely believable, it is well composed and ambitious.
In “Kallmyren,” Marklund shows new and powerful aspects of his writing.
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However, what makes Marklund a good crime writer is not just her ability to craft fascinating and immersive mysteries, but how deeply she allows us to get into the book’s characters.
The depiction of Wiking battling cancer and the demons of his past is poignant and compelling. Some of the sequence ideas are overly chatty, and several scenes could have been tightened. The ending bears the stamp of some confusion, and Wiking’s motivation for certain choices here is incomprehensible.
Despite this, “Kallmyren” is another showcase of how to write good crime stories that can also be read by those who are not serious crime readers.
With the corona pandemic as a reflection, Marklund wrote a story about the inequality that characterizes our close relationships, musing about how much we really know about the people we live near.
This time, too, she found a place for her love of books, nodding her head, among other things, to her old editor, the crime writer Tove Alsterdahl.
“Kallmyren” is generally hilarious and over-the-top storytelling, and affirms Marklund’s place as one of Scandinavia’s finest crime writers.
It’s impressive how it renewed itself from the previous book in the series. Marklund returned earnestly to the scene of the crime. Now expectations for the final book in the trilogy are running high.
It has been previously reviewed: Elaine Brand Bjorhi
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