Watching You - Arne Dahl, Neil Smith

When I started this book it really confused me. I expect Scandinavian fiction to be a slow burner with deep descriptions and weighty character development. However from page 1 we are literally thrown into the unrelenting action as Detective Sam Berger together with his trusty assistant Deer (Desire) smash rotten wooden planks and charges through the door of a ruined building, battering ram in hand, in search of another teenaged girl who has disappeared without trace.

 

At first I found the unrelenting pace not to my liking but as the story evolved and the complexities developed and ticked away, like the mechanics of well oiled Patek Philippe 2508, I began to settle into an enjoyable and clever thriller. In total 7 girls have disappeared and on searching through photographic evidence Berger notices that in a number of pictures, from separate crime scenes, a lady on a bicycle is always present. Her name is Nathalie Freden and if the detectives can successfully trace and connect her to William Larsson, the supposed killer then surely the case can reach a swift and needy conclusion....not so dear readers for in the hands of a very accomplished author nothing is what is seems. Very soon life for Sam Berger is turned upside down and the search is on for a sophisticated killer that stretches back many years where the skills of a murderer are honed and perfected in the seemingly innocent world of a school playground. What is the significance of a small mechanical cog left at each crime scene? and how is this connected with the theft of an expensive Patek Philippe watch from Detective Berger's prized collection?

 

The story is full of surprises and moved in directions that I did not expect, but equally really enjoyed, as the author presented a complex thriller in a very reader friendly format. Many thanks to the good people at netgalley who supplied me with an early gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.