Another fascinating Swede

If you missed the Stieg Larson madness, you’re totally tuned-out to a major pop culture phenomenon. The first book in his hit crime trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,sparked the craze, and the Swedish movie was a smash too. I admit I am among the legions of fans. I was mesmerized by the books, and I love the gritty Swedish films too. Now there is another fascinating Swedish detective to join Larson’s Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.

I have just devoured the book The Shadow Womanby renowned Swedish crime writer Åke Edwardson.
Edwardson’s hero is Eric Winter a young, complex, brilliant detective. He is consumed with trying to solve the murder of a beautiful mystery woman and the disappearance of a child. It leads him through a labyrinth of old secrets and crimes. Edwardson sets the book in the modern seaside city of Gothenburg in Sweden.
It is a stifling hot August and the denizens are partying hard at their annual festival. Most people are happy drunks, but the alcohol also brings racial and class tensions to an ugly head.
Edwardson captures the people, politics, and culture of Sweden perfectly. The book is imbued with a beguiling Nordic flavour.
His protagonist, Detective Winter, is a curiously-contained and detached young man. Winter is deeply troubled by the cruelty, racism, and sadism he witnesses in his job.
Like fellow author Larson, Edwardson incorporates bigger social issues into his crime novels without making them ponderous.
(Here’s a fun fact from Edwardson’s publisher: In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mikael Blomkvist’s daughter Pernilla gave him a copy of an Åke Edwardson novel for Christmas.)
Some critics claim Edwardson’s novel is flat because of translations issues. I disagree. The book is dense and complex. It’s a must for all fans of top notch crime fiction! But fair warning: you’ll get hooked!