Saturday, March 16, 2013

Silenced-Kristina Ohlsson


Kristina Ohlsson

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Mar 5 2013, $25.00

ISBN: 9781439198902

In 2008 in Stockholm, Alex Recht leads his team (pregnant Fredrika Bergman, sexist Peder Rydh and newbie Joar Shalin) in two investigations, They look into the deaths of immigrant rights activist Vicar Jakob Ahlbin and his wife Marja in what looks like a murder-suicide probably brought on the by the death of a daughter. Additionally the unit conducts an inquiry into a hit and run vehicular homicide of a person with no identification except notes in Arabic.

As they work the seemingly separate cases, the police find links to human trafficking and an unreported assault of a teen in 1993. While Bergman tries to identify the unknown victim as no one filed a missing person’s report, Recht leads his subordinates scrutiny of Jakob’s activities protecting illegal immigrants in his home while also seeking the missing other daughter of the late Ahlbin couple.

When this engaging Swedish police procedural focuses on the cases and the related immigration debate, Silenced is a strong mystery; when the storyline centers on the respective personal lives of the three cops and one civilian, it loses steam as those subplots feel intrusive. Still, filled with betrayal and dark predatory practices, readers will appreciate this relevant look at the social and economic impacts of trafficking (especially the shocking glimpse into a Swede trapped in Thailand as her identification begins to vanish) and immigration.

Harriet Klausner

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