Now, I realise this isn’t a Scandinavian author but bear with me. This was interesting for a number of reasons and I believe you’ll see why soon.
I picked this book in a second hand shop. It seemed like any other number of cheap crime paperbacks but the edition was nice and I was intrigued by the premise: Three children stumble upon a dead woman in the woods and thusly end the idyllic’s community tranquility. The dead woman was brutally murdered and soon it’s evident this little town has a serial killer in their hands. They call on Vince Leone, an FBI agent pioneering profiling sciences, to help build a profile and hopefully catch the killer before he strikes again. All of this against a mid 80s setting.
This would be the moment I confess I completely adore Criminal Minds (a CBS show about the BAU, a team of profilers who investigate serial killers) and have done so for years, watching each episode repeatedly. So I had to read this.
I really enjoyed the pace of the book and the intertwined “small-town folk” characters, whose lives and backstories are weaved together artfully. The crimes were interesting and the rest of the characters unique enough. I disliked what I call the “token romantic relationship” and its mellow development but, save for that, the characters were well-built and had more depth than what I’ve come to expect from American crime writers. I especially liked the characterisation of the children and the construction of their families and how this affected their psyches. Very well done.
Another thing that particularly endeared me to this book was the setting. The constant lack of technology and Hoag’s almost too keen interest in reminding us of what would be coming did get a little bit old at times but I feel she did a great job of outlining the trouble and skepticism profiling as a science faced back then (and still does), as well as the realities of small town law enforcement teams.
All in all, the book was enjoyable and entertaining. I will most certainly be interested in the rest of her books!
Have you read any of Ms Hoag’s books? What did you think?