A Scandi Noir thriller with a grisly conclusion. (Now there’s a surprise!)
Hunted, by the Swedish author Arne Dahl, does not work well as a standalone read. It took me almost two months to finally get to grips with this book, and it was after I’d finished it that I discovered this is Book 2 in the Sam Berger series – the first being Watching You and the next instalment You Are Next (which is due out in August).
With hindsight I think I’d have enjoyed reading this more if I’d read Watching You first, because I’d have had more insight into the characters and more background. Instead I felt quite lost at times. The plot is complex and convoluted, with numerous dead bodies and lots of red herrings. It will have your head spinning.
Having said that, there are many positives. The two protagonists make an interesting pair. Detectives Sam and Molly are on the run from the authorities. Secretly they are asked by Sam’s former partner to investigate a possible serial killer case, which takes them to the frozen wastes of Lapland. Sam is suspicious of his new partner Molly – she has a background in black ops and Sam is pretty sure she’s concealing something from him. Sam has the added problem of dealing with amnesia and has flashbacks he cannot quite understand. He begins to question what he’s supposed to be doing, and whether he can trust Molly.
The story starts with a paranoid woman out in the wildness in a cabin all by herself. She believes she is being watched but no-one believes her. Sam and Molly are tasked with trying to help the woman, but nothing is simple or straightforward and they end up becoming victims in a disastrous set of circumstances. There is indeed a mystery man watching, but is he a killer or is he just a voyeur enjoying watching Sam and Molly take turns to shower outside in the frozen landscape?
Sam finds he has to delve deep into his past to come up with the answers, which bring him to a grisly conclusion.
I’m a big fan of the genre known as Scandi-noir and usually enjoy the grim crime details. There’s plenty of this here, plus all the minute detail Dahl likes to share. However, I felt the book was slightly too heavy on procedure and this story (which is some 400+ pages) could easily have been cut back. Having said that, it became a real page-turner in the last 200 or so pages.
If you love Scandi crime and Arne Dahl be prepared for the long haul. It’s worth it in the end but to get the most from it, perhaps start with Watching You.
Review by: Pink Alpaca