Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Julie's Review: The Shadow Woman

Summary: It's August and the annual Gothenburg Party is in full swing. But this year the bacchanalian blowout is simmering with ethnic discord spurred by nativist gangs. When a woman is found murdered in the park-her identity as inscrutable as the blood-red symbol on the tree above her body-Winter's search for her missing child leads him from sleek McMansions to the Gothenburg fringes, where "northern suburbs" is code for "outsider" and the past is inescapable-even for Sweden's youngest chief inspector. Psychologically gripping and socially astute, The Shadow Woman puts this master of Swedish noir on track to build an American audience on par with his international fame.

Review: Inspector Erik Winter has a hell of a case on his plate. A woman is found in a park with no id and seemingly no past. Obviously, this makes his case all that much harder when you can't identify your victim. It's hard to deduct motive without knowing who your victim was at the time of death. The Shadow Woman takes us through his journey to figure out who she was and what happened to her.

Now I don't know much about Swedish culture and the kinds of issues they have over there in regarding political or societal, but it seems to me from this book that biker gangs are a huge problem. They seem to be at the bottom of every bank robbery, murder, mayhem ensuing issue.

The case takes us in a variety of directions and I was never really sure how all of this was going to be wrapped up nicely but it did. Not only are their different directions but there is a fair amount of twists in the novel as well. I was concerned that this was not going to be related to the case and just hang out there unresolved but there is one thing Ake Edwardson does well, it's wrapping it up. You are not left wondering about something that was brought up early in the novel and then dropped. Ake Edwardson does a great job of making you care about the characters. You also get a very real feel of how police work affects the police officer's lives and psyches.

There were times when I thought the novel dragged or didn't seem to flow well but that could be due to translation. It didn't really take anything away from the novel though. There is a lot to say about this book but as usual I wouldn't want to ruin the book.

I found myself engaged in Inspector Winter's life as well. He's a very interesting character; although it does make me wonder, why cops in books are always a bit messed up in the head. Probably their line of work.

If you are looking for a great crime/thriller/mystery novel set in a different part of the world, then go pick up
The Shadow Woman. If you are looking for a replication of Steig Larson's books, this won't do it for you. These books are similar in nature to Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch novels. You will enjoy these as well if you are a fan of James Patterson's Alex Cross series.

I will be looking for the other Inspector Erik Winter novel's to add to my to be read list in 2011. I want to know more about this man who is Sweden's youngest Inspector.

Final Take: 3.75/5



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