Kjell Eriksson’s next Ann Lindell book, The Deathwatch Beetle is an atmospheric thriller and a tender depiction of the countryside and the people of Roslagen.
Four years have passed since Cecilia Karlsson disappeared from the island of Gräsö in Roslagen. When Ann Lindell receives a tip that she has been seen alive she cannot help getting involved, even though she is no longer with the police.
The black sheep of the island, Nils Lindberg, has never forgotten Cecilia Karlsson, with whom he was in love as a teenager. And he carries a secret. He may not be completely sober all the time, but he has no doubt of what he saw out on the bay just before Cecilia disappeared. Cecilia’s parents are desperate, not knowing what happened to their daughter. Yet their silent house contains many things that have been left unsaid.
While Ann struggles to put the jigsaw puzzle together, she is trying to establish herself in her new life together with her lover Edvard who, like herself, is marked by life. At the same time, someone is hiding in a cottage in a remote part of the island. Someone who is looking for revenge…
Such an unusual title and a story that takes place in the country of one my ancestors, I thought this might be an interesting departure from the crime mysteries we typically pick up. Described as an atmospheric thriller, I could agree with one part of that characterization. It was atmospheric.
My first experience with the series, in this particular episode (former?) protagonist Ann Lindell has retired from the police force and lives on the island of Gräsö off the eastern coast of Sweden. (My relatives still live on the western coast.) When Lindell gets a tip that Cecilia Karlsson was sighted alive, she can’t resist pursuing the lead.
It’s an island. People know each other and there are secrets. Some not meant to be revealed. The opening scene hooked the reader then basically foundered for the remaining portions of the book, introducing relatives and friends, chasing down little leads but at such a slow pace it was difficult to continue reading.
I’m not sure—is Ann still meant to be the main character? The narrative comes back to her often, but… It might have been helpful at the beginning of the chapters to explain who was up front and speaking that chapter. Not first person, but it often took me a couple pages to figure out who was making an appearance and his/her connection to the whole thing.
Ann didn’t come across in this episode as being a fully developed person, nor did I really engage in her boyfriend. I did come across, however, an explanation for the title.
“…something was scratching and gnawing in the wall, deathwatch beetle she thought it was called…”
Granted, I came in on Book 9 of the series, having lost, I’m sure a large part of setting the scene and characters as well as her earlier experience as a police person. But was something lost in translation? This one lost my interest fairly early on and it was never really regained.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Two point Five Stars
Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: Karl Stig Kjell Eriksson is a Swedish crime-writer, author of the novels The Princess of Burundi and The Cruel Stars of the Night, the former of which was awarded the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2002. They have both recently been translated into English by Ebba Segerberg.
©2021 V Williams