Originally published: 13 December 2018
Author: Lina Bengtsdotter (Translated by Agnes Broome)
Published by: Orion Books
Genre: Scandi Noir
Length: 368 pages
Reading dates: 29 December 2018-1 January 2019
I haven’t read any Scandi noir before so was keen to read this highly acclaimed police thriller, recently translated into English, which won The Crimetime Specsavers Best Debut Award.
The story begins with a missing teenage girl Annabelle, who went to a party and never returned home. The police in Gullspång (a small town in Sweden) contact Stockholm police for help in solving her disappearance and DI Charlie (Charline) Lager along with her partner Anders are sent to the town to help solve the crime.
Straight away we know Charlie is not the most together individual – when we first meet her she is hungover and in the bed of a man whose name she can’t remember. She’s not adverse to using both drugs and alcohol to get her through life. We soon find out that Gullspång is her home town, where she lived with her single mother, Betty (who was an alcoholic who liked to party) but we also know that something terrible happened to her there and she has not returned since.
Told from the point of view of Annabelle (leading up to the night of her disappearance), Fredrik (Annabelle’s father) and Charlie, the narrative gives us some clues about what might have happened.
I really enjoyed this – I thought the translation was excellent. It felt Swedish somehow despite it being written in English. Charlie as a character is realistic and flawed and I believe For the Missing is the first in a series featuring Charlie as the central character and I’d be keen to read more about her. I liked the similarities between Charlie and Annabelle – both are complex characters. Annabelle is also pretty messed up, being very bright, attending bible group but also being into drugs, drink and sex (much like Charlie). I also felt the novel captured the cultural feel of a small town in Sweden well.
There are lots of twists and turns throughout and I suspected almost everyone of being involved at some point!
Many thanks to Orion Books for sending me an ARC and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour. Be sure to checkout the other stops below…
About the author:
Lina Bengtsdotter grew up in Gullspång, Sweden. She is a teacher in Swedish and Psychology and has published a number of short stories in various newspapers and magazines in Sweden and the Nordic countries. She has lived in the UK and in Italy and today resides outside of Stockholm with her three children.
FOR THE MISSING is her debut novel.