Midwinter Sacrifice

Mons Kallentoft

'An investigation consists of a mass of voices, the sort you can hear, and the sort you can't. You have to listen to the soundless voices, Malin. That's where the truth is hidden.'
The snow covered all the tracks, as the killer knew it would. But it couldn't hide the victim, the man who now hung naked from a lonely tree on a frozen plain.
Malin Fors is first on the scene. A thirty-one-year-old single mother, Malin is the most talented and ambitious detective on the Linkoping police force, but also the most unpredictable. She must lead the investigation while keeping her fractured life on the rails.
No one knows the identity of the dead man. Or perhaps no one ever wanted to know. When all the voices of the investigation have fallen silent, Malin can rely only on herself and her own instincts. And as she follows in the frigid wake of the killer, Malin begins to discover just how far the people in this small town are willing to go to keep their secrets buried.

WHSmith Edition now contains Exclusive Bonus material including...

Exclusive First Chapter from upcoming book: Summertime Death; this is a sequel to Midwinter Sacrifice

Author Interview Mons talks to his UK Editor

 Cover

Judy

Here we go again, with another dark Scandinavian thriller for fans of Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsson. This time it's set in Sweden, and the detective who must solve a brutal murder is, for a change, a woman.

Detective Inspector Malin Fors of the Linkoping Police is a single mother, who perhaps drinks a bit too much, but is blessed with acute female intuition

The book opens during the coldest winter in memory. As in most Scandinavian murder mysteries, the frozen landscape is an essential part of the story, a metaphor for desolation and despair. At the outset, a naked, dead man is found hanging from a tree on an ice-bound plain. He's also been brutally beaten, and Malin Fors immediately suspects he is the victim of a ritual murder. But why?

Fors identifies the victim as an eccentric loner, well-known in the town of Linkoping. He was a frequent target for abuse by local youngsters, as well as adults, tormented by them because he was obese and smelled bad

But Fors has to concentrate to separate gossip from hard fact. 'An investigation consists of a mass of voices, the sort you can hear and the sort you can't. You have to listen to the soundless voices, Malin. That's where the truth is hidden,' she is told.

And that is where this female detective comes into her own, because her instincts are extraordinary. She's a fascinating character, and extraordinarily well-drawn by a male writer, which is rare.

Richard

Midwinter Sacrifice is utterly gripping, with a superb plot. It is tense, dark, and suspenseful. I loved it. With her many personal problems, Malin makes for an intriguing and sympathetic character. Kallentoft's story is, I think, even better than Steig Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Malin is the first police detective to arrive on the scene of a horrific spectacle: a naked, beaten man dangling from a tree. She concludes that the murder is perhaps the work of a sect, or cult. Meanwhile, bizarrely and totally unexpectedly, we discover that the hanged man has a voice. His thoughts appear on the page for us alone, the readers, to hear.'In a way, it's nice hanging up here. There's a good view, and my frozen body is swaying pleasantly in the wind. I can let my thoughts meander wherever they like. There's a calm here that I've never experienced before, that I never imagined might exist. My voice is new, my gaze too. Maybe I'm now the person I never had a chance to be.'

Creepy, that voice. Indeed, the language and the writing in this book is of very high quality. It is often lyrical, and frequently subtle. Murder mysteries are often written almost journalistically, but Midwinter Sacrifice has its own unique, wonderfully readable style. Linkoping is a small town, and Malin finds that uncovering the secrets of its inhabitants is tricky. The town may be one of Sweden's most advanced centres of technology, medicine and scholarship. But surrounded by a snowy winter landscape of trees and forests, Lindkoping also seems shut off and somehow frozen in time. Linkoping is a small town, and Malin finds that uncovering the secrets of its inhabitants is tricky. The town may be one of Sweden's most advanced centres of technology, medicine and scholarship. But surrounded by a snowy winter landscape of trees and forests, Lindkoping also seems shut off and somehow frozen in time

Midwinter Sacrifice - Mons Kallentoft

Reviews & Comments

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  • I thought I was going to love this book - it seemed to be the sort of story that I really enjoy, but I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by it. The basic story was good and I like the descriptive writing style but for me the pace was just too slow. I'd only give it about 6 out of 10.

    Eileen

  • This book was disappointingly slow. It seemed to be aimed at making people buy the sequel - no thanks!

    Midwinter Sacrifice

  • On the cover of this book is a comparison to Larsson, so I had high expectations from this book.

    It has a solid attention grabbing opening, however, I did find the story a bit of a slow burner. It took me a while to read the first few chapters, however the story soon became intriguing.

    The story involves Detective Inspector Malin Fors investigating the unusual murder of a social outcast. At first there appear to be no leads to follow, and no motive, but as Fors becomes deeper involved in the investigation she soon learns of the tangled web surrounding the murder. The murder victim also has a voice in the story which is an interesting viewpoint.

    After the first few chapters I did find the plot gripping and I really like the main character Detective Inspector Fors, who's own life is perhaps a little off course. She was a well developed character, but I did find that some of the other characters weren't as developed and evolved as they could have been. The harsh Swedish winter is also a main feature of this book.

    The last two thirds of this book I found to be page turning and overall I really enjoyed the story. I would like to read more from this author and would recommend this book. A solid 7 out of 10.

    Rebecca Jones

  • I loved this book. I must admit the prose was slow but I found it enjoyable and didn't get bored with it at all. Some of the description of the heroine was a bit 'man's dream of an ideal woman' (I'm thinking the gym scenes and the casual sex) but I found I could forgive that for the intricacy of the plot and for keeping me guessing until the end. However, the book could be seen as an argument against giving single mothers state benefits. Slightly misogynistic?

    Clare

  • This sounded like just the sort of book I enjoy, but I have to confess to giving up after around 30 pages. It was quite a slow starter, but when the corpse had it's own "voice" I just couldn't keep reading. There are just too many other good books out there!

    Sue G

  • A totally captivating read, written in a most pleasing style that smolders and simmers, creating an intriguingly atmospheric plot and denouement. I can't wait to read more of this author's works.

    Pauline

  • We have just finished this book for our book group. Very divided opinions!

    tina

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