Bad Blood

Bad Blood

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*Starred Review* Autumn in Stockholm can be a time of foreboding for many Swedes, and that's especially true this year, thanks to the unending, torrential rains, which seem almost biblical. Paul Hjelm is obsessively listening to John Coltrane's wailing-yet-strangely-reverent Meditations, reading Kafka's Amerika, and worrying about his relationship with his teenage children. It gets worse: an American serial killer who has eluded the FBI for two decades has arrived in Sweden. The killer's MO is believed to involve a monstrous and lethal form of torture that the FBI says was first used in the Vietnam War. Clues to the killer's identity and whereabouts are nil. Bodies begin to pile up, and Hjelm and his mismatched detective squad seem hopelessly overmatched. As in his wonderful Misterioso (2011), Dahl's latest is a stunning, muted howl of Scandinavian despair for a once orderly nation unhinged by racial malaise, predatory capitalism, and the sense that Swedish society is becoming Americanized. But, like Coltrane, Dahl plays all over the scale. He's mordantly funny, particularly in dialogue between squad members. His caustic appraisal of American "community policing" and the justice and penal systems will resonate with many American readers. And his coda on the damage parents may visit on their children is poignant. With two superb novels, Dahl has established himself as one of the leading voices in Scandinavian crime fiction. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews

Released by Pantheon on Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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