During an unusually hot July, detective Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck are enjoying a rare week at home together, nervous and excited about the imminent birth of their first baby. Across town, however, a six-year-old boy makes a gruesome discovery that will ravage their little tourist community and catapult Patrik into the center of a terrifying murder case.
The boy has stumbled upon the brutally murdered body of a young woman, and Patrik is immediately called to lead the investigation. Things get even worse when his team uncovers, buried beneath the victim, the skeletons of two campers whose disappearance had baffled police for decades. The three victims’ injuries seem to be the work of the same killer, but that is impossible: the main suspect in the original kidnappings committed suicide twenty-four years ago.
When yet another young girl disappears and panic begins to spread, Patrik leads a desperate manhunt to track down a ruthless serial killer before he strikes again.
Read an Excerpt
The day was off to a promising start. He woke up early, before the rest of the family, put on his clothes as quietly as possible and managed to sneak out unnoticed. He took along his knight’s helmet and wooden sword, which he swung happily as he ran the hundred yards from the house down to the mouth of the King’s Cleft. He stopped for a moment and peered in awe into the sheer crevice through the rocky outcrop. The sides of the rock were six or seven feet apart, and it towered up over thirty feet into the sky, into which the summer sun had just begun to climb. Three huge boulders were solidly...see more
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Reading Group Guide
The small Swedish tourist town of Fjällbacka is suffering a summer heat wave when the body of a young woman is found brutally murdered. Inspector Patrik Hedström, who is enjoying a week off with his very pregnant girlfriend, Erica, is called in to head the investigation. Right from the start the case takes a startling twist, when investigators find the skeletons of two more bodies hidden under the recent murder victim. The bones are eventually identified as the remains of two young women who went missing in the late 1970s. Suspicion falls on a local family, and as clues pile up and a fourth girl goes missing, Patrik must do all he can to keep the investigation on track, even as he uncovers a twisted web of lies and deception that goes back generations.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Early in the novel, Jacob Hult reflects on his role as a religious leader. Despite his respected status, Jacob harbors doubts: “Something was missing inside him, and the search for t see more