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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Frozen Tracks. Ake Edwardson. Vintage (2008)

This is a gripping police procedural, a thoughtful plot and a very engaging cast. A number of small children are taken for a drive by a man they do not know and are returned unharmed. The incidents are all reported to separate police stations and the children are not upset by the experience. A number of attacks on college students is being investigated by Detective Chief Inspector Winter, all of them have been struck by an unseen assailant, one being very badly injured. When a student escapes his attacker DCI Winter begins to pick up the threads of the case. After small boy is picked up in a car and found injured, the other cases come to light and the pattern becomes visible. Gradually the two plot lines converge in the same brutal secrets. The reveals are superbly staged, the investigation is thoughtful, deliberate and effective, the resolution is grim and satisfying.
The story is superbly structured, the various strands of the story are expertly woven together and the links are cunningly forged. The professional and the personal context for the police officers is very well drawn, DCI Winter defying expectations by having a stable happy relationship that he is deeply committed to. One of his colleague's has a personal crisis which nicely explores the theme of the story.
The student victims of the assaults and the child kidnapper are nicely ambivalent, they have secrets that they are trying to both embrace and escape at the same time. It gives a welcome and melancholy flavour to the story and a naturally and effective complicating factor to the investigation. A pleasure.

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