Search This Blog

Monday, July 6, 2015

Silenced. Kristina Ohlsson (Writer) .Sarah Death (Translation).Simon & Schuster (2013)

A gripping and very enjoyable crime story that mixes a large cast and sharp, biting plot mechanics to great effect. A special investigation in the Stockholm police have two possible cases to look at, a murder suicide and a hit and run. They have to decide if either bear further investigation or should they be referred to other units, as they investigate them it becomes clear that both are more complicated than they appear. As the investigations progress the more complicated the crimes become and slowly unexpected connections start to emerge. The story is very well constructed, the various narrative strands start to bind together as the ice cold heart at the centre starts to become revealed. The resolution is as unforgiving as frostbite and sourly satisfying.
One of the two major strengths of the book is the cast, in particular the principals of the special investigation team. Kristina Ohlsson gives them the time and space to establish their award, very messy private lives and their focused competent professional lives. The gap between the two is a consistent source of tension in the story that runs in parallel to the investigation. None are stereotypical flawed police officers, they do not have substance abuse problems or incompetent superiors, they do have significant relationship problems all of which are carefully rooted in their different personalities and domestic context's. The exploration of the cast's lives never feels like a distraction from the action in the book, they are very engaging and strongly motivated characters. Their lives very naturally extend beyond the investigation and draw the reader with them.
The supporting cast are all treated with care and attention, they are given enough space and time to establish themselves before a merciless plot catches up with them. The plot mechanics are the second major strength of the book, they are superb. They are cunningly set up and the the reveals are superbly set up and the twists are very thoughtful and have real force. When the full scale of the plans become visible the staggering impact of profound selfishness is revealed. The plot details are credible and nasty, they work because they are rooted in all too tangible motives and cloaked with self deception. The sole reservation I have is the use of sexual violence as a plot point, the impact is unexpected, I still strongly disagree with it, it always feel like a lazy way to resolve a problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment