When a young woman dies peacefully in her sleep, her husband sits distraught at her side. Returning to his job at the Finland CID he finds that a murder inquiry is just beginning. A woman has been smothered while she slept and, as the case unfolds, others will be found having met death in the same eerily tranquil way. The young policeman, stricken with his grief, starts to feel an affinity with this humane killer. Meanwhile the murderer's dysfunctional relationship with his own cracked personality spawns behaviour which grows increasingly intense.
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(178mm x 111mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
In this first English translation from an acclaimed German author, a Finnish detective grapples with grief while hunting for a serial killer. Kimmo Joentaa is keeping a grim vigil at his young wife Sanna's bedside as she slowly dies of cancer. Numbly he goes through the motions of planning her funeral and informing her friends and family of her death. Meanwhile, an unnamed piano tuner has violent fantasies about his client, Mrs. Ojaranta, as he chats companionably with her in her home. When a later chapter in the same eerie narrative voice describes a sensual killing, the reader gets two surprises: Mrs. Ojaranta is the victim and Joentaa the police detective assigned to the case. Short chapters alternate between the killer and the investigator, who masks his feelings from his coworkers. Seeing this new crime through the prism of his recent experience, Joentaa rejects the logical assumption that the widower is a likely suspect. Although he's also supposed to be probing the non-fatal shooting of an abrasive politician - a more important matter, according to his superiors - he focuses instead on Mrs. Ojaranta's killer, who soon racks up more victims. In his bruised state of mind, Joentaa seems more interested in matching wits with the killer than in catching him.A stylish and creepy mystery, expertly paced. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Jan Costin Wagner
JAN COSTIN WAGNER was born in 1972 in Langen/Hesse near Frankfurt. After studying German language, literature and history at Frankfurt University, he went on to work as a journalist and freelance writer. He divides his time between Germany and Finland (the home country of his wife). His first crime novel featuring Detective Kimmo Joentaa was Ice Moon (2006) and Silence (2010), the second in the series, won the 2008 German Crime Prize. His more recent books include The Winter of the Lions and A Light in a Dark House.