The Girl in the Ice (Konrad Simonsen #2), by Lotte and Søren Hammer

Eight stars

Siblings Lotte and Søren Hammer return with a second police thriller translated from the original Danish. When Konrad Simonsen is called to investigate a body found amidst the ice in Greenland, he is unsure why he has been summoned or how to solve a mystery with a crime scene so vast and frozen. Returning to Copenhagen, Simonsen calls on the Homicide Unit to begin piecing together the life of the victim, Maryann Nygaard, who perished while working as a nurse in Greenland back in 1983. Simonsen begins to develop a better understand of Nygaard’s life when he learns that she served at a base alongside an early missile detection outpost (DYE-5) run by the Americans. Suspects begin to emerge, though one in particular rises to the top of the list when the victim’s appearance matches a number of other murders over a long period of time. With Andreas Falkenborg in the crosshairs, Simonsen must build a case to substantiate his claims. After an interview at headquarters shows Falkenborg to be more infantile than sinister, Simonsen cannot fathom how this man could have pulled off so intricate a plan. However, the evidence continues to mount and soon all eyes focus on him. After two women go missing, one of them a member of Simonsen’s team, the race is on to stop Falkenborg before he can add to his body count. In a wonderful follow-up novel, the Hammer siblings offer a thrilling story that readers will enjoy through to the final sentence. 

While I expressed some concerns with their first novel, the Hammer siblings created something much more palatable in their second piece. The story is full of twists and the characters much more involved. Even using a larger collection of central characters has not caused too many issues as the reader navigates through the story. While there are certain aspects to the story that flow as nicely as mid-winter molasses, most of the plot finds its way firmly associated with the murders and backstory of those under investigation. While I have read a nice cross-section of Scandinavian police procedurals (Kepler, Larsson, Horst, and Nesbø), Hammer does not disappoint, even if the writing is not as crisp. The translation from Danish does provide a superior product, leaving me to wonder how novels penned in English seem to pale in comparison. With original ideas and an interesting dark flavour to the narrative, the Hammer siblings keep the reader curious throughout and promise to continue offering insight into the man that is Konrad Simonsen.

Kudos, Mr. and Madam Hammer for such a great novel. I can only hope the next novel is as exciting and offers as many comments on society as a whole.