First and foremost, a large thank you to Morgan Greene for providing me with a copy of this novel, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
I was pleased to be handed an ARC for this novel, the ninth in the Jamie Johansson collection and sixth in this DI Johansson series. Greene does a formidable job at advancing his protagonist effectively and keeps her criminal investigations on point. With some stellar narrative techniques and a story that never allows the reader to catch their breath, there is something electric about this novel, which is said to be the last in this vein of Jamie Johansson novels. Greene impresses and eager readers should devour the entire collection soon.
Tying off some loose ends from a previous case, DI Jamie Johansson is permitted to sit in on an Interpol interview. It is then that she realises that there is much more to the story than her investigation uncovered, with some whispers of new and brutal crime along the Finnish border. However, Interpol officials seem more interested in the Russian angle, hoping to nab someone swiftly.
After reluctantly being given the green light, DI Johansson and her partner make their way up to Leppasalmi, a town that does not see much light for three winter months. While the locals have come to accept the danger at night, locking themselves away at dusk, DI Johansson cannot accept this and uses her penchant for finding crime to see what’s been going on.
Local lore talks of an Ice Queen who hunts those who have committed some grievance, though specifics are never revealed to DI Johansson. However, the killings are both brutal and focussed, using killing tools from bygone eras and in different parts of the world. As DI Johansson inches closer, she is caught in the web of the Ice Queen and may soon become one of the bodies left as a deterrent to those who would think to dethrone Her Majesty. Scrambling for answers while juggling some personal struggles of her own, DI Jamie Johansson makes a move to help the residents of Leppasalmi, even if it is the last thing she does! Greene weaves a stunning story together and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout.
I can be guaranteed of a great read when Morgan Greene is at the helm. It was a random ‘would you read my book?’ request by the author that got me hooked on Jamie Johansson and her criminal adventures, something I have never regretted. Greene has done so much to develop Johansson’s character, moving her from the UK to Sweden, where crimes are just as sadistic. However as mentioned in the author’s note, there is something new on the horizon for DI Johansson, which is sure to spice things up for series fans who have come to adore this gritty copper with a backstory like few others.
Greene uses his quick writing style to pull the reader into the middle of the story by the end of the second chapter. There’s so much going on and the action seems never to wane. Throughout the story, a handful of new and recurring characters make themselves known and keep the reader highly entertained. That said, as Greene admits in his personal note, he may have piled on too many things with too many characters to be easily digested in a single story. Great plot twists and a criminal vein of happenings keeps the story focussed and allows the reader to feel attached to what’s happening. With a smattering of Swedish and Finnish, the reader can feel as though they are in the middle of the case and in rural Sweden, where English is not common. I cannot say enough about Morgan Greene or the series, though I am interested to see what the new perspective will do for the series. While I have always said that there’s no need to fix something that’s not broken, I can see the advantage of the odd tweak to make things run a little more smoothly. I await the tenth instalment with anticipation.
Kudos, Mr. Greene, for another winning piece!