Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend
On a hot June day in 2014, Leo Junker’s mentor – Charles Levin – is found dead. Levin has been shot in the head in the small village of Bruket where he had just moved after retiring from the police force in Stockholm. The detective in charge of the preliminary murder investigation is Tove Waltersson, a 33 year-old native of Bruket. Tove’s older brother Markus was also a police officer but was killed in a shoot-out in the harbor of Visby, Gotland, one year earlier. The loss has scarred her deeply.
When news of Levin’s death reaches Leo Junker, he is shocked and deeply saddened. Leo realizes two things: first, that the investigation will soon be taken over by the National Bureau of Investigation and, second, that he has to try and do everything he can to find the murderer. Leo leaves Stockholm for Bruket.
On Midsummer’s Eve, Leo encounters Tove Waltersson for the first time. He does not know who she is, but she is well aware of him. Tove knows that Leo was the one who accidentally shot and killed her brother that fateful night on Gotland. Now they must work together…
30 years earlier, two young police officers with the Swedish Security Service have turned crooked and are running their own shady schemes. Hot on their trail is a young journalist, about to expose them. Culminating on a dark night in November, an irreversible decision is made which will haunt the young men’s lives forever.
When the past catches up to the present, Leo is put to the test as he struggles to understand what happened all those years ago. Meanwhile, the truth may prove deadly.
In this epic tale of friendship and betrayal, of love and loss, Carlsson proves he is a master at weaving together narratives across time, while always keeping the reader at the edge of their seat.
“Of the crime novels I’ve read so far this year, Christoffer Carlsson’s new one is without a doubt the best.”
“A multi-layered book with a complex intrigue, but above all a beautiful, well-written and melancholy book about Sweden, about betrayal, failure and atonement.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Christoffer Carlsson writes in a league of his own compared to his author colleagues. His novels are true reading sensations. More and better hair-raising suspense than in Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend can’t even be found in Stieg Larsson. There’s so much captivating entertainment between the covers that you can’t help holding your breath. Moreover, even hours after having finished the last page, the idea of sleep is unthinkable. This Swede gives us literature that overshadows everything else. […] Without a doubt, neither Mikael Blomkvist nor Carl Mørck can measure up to Leo Junker. His investigative skills are unsurpassed. […] Christoffer Carlsson’s books are addictive! This Scandinavian writer is THE discovery of recent years.”
“It is skillfully accomplished […] Carlsson is, also this year, one of the most original and interesting Swedish authors writing in the genre.”
“Carlsson has always been a confident writer and his poetic noir style is easily recognized. […] Master, Keeper, Liar, Friend is not a book you throw yourself over to read in one sitting, but rather a jigsaw puzzle to assemble a few pieces at a time whenever the opportunity is given. […] Through a dramatic denouement the already worn out Leo Junker hits a kind of bottom, hopefully to return with regained strength in the next installment of this dark but unusually empathetic crime series.”
“Corruption, espionage, betrayal, and human failings are mixed together with Junker’s very private demons in an enigmatic, somewhat demanding but very thrilling and well-written tale. Carlsson’s unfailing and elegant narrative style and casual flirts with the genre are – just like in the previous books – very impressive.”
“This is Carlsson’s fifth novel, and his not at all shy nod to one of the masters of the genre, John Le Carré, is perhaps rather cocky. But this truly is a very good thriller that manages to capture the literary master’s combination of grayish inertia with hyper intensive suspense in his portrayal of the Swedish Security Service’s conspiratorial actions from the 80’s and onwards.”
Svenska Dagbladet (SE)
“Christoffer Carlsson has a flow to his language, it’s clear that he’s found inspiration from the masters of the genre. This forces the reader to constantly be on their toes, to be prepared for the unexpected. […] A style that feels forceful, authentic and alive.”
DAST Magazine (SE)
“It’s a dark and powerful tale, that jumps between different time planes that are cleverly tied together. Christoffer Carlsson is a very skilled wordsmith who makes the reader rush to turn the page.”
Upsala Nya Tidning (SE)
“Has Christoffer Carlsson lost it? Is Leo Junker’s crime solving starting to feel routine? Is the crime mystery bleak and the plot slow? A resounding no to all of these questions! He’s more interesting than ever! The complexity and depth makes it so much more than a thrilling crime mystery. The characters flourish and come alive while at the same time the prose flows and maintains a nerve in the story. […] A perfect read to cuddle up in the couch with on a chilly fall day.”
“In Christoffer Carlsson’s world, even objects come alive, the mailbox hanging askew and the road sign that catches those who are on the run. […] He writes well, Carlsson, but not that much about police work. It’s more of a suggestive relationship tale – about old sins stretching their tentacles out to bind people together through the decades, but it’s also about friendships that might last or break.”
Dalarnas Tidning (SE)
“Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend is just what you expect from a crime thriller – suspense with tragic heroes and brutal murders in the midst of idyllic landscapes.”
Trierischer Volksfreund (DE)
“Carlsson’s books are the next generation of Swedish crime: political, perfidious, and personal.”
“I can recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys suspense with more than a single narrative thread in one story, and a young, committed, and slightly flawed investigator.”
Lovely Books (DE)
“Christoffer Carlsson’s books are permeated with great storytelling zest, and in each book his narrative technique and ability to create milieus and atmosphere is developed further. […] I like it a lot, and one can simply conclude that Swedish crime literature has been awarded with a new, great storyteller. When you turn the last page of Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend you can’t help but start waiting for Christoffer Carlsson to give us yet another book to be captivated by.”
Johannas deckarhörna, blog (SE)
“The third book about Leo Junker is very skillfully written, with different perspectives in time, expertly woven together. At the same time, the story harks back to previous books both through characters and plot. […] I really like how the language and tone of these books are quite singular!”
Ebbas bokblogg, blog (SE)