During the early hours of a bleak winter morning, a quiet snowfall erases the tracks of a bestial killer.
The February freeze shows no signs of releasing its icy grip on the town of Linköping, something police detective Malin Fors becomes sourly aware of when her car fails to start. In the midst of her frustration, her partner on the beat, Zeke Martinsson, calls to alert her of a brutal murder that has just taken place.
On the plains outside of town stands a solitary oak tree. From it hangs a ravaged, naked corpse, slowly swaying in the icy wind, eyes wide open. When Malin and Zeke arrive at the gruesome scene, they find the victim as incomprehensible as the murder: the harmless recluse Ball-Bengt. Why would someone go through so much trouble to hurt him? What could have awakened such blind rage?
Malin sets out on a grueling quest to find the murderer. The bloody killing resembles rites from the Viking period, reminding Malin of the unsolved rape of a woman named Maria Murvall that took place years ago. Her daughter Tove is in the midst of adolescence and requires extra attention that Malin does not have the time to give. Pressure mounts on the home front while the case is growing out of hand, forcing Malin and Zeke to conduct intuitive police work that is far out of the ordinary. Are they closing in on the killer or are their leads pushing them toward a confrontation with a darkness of even greater magnitude?
Midwinter Sacrifice is an explosive milestone in Scandinavian crime fiction, the first installment in Mons Kallentoft’s bestselling suite The Seasons. The novel introduces police detective Malin Fors, a complex and compelling female protagonist with a troubled past, whose struggles and achievements continue to thrill readers and critics all over the world.
“One of the best-realised female heroines I’ve read by a male writer.”
The Guardian (UK)
“A cleverly crafted, dark and multilayered murder mystery.”
The Courier Mail (AU)
”Mons Kallentoft dances an elegant dance of death on the verge of ruin.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Kallentoft shines. Thrilling, skillfully constructed with brilliant prose and thorough characterizations and settings. Mons Kallentoft’s Midwinter Sacrifice surpasses most books in the genre.”
Svenska Dagbladet (SE)
“Meditative. Dark. Really, really cold […] This is a worthy successor to Larsson’s Millennium trilogy […] This first installment in Kallentoft’s crime series is a splendid representative of the Swedish crime novel, in all its elegance and eeriness.”
Booklist, starred review (US)
“He has a completely unique style, an exquisite narrative that you drink in with pleasure […] I’m convinced: a crime novel doesn’t get much more beautiful than this.”
“A gripping opening gambit […] Investigating inspector Malin Fors is a feisty single mother, whose flaws are intriguing and endearing […] The chillingly suspense-filled story works up to a truly stunning finale.”
Easy Living (UK)
“Sharp writing and original insights add spice.”
Literary Review (UK)
“It is Kallentoft’s characterisation and distinctive, often poetic style which make his crime-writing more memorable than most.”
The Canberra Times (AU)
“Kallentoft is gifted […] He has a knack for characterisation and describing the slow burn of police work.”
The Age (AU)
“A must for the fans of Swedish crime novels.”
THE GLOBE AND MAIL (CA)
“My current favourite among the Scandinavian crime writers is another Swede, Mons Kallentoft. So far, three of his Malin Fors books have been translated into English: Midwinter Sacrifice, Summertime Death, and Autumn Killing. I loved them all, particularly for the way Kallentoft gives a voice to his victims.”
ALEX GRAY, AUTHOR OF SLEEP LIKE THE DEAD