The Shadow Hunter
Stockholm, 1944. Young police secretary Elsie Svenns is struggling to find her place in a professional world dominated by men. After having lost her fiancée in a tragic accident she is forced to give her newborn daughter up for adoption. Elsie is alone in the world, fulfilled only by her job. When a woman is brutally murdered in the squalid slum of Stockholm – an area known as the swamp – Elsie is called to the crime scene to assist the investigators. But the murderer is still at the scene, and Elsie gets in his way…
30 years later, the 70’s are roaring, and the child Elsie was forced to give up, Britt-Marie Odin, has decided to follow in her birth mother’s footsteps. She prides herself in becoming one of the first female police officers in Sweden, but as a woman, she is not taken seriously. On the contrary, she is constantly put down and given duties that are far beneath her. Until one day when her female intuition is needed to help interrogate a traumatized rape victim. The crime scene sends shivers down Britt-Marie’s spine: it bears unmistakable resemblance to a case she’s had nightmares about all her life: the one that led to her mother’s death all those years ago. Only this time the victim survived.
Ten years later, we meet young police profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön. It is the 1980’s and she is fresh out of university when she is asked to consult on a murder case. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the work of the so-called Swamp killer who has eluded the police for so long. Or could it be someone inspired by his work? As Hanne digs deeper into the investigation from the 70’s, she learns that a young policewoman working on the case, Britt-Marie Odin, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Hanne suspects the disappearance was connected to the case. Had the young policewoman come too close to the killer?
Present day. Investigators Malin Brundin and Manfred Olsson are called to a Stockholm suburb where a body has been found under the remains of a demolished building. The victim is identified as Britt-Marie Odin who disappeared in the 70’s. Malin and Manfred make the connection to the case of the Swamp killer. More women have lost their lives to his brutality, from the 1940’s until present day, and Malin and Manfred now have to reach out to their former colleague Hanne Lagerlind-Schön one final time to see if she can break the case.
The Shadow Hunter is a stand-alone continuation of Camilla Grebe’s internationally bestselling thrillers, with recurrent characters readers have come to love. In this skillfully woven narrative depicting four generations of female police, masterful crime writer Camilla Grebe sheds light upon the struggle and evolution of women in the force, while portraying an exhilarating hunt for a phantom serial killer spanning from the 1940’s until today.
The Shadow Hunter was named Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy in 2019.
“It’s not unusual for a crime novel to use different timelines, in fact it’s a rather common approach. But Camilla Grebe tells her story chronologically, which makes for a completely different effect, and she constructs detailed snapshots to portray a changing society. The signifiers of time are things like clothes, food, buildings, and tv programs, but above all a female role where a lot has happened in the past fifty years. It’s worth reading The Shadow Hunter purely to get that perspective of Sweden, but it’s also an astoundingly thrilling crime novel.”
Dagens nyheter (se)
“This is so damn good in its setup where the hunt for a rapist spans over several decades, and at the same time it chronicles the conditions for female police officers during the 20th century. So smart and so well-written. And thrilling!”
skånska dagbladet (se)
“I never cease to be impressed by crime writers and their ability to juggle many things at the same time. Just think: the plot has to be perfect. The clues subtle. The suspense ever-increasing, and the characters need to have depth and life and be more than just vapid chess pieces. […] When all the pieces are in place this is simply brilliant, as in The Shadow Hunter – Camilla Grebe’s new hit that starts out in 1944 and spans over 70 years without ever losing pace. […] Devour this one and be impressed by this incredibly competent suspense writer.”
M MAGASIN (Se)
“With this book, it is clear that Camilla Grebe ascends from being a skilled crime writer to the position of one of the greatest of the genre. […] This is a fantastic and irresistible crime novel. […] Apart from being an incredibly thrilling story, this is also an eye-opener to how women have been treated, and also how far we may or may not have come. So there are many reasons to read this book, but it is quite enough if you just want to be entertained. One of the best books of the year!”
DAST MAGAZINE (SE)
“It’s obvious that Camilla Grebe has done a lot of research and the result is a first rate crime novel. In my opinion, The Shadow Hunter is the best one in the suite that includes The Ice Beneath Her (2015), After She’s Gone (2017), and Inertia (2018).”
“In this fourth novel, [Camilla Grebe] raises the bar yet again. […] After three procedural thrillers where Grebe dealt with social and political themes, she now takes on themes of single mothers and violence toward women. Without ever compromising the level of suspense.”
Lire, 4/5 (FR)
“Camilla Grebe is a master of the crime genre. […] [The Shadow Hunter] is an incredibly satisfying reading experience, and a thought-provoking reminder of the social and psychological powers that still don’t seem to allow for complete gender equality.”
Jyllandsposten, 5/6 (DK)
“Camilla Grebe’s crime novel The Shadow Hunter has deservedly been named best Swedish crime novel of 2019. […] Above all, The Shadow Hunter has the aura of a Greek tragedy – a family curse and a fatal coincidence – that make it evident that Camilla Grebe is one of our best crime writers right now.”
Politiken, 5/6 (DK)
“Camilla Grebe’s The Shadow Hunter was named best Swedish Crime Novel last year. It’s highly understandable, because this is one of the best suspense novels I’ve read in a very long time. This is my first encounter with Grebe and she is the kind of author and storyteller who grabs hold of you in the very first chapter, and who refuses to let go before the end. She does so with an engaging style and an incredibly good plot. Moreover, she has a sound and good female perspective on her story, and together it makes for a singularly good suspense novel. […] Grebe holds us steadily until the very last page. This is how the best crime writers do it, and Camilla Grebe is among the very best.”
Nettavisen, 6/6 stars (NO)
“It’s not difficult to understand why Camilla Grebe was awarded the prize for the best Swedish crime novel last year for The Shadow Hunter. […] The Shadow Hunter is not only an ambitious and cleverly constructed crime novel bordering on historical fiction – the novel is also a feminist crime epic about how women’s position in society, and particularly in working life, has changed over time. […] Grebe has never before been as political or expressed such social realism, and she shows how talented she is when it comes to constructing a crime mystery. It’s thrilling, elegant, and impressively put together. It’s a real feat that she has managed to maintain such a high level of quality in four books over four years. Grebe writes with eeriness and original metaphors and has written a crime novel that is spot on.”
Verdens Gang, 5/6 stars (NO)
“The Shadow Hunter is proof that Scandinavia’s perhaps right now best crime writer is constantly reinventing herself.”
Adresseavisen, 5/6 stars (NO)
“The book was recently named Crime Novel of the Year and that’s easy to understand. Grebe’s stand-alone sequel to Inertia is so much more than just a great crime narrative; it’s a journey through time and women’s history, and the insight into the lives of different generations of police women is both enlightening and painful to learn about.”
“A skillfully constructed tale, a real page-turner that begins in 1944 and ends in present time. […] A thrilling story, but also an excellent piece of women’s history. Highly recommended.”
Borlänge Tidning (SE)
“Fantastic women’s history and police history, and a thrilling crime mystery all in one.”
Christoffer Carlsson, Veckans Brott SVT (SE)
“Camilla Grebe is one of the best crime writers we have in this country. No clichés, no nonsense, just excellent craftsmanship where all the tools are skillfully used. […] Moving and thrilling.”
Borås Tidning (SE)
“The Shadow Hunter is an incredibly good crime novel. It’s so well deserved that it was named best Swedish crime novel of 2019. […] Apart from the murder mystery, the book also portrays women’s respect and equality within the police force for 75 years. […] It’s both thrilling, upsetting and, sadly enough, relevant. I was also impressed by Grebe’s ability to portray society over so many decades, and letting the story span over such long time really works, while keeping the main theme alive throughout the story. To conclude: The Shadow Hunter is incredibly well-written – read it!”
Bogblogger, blog (DK)
“An elegantly composed police novel with a perspective on women’s history.”
The Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy (SE)
“Once more, with The Shadow Hunter Camilla Grebe shows how brilliant she is at renewing herself […] This is so incredibly well-done, superbly written, cleverly constructed, unbelievably thrilling, historically rewarding, and so much more.”