Uprooted

A country road winds through blue-tinged mountains, a river smooth as a mirror stretches out like a second sky. Olof Hagström is driving south along the northern coast of Sweden when he makes an impulsive turn into the small town where he grew up, a place he hasn’t stepped foot in over twenty years. Outside his childhood home, something is amiss. A dog barks relentlessly inside, and water is running down the dilapidated façade. Olof searches under a familiar stone: the key is where he remembered. Inside the house he discovers a panicked dog, a terrible stench, water pooling on the floor. Olof draws back the shower curtain in the bathroom and finds his father, a man he has not seen or spoken to in nearly two decades. He is dead.

Police investigator Eira Sjödin has recently left Stockholm to return to her childhood home in the Ådalen region of Northern Sweden in order to care for her aging mother who is slipping into dementia. When Eira is sent to investigate the suspicious death of an elderly man, nightmares from her childhood come flooding back. Eira was only nine years old when a teenage Olof Hagström was found guilty of raping and murdering a local girl named Lina Stavred, but the case left a wound in the town’s collective memory and tinged Eira’s own upbringing with fear. Olof Hagström was only fourteen years old at the time, and too young to be sentenced. But when he was sent to a youth home, his family severed all ties with him and Olof was never seen in the town again. Until now.

Did Olof kill his father Sven? Eira Sjödin begins a search for Sven Hagström’s killer that will lead her back to the Lina-case. What she finds will shake the town, and her own family, to the core. A missing girl, a hidden body, a decades-long cover-up, and old sins cast in new light.

Inspired by real historical cases that came to change the law regarding rape as well as how police handle child suspects, Uprooted is a relentlessly suspenseful and beautifully written novel about guilt and memory. Just as the story appears to near a dramatic resolution, a door opens to yet another mystery. Nothing is what it seems in this intricate crime novel where past and present intertwine with effortless grace.

“Throughout the riveting plot, Tove Alsterdal elegantly weaves in ideas about the terms of rural life today, about the handling of minors in legal processes, about hate campaigns on social media, about the human thirst and longing for emotional connection.”
Västerbottenskuriren (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is one of the very best in the genre. What’s more, her multifaceted suspense novels shed light on burning topics of our times.”
Damernas Värld (SE)

Tove Alsterdal is one of Sweden’s most renowned suspense writers. She has written five critically acclaimed stand-alone thrillers and has won literary prizes in Sweden and France. In the fall of 2020, Alsterdal for the first time debuts with a classic police procedural crime series featuring investigator Eira Sjödin.

Learn more about Tove Alsterdal