The Island Murders

When we first encounter police detective Hanna Duncker, she has just left an unfulfilling life in Stockholm and returned to her native Öland, the long and narrow island off the east coast of Sweden, tied to the mainland by an iconic, six-kilometre-long bridge. Hanna has not set foot on the island in sixteen years, having fled home after her father was convicted of arson and murder.

Both anxious and relieved to be back, Hanna settles in a small, weather-beaten cottage by the sea. Formerly a high-ranking police investigator in the capital, she takes a job at the local police station in the quaint coastal town of Kalmar on the mainland – even though it’s way below her pay grade. Her new partner on the job is Erik Lindgren, a policeman from out of town who thankfully doesn’t know about her family’s past. But the two couldn’t be more different: Hanna is awkward and reserved while Erik is friendly and can’t keep quiet for a second.

During the course of the series, Hanna and Erik will cross the Öland bridge many times to investigate crimes on the dreamy island with its long sandy beaches, green woodland forests, and iconic limestone quarries. Erik is a dedicated detective, and together with Hanna’s skill and persistence they make a great team. They gradually become close and important to each other – despite their differences. Hanna’s intimate knowledge of the island and the people who live there makes her a valuable asset to the police. But it will also put her face to face with people from her past, both people she’s missed – like her best friend Rebecka – and people she has done her best to forget.

Each book in the Island Murders focuses on a single crime. The books are told in alternating chapters between Hanna and Erik’s perspectives, and also weave in the reverse-retelling of the victim’s last day – a form that will be maintained throughout the series.

The series’ overarching narrative deals with what really happened sixteen years ago when Hanna’s father was convicted of murder and her life was shattered. Hanna has always had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right about the investigation that landed her father in prison, and later drove him to drink himself to death. Reluctantly, and with the help of Erik, she starts looking at the investigation with fresh eyes. But is she ready to face the truth?

The Island Murders is a classic crime series set in a small-town milieu where the collective memory is long and unforgiving. With an acute sense of human emotion, skilled crime writer Johanna Mo puts the spotlight on relationships, always with the victim at the heart of each story. This instantly captivating new series introduces readers to an irresistible new police duo: Hanna Duncker and Erik Lindgren. Set against a backdrop of soaring natural beauty, this is addictive and heart- warming storytelling about when good people do bad things.


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Johanna Mo is an author from Kalmar, Sweden. Her latest novel The Night Singer is the first book in a new series featuring police duo Hanna Duncker and Erik Lindgren: The Island Murders.

Learn more about Johanna Mo