A Family Tragedy

Three young people. Two murders. Only one truth.

Bill becomes a single dad to eight year-old Sally when his wife dies in cancer. His personal finances are a mess and in order to pay the bills he rents out a room in his apartment to Karla who has left her addict mother in the far north of Sweden to study law in the university town of Lund.

Karla takes a side job as a house cleaner and ends up at the palatial home of Steven and Regina Rytter. She soon realizes that there is something terribly wrong with the upstanding doctor and his wife. Why does Regina spend her days shut inside a dark bedroom?

Meanwhile, Jennica finds herself in a rut. She is thirty years old, single and without a career. When she meets Steven Rytter on Tinder, it seems her luck is finally changing, and they embark on a whirlwind summer romance. But there is something off about Steven…

At the end of the summer, Steven and Regina Rytter are found murdered in their home – and Bill is arrested. In this breathless page-turner from a Scandinavian master of suspense comes a story about dependency, justice, and the sometimes fine line between right and wrong. Through the alternating voices of Bill, Karla and Jennica, Mattias Edvardsson keeps us guessing: when ordinary people are faced with extraordinary circumstances, what – or whom – must be sacrificed?

The great strength in Edvardsson’s books (this is his fourth) is his ability to depict the ways in which ordinary life can start ripping at the seams. It’s very relatable. And when it tears a bit more, you can still see yourself in it. Then, suddenly, everything is busted wide open and you are left with your heart racing, thinking that it is still a plausible thing that could happen to you. (…) This is an incredibly well-written psychological novel, Mattias Edvardsson is very skilled.
Dagens-Nyheter (SE)

In A Family Tragedy, Edvardsson utilizes the same storytelling techniques as in his two previous books. However, the voices do seem more pared down and clear, while the inserted articles and police hearings add a thrilling objective perspective. (…) Mattias Edvardsson is, as made evident in his earlier books, talented in the art of portraying ordinary people with good and bad sides while simultaneously charging them with a sort of undetonated unpredictability that creates tremendous suspense. A Family Tragedy is a powerful story about loss, sorrow, difficult childhoods and the search for love, but also a tale of impulsive actions, unfortunate coincidences and questionable ethics. (…) Is it ever possible to justify a serious crime, for example? Two things are for certain: there is no black and white in Edvardsson’s world and this is very good, well-composed reading.
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)

The master of chamber drama within Swedish suspense literature is back (…) ‘A family tragedy’ is a term often used dismissively; something unpleasant has happened in a family’s private sphere, something that outsiders should keep out of. It is this historically contingent silence-culture Edvardsson intelligently – and indirectly –attacks with his new book. A tragedy is revealed already in the opening pages: the successful couple Steven and Regina Rytter are found dead in their luxurious Lund-villa. In order to find out how, and most importantly why, the reader gets to savour 370 pages filled to the brim with suspense-riddled and multi-layered writing; the book is also an odyssey for the trapped individual, someone ensnared in a multitude of dependencies. (…) It becomes a thrilling journey that includes thought-provoking anguish surrounding how to navigate difficult moral dilemmas as well as insightful meditations about different forms of dependency (…) I am certain that this book will be an obvious beach read for many – and many satisfied! – readers.
Kapprakt (SE)

“Elegant form and thrilling plot.
Deckardårarna (SE)

“The author’s storytelling hooks you from page one. (…) Edvardsson offers the reader suspense and relational drama, while skillfully portraying the ordinary man’s toil in attempting to make ends meet.”
BTJ (SE)

In A Family Tragedy, Mattias Edvardsson uses a technique of collective storytelling where the main characters’ narratives alternate in different chapters. This creates an acute sense of being present in the moment and the reader is offered multiple ’truths’ that are elegantly tied up in the end. (…) Skillfully crafted and plausible character portraits pull the reader into this tragic story.
Östgöta Correspondenten (SE)

This is infinitely better than so much else that’s written in this genre in Sweden. What makes Edvardsson so good is his ability to depict relationships. (…) The ability to, in a believable manner, write what will induce a normal person to do a horrible thing – that’s Edvardsson’s great talent. And he does it exceptionally well.
Yukiko Duke (SE)

“He is fantastic at depicting people. He gets under the skin of ordinary people that have been through a disaster. He tests people and sees what happens. (…) A Family Tragedy is much more than just a suspense novel.”
SVT, Sommaröppet (SE)

“Edvardsson has created a psychologically charged drama that grabs hold of the reader with hook, line and sinker. It’s so well-written that you are seized with compassion for the characters involved. You want them to be alright, even though you know that they are all fiction, and that they move in the grey area between truths and lies. But they could be real, you think. So, enjoy a story about a crime built on real-life stakes where the resolution is far from expected.”
Ölandsbladet (SE)

“A new book from the super popular Mattias Edvardsson – and it’s simply impossible to put down. (…) A thrilling mystery which is originally and elegantly told.”
Jenny Lindh, TV4 Nyhetsmorgon (SE)

“When the book opens, the tragedy has already happened and so the plot consists of a puzzel of flashbacks in the shape of different voices and excerpts from police interrogations. A series of events randomly link a few people’s destinies together.”
Alingsås Tidning (SE)

Mattias Edvardsson is a writer and teacher from Trelleborg, Sweden. His break-out psychological suspense novel A Nearly Normal Family was published by Bokförlaget Forum in the summer of 2018 and has gone to become a runaway bestseller in Sweden and had huge international success.

His successful follow up novel, The House Next Door, was published in June 2020.

 

Learn more about Mattias Edvardsson