The rolling grounds of the former mental institution Beckomberga in Stockholm have been turned into an exclusive suburban housing development, where the new inhabitants differ vastly from those who once lived there. One night, Svante Levander, a consultant who has just moved to the park with his new fiancée, is brutally stabbed to death on his way home from the grocery store. Svante’s ex-wife Eva, who had been following him that night, is beaten unconscious by the murderer. When the police open an investigation, Eva finds herself the primary suspect in what is painted as a passion killing by an obsessive – and unstable – thwarted ex-wife. Eva is unstable, but is she a killer? With no one on her side, Eva must set out to prove her own innocence.
Eva distinctly remembers a Romani woman begging outside the grocery store on the night of the murder; if she can find the woman, she will have a witness who can clear her name. Thus begins a hunt for the Romani woman that takes Eva from underground clubs in Berlin to the slums of Bucharest. While Eva seeks to find her own resolution – both in regard to her love for Svante and what happened to him – she is forced to navigate a complex world of abject poverty and internal loyalties that she is ill-equipped to handle.
A few days after Svante Levander’s murder, a group of boys from the Beckomberga area make a shocking discovery: human remains buried close to the crime scene. A few of the bones are quite old, but others are more recent. Are they connected to Svante’s murder, or might these new bodies be related to the hushed-up history of the Beckomberga mental institution? What had really been going on at the asylum all those years ago? Meanwhile, a dog goes missing, and a little girl reports seeing a white-clad figure staring through her bedroom window. The police rev up a hunt for what may be a serial killer, while the residents of the park create vigilante groups to defend themselves.
Demons from the past stalk the present in this evocative thriller about obsession, insanity, and the hidden realities of lives lived between the cracks.
“Dramatic, thrilling, small-scale and enormous at the same time. And the language! Alsterdal is fantastic, end of story.”
“Thrilling, well-written and highly topical.”
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet (SE)
“Tove Alsterdal is among the top tier of Swedish crime writers, she’s perhaps the best one.”
Dast Magazine (SE)
“Cleverly constructed and an exceptionally credible plot.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Alsterdal is one of those crime writers who raises the bar, she’s an honor for the whole genre.”
“An absolutely smashing thriller.”