The Night Singer
When Hanna Duncker was nineteen, her father was convicted of murder. The shame and confusion that followed left her heartbroken. To escape the small-town whispers, Hanna fled the island community she grew up in, vowing never to return. Sixteen years later, Hanna is back on Öland to clean out her childhood home after her father’s death and is rattled by the realization that she wants to stay. Hanna decides to move back, despite her brother’s cautions.
Hanna settles into a weather-beaten cottage by the sea and starts working for the local police. She doesn’t want her colleagues to judge her based on her history, but in a small community you can’t hide from your past – and it doesn’t help that her new boss is the very policeman who put her father behind bars.
On the first day of her new job, Hanna is called out to a disturbing crime scene. A fifteen-year-old boy has been found dead in the world heritage site Stora Alvaret on the southern part of the island, and Hanna is thrown headfirst into a murder investigation that will come to stir up ghosts from her past. The murdered boy turns out to be the son of her childhood best friend. He was a brooding teen with carefully guarded secrets, and his estranged father has ties to Hanna’s own brother’s troubled youth. Hanna realizes she should recuse herself from the investigation, but she doesn’t want to be the one who leaves, yet again. The hunt for the truth becomes a reckoning with people she once abandoned, and Hanna is determined to leave no stone unturned in finding the boy’s killer.
Hanna is teamed up with Erik Lindgren, a policeman from out of town who doesn’t know about her father. But he’s nosy in a nice way and tries his best to break through Hanna’s defences. The two couldn’t be more different: she is a reserved lone wolf, he is a chatty and dedicated family man. And now they’re supposed to solve the murder together.
But everyone is not happy to have the Duncker daughter back in town. Hanna has the creeping feeling that someone is sneaking around outside her window at night, and soon she begins to receive threatening messages. Hanna has always had a nagging suspicion that something in the investigation against her father wasn’t quite right. But she knows that digging up the past will come at great cost…
The Night Singer is the first book in a series set on the island of Öland: The Island Murders. Here, readers are introduced to an irresistible new police duo: Hanna Duncker and Erik Lindgren.
“[The Night Singer] is a classic police procedural where the writing is spot-on. Mo has constructed a thrilling cast of characters both when it comes to the police as well as the family and suspects surrounding the deceased Joel […] [Mo] succeeds in capturing the strong emotions that a murder evokes in a captivating and authentic way.”
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)
“Johanna Mo has established herself as one of Sweden’s most reliable crime writers. Quality is guaranteed when you get one of her books in your hands. […] The characters are brimming with life and are of flesh and blood, it feels like they come straight out of real life. […] Johanna Mo really delivers. She’s written good books before, but The Night Singer is her best one so far.”
Dast Magazine (SE)
“The start of a new series that is incredibly promising.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Johanna Mo wants more than to write a crime novel, she wants to examine atonement and forgiveness. She asks questions about what it’s like to live with guilt and the crimes committed by someone else. […] This is a captivating journey into the minds and psyches of both victims and perpetrators, and it’s so much more than just a clever crime mystery.”
SVT Sommaröppet (SE)
“I’m extremely taken by how intimate this book is. Never before have I read a fictional novel that feels so real. […] It’s also a page turner and I was urged to devour it in one sitting – just the right book to get me in holiday mood.”
“The Night Singer centers around a trauma that is charged with anxiety. […] The intensity is gruesome and consistent throughout the novel. From the beginning to the very last page, Hanna’s thoughts are continuously centered on the crimes of her father. After sixteen years it’s still ever present, with both her and the reader. It’s distressing and thought-provoking. […] Hanna Duncker is a sombre police protagonist who will be interesting to follow.”
“The Night Singer is the first part in The Island Murders series. It centers on prejudices and relationships, and follows both the victim and the perpetrator closely. The characters are complex, and the setting is gorgeous. […] A crime novel about not being able to cut the ties to your hometown and past.”
Sveriges Radio (SE)
“I can barely wait for the next book in The Island Murders series. I already knew that Johanna Mo was a great writer, but here she has undoubtedly hit a bull’s eye.”
Norra Skåne (SE)
“The Night Singer is an understated crime novel. No action-packed car chases, no serial killers or over-the-top gory details. Rather, it’s a liberatingly close-to-home tale, and it’s incredibly fitting that it is set on the island of Öland.”
“The Night Singer is even better than Johanna’s previous novels. Returning to Öland feels fantastic. This is a classic police procedural in the best possible way. The character depictions are fantastic. What Johanna Mo does so unbelievably well is the way she portrays how people are affected by a crime. Her characters are engrossing – you really want to know more about Hanna Duncker and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.”
“Intensely suspenseful in the most beautiful of settings.”
“It hurts to read about Joel’s approaching, brutal death, and his brooding over who he is and what he wants. I so want things to go well for this boy, the he’ll find himself and find peace, but all the while I know that his time is running out. Hanna Duncker is a character that I look forward to reading more about. There’s something almost touching about her secret persona. Beneath the surface she’s contemplative and full of longing, but on the outside she seems a bit stiff and intangible. […] The Night Singer is a strong first book in the series and it bodes well. It’s thrilling and well-written!”
Dagens bok (SE)
“The Night Singer is the first book in the new series The Island Murders and it’s promising, well-written and cleverly constructed. It’s thrilling to follow Hanna Duncker’s search for truth, and her struggle against those with a bad eye towards her because of her father’s crimes. And an extra plus for how close we get to the teenager Joel, who is found dead at the opening of the book.”
DALARNES TIDNING (SE)
“Starting a new series is demanding: it takes a strong foundation that will last for many books to come, and [Mo] has done so excellently. Plot, characters, setting, language, and narrative technique are combined in a way that makes me instantly long for the next book in this new series. […] Mo is incredibly good at permeating the psychology of the individual as well as the group, which gives empathy for both victim and perpetrator – and anyone in-between. Impressively skillful!”
“Well-written rural crime from Öland. […] Johanna Mo is interested in the people who live there, and portrays them with precision and warmth. She has a keen eye for everyday trivialities and what sudden changes and gruesome events can do to people. Instead of indulging in gory action, she creates suspense through the portrayal of people, relationships, and emotions.”
STAVANGER AFTENBLAD, 5/6 STARS (NO)
“Intrigues and complicated relationships that go back through generations come to light with a rich and credible cast of characters. The Night Singer is a timeless portrayal of sins inherited in a small town, and at the same time it’s quite a modern book. Both due to an underlying theme that is highly topical, and because Hanna Duncker is a fascinating and complex character. […] This one will get you hooked!”
ADRESSEAVISEN, 6/6 STARS (NO)
“Johanna Mo’s new crime series about police detective Hanna Duncker is a smashing new book with an authentic plot and a believable cast of characters that captures the reader. Even though Hanna Duncker doesn’t exactly come off as a charming Swede, she is a person that you as a reader want to get to know. The Night Singer is a crime novel that you just can’t put down, and it deserves a big and loyal audience.”
POV INTERNATIONAL (DK)
“The Night Singer is an excellent suspense novel by Swedish Johanna Mo. […] A very realistic crime story packed with engaging psychological aspects such as the relationship between spouses, infidelity, parents and children, the relationship between siblings, teenage life, he/she/they, the past versus the present, and so on. […] I am extremely taken with The Night Singer. It proves that poised and authentic crime novels can hold intense suspense.”
Findals Krimiside, 5/5 (DK)
“The Night Singer is a very well-written crime novel, where the level of suspense increases steadily from the first page. The plot is solid and extremely well thought-out. It is one those crime novels where the pages nearly turn themselves, that are impossible to put down. […] This author really knows how to portray people, and I’m very enthusiastic about the cast of characters, not least Hanna Duncker. Both main and supporting characters appear authentic and relevant. It will be exciting to get to know both Öland and the characters more in the next books in the Island Murders series.”
“The Night Singer is the first book in the Island Murders series, and it lived up to all of my expectations. The fact that Hanna was being judged because of her past even though she herself was not to blame made me feel immediate sympathy for the otherwise lonely police investigator. And the tragical fate of 15 year old Joel is constructed in such a way that I couldn’t help thinking that this could happen to my own child. How one unfortunate event leads to another, and how frighteningly little many young people share with their parents. I really look forward to the next book in the series.”