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Slukhål by Tove Alsterdal Swedish cover

In the small mining community of Malmberget, north of the Arctic Circle, houses are being moved from the ground that’s quaking and cracking. The mine is swallowing up the town piece by piece, and people’s memories have collapsed into the huge pit named “the hole”. Only a few people still cling to their homes, persistently refusing to leave. Two workers making the last preparations before moving a house hear a sound from the basement. Could it be an animal? When they break one of the cellar windows, they find a terrified man curled up in a corner.

In Ådalen, 700 kilometers away, police officer Eira Sjödin is investigating the disappearance of a man living outside Härnösand whose ex-wife has reported him missing. Eira and her colleagues search the man’s apartment, check if he may have left voluntarily, and contact the hospitals. But the man is nowhere to be found.

In the forests around Offersjön a few kilometers north, a photographer is taking pictures of an abandoned house when strange sounds make her leave in a haste. She does not develop the photos until a few weeks later. When she finally does, she sees something strange: in one frame there is a hand in one of the cellar windows, in the next it’s gone. Horrified, the woman forces herself to return to the house. In the cellar, she finds a dead body. She realizes that had she not left in a hurry – or developed the photos quicker – she could have saved the man’s life.

The deceased is identified as the missing man from Eira’s case; now they have a murder on their hands. Eira is thrown into the investigation under the supervision of GG. When she hears about the case of the man found up in Malmberget, her interest is peaked. The victim claimed to have been beaten and forced to give up the keys to the house; the police labelled the case as a kidnapping. Eira travels to Malmberget in order to see the place the man was found, but this proves complicated as the crime was committed in Malmberget, but the crime scene itself has been moved to Koskullskulle, eight kilometers away.

Back home, Eira is packing up her mother’s belongings to move them to a group home for people with dementia. She tries to clear out her childhood home, and her memories. Her brother is in prison in Luleå, sentenced for manslaughter. Eira has several loose flings to try to stifle her loneliness, but she is wholly unprepared for the feelings she begins to develop for GG, who is twenty years her senior – and her boss.

One morning GG doesn’t show up for work. Not the next day either. Eira and her colleagues soon realize that their boss has gone missing. They find themselves with the difficult job of having to dig through their superior’s private life, talk to his relatives, look at call lists and bank statements. Meanwhile, Eira has found a connection between the kidnapped man in Malmberget and the dead man in Offersjön: they had both been at Stadt Hotel in Härnösand, a place GG also frequented. Two men had been locked into a cellar, left to die. Is GG next?

In the dramatic second instalment of the High Coast Series, Eira Sjödin finds herself at the mercy of an elusive perpetrator – and of a love she can no longer deny.

Reviews

“In her exceptionally marvelous writing style, Tove Alsterdal treats her readers to a ride where the suspense is constantly lurking beneath the surface, where there is room for stories and digressions about places, events, and people’s experiences. A bird-watcher’s notes can be central testimony, and the people who no one is listening to may have the most important things to say. Every person in Alsterdal’s fictional Ångermanland could exist in real life, just as indisputable as the milieu. You Will Never Be Found is a completely absorbing read.”
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)

“Many suspense writers are currently writing about the Swedish countryside, and often the vast scenery and abandoned industrial towns make for haunting backdrops for murderers at large. […] Oftentimes the rural suspense novels mirror how Sweden is evolving, history as well as present. But few can pull it off as well as Tove Alsterdal, who portrays dilapidated abandoned buildings, dementia, loneliness, and present-day people who are desperately lost in a way that creates a larger narrative about the times in which we live. At the same time, she has an unprecedented presence: Ådalen isn’t just a beautiful stage for the events to take place, she knows exactly where Nyland’s hardware store and the Willy’s grocery store are located. It’s not just people who disappear without a trace, entire towns vanish as well, along with a reality that existed until just now. That is the story that can be found in the suspense novels of today.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“Despite the unsettling introduction, it doesn’t take many chapters before a sense of calm manifests itself; this is a sequel that can handle the pressure. Alsterdal’s language is rich with restrained beauty and skillful precision. Every word has a role to play, but they’re all part of the same context where nothing sticks out or disturbs the bigger picture. The plot is eerie, and the pulse rises in the pursuit of the missing man. After a dramatic conclusion, the author cleverly plants a cliffhanger for the next book – and keeps us waiting on tenterhooks.”
Göteborgs-Posten (SE)

You Will Never Be Found was everything I wanted it to be and more. […] The new novel contains work life, longing for love and erotic desire. It holds fantastical (and melancholic) depictions of nature – and an incredibly thrilling story.”
Västerbottens-Kuriren (SE)

“Alsterdal once again delivers masterfully, this is Norrland noir at the highest level, with people who struggle best they can in the vale of tears known as life, while evil is lurking in the shadows. Thankfully, there are glimpses of light; the large forest may be dark and the croaking of ravens ominous, but suddenly there’s also love, as strong and powerful as the Ångermanland river.”
Femina, 5/5 stars (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is skilled, not only at writing her crime story, but also at portraying a country undergoing change. Who is really buying the dilapidated houses in the forest? What history do these houses carry? Tove Alsterdal knows her Ådalen, and she can really depict the past and present of the area.”
Ölandsbladet (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal’s greatest talent as a crime writer is, in my opinion, something different than the murder puzzle. Granted, the macabre findings and mysterious disappearances propel the suspense in this book, but it’s the desolate houses, shut down cafés, overgrown fields, and the bad cell phone reception that provide the atmosphere.”
Västerbottens Folkblad (SE)

“[Tove Alsterdal] takes the human mind seriously, and she’s interested in local communities, nature, and history. The investigators are people like us, who struggle in life and make bad choices, as are the people they talk to. […] this is a crime novel that can be felt in your very bones, and that will stay with you for a long time afterwards.”
Stavanger Aftenblad (NO)

“Alsterdal possesses a good pen, and in Eira Sjödin she has found a character and a milieu that I will gladly keep following.”
Verdens Gang (NO)

“[Tove Alsterdal] knows how to build atmosphere, the milieu has an important role here and almost emerges as a character in its own right. The suspense increases gradually. Psychology plays an important part here, and the characters are struggling with their own lives, as we follow them through a labyrinth of lies. The character portrayals are incredibly good, so is the writing, the dialogue feels lifelike and authentic. […] This is a skillfully written psychological thriller. It is instantly captivating and manages to maintain the suspense as the pace increases. Its strength lies in the meticulously portrayed characters and the setting itself. […] A crime novel with a unique atmosphere, about the depth of the human soul, the complex effects of relationships.”
Gabo Olvas, blog (HU)

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