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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.

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