“Nordic Noir” has become an actual category of mystery/thriller. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to the sub-genre. Although Nordbo is not yet listed among the authors mentioned, with this book it is clear (to me at least) that he is bound to be a very strong voice in the bleak landscape of horrific crimes.
Danish journalist, Matthew Cave, is sent to Greenland to research the story of a recently discovered mummified body. The expectation (and hope) is that this is a body from the Viking age of explorers. But shortly after Cave arrives a policeman who was guarding the find is brutally murdered and the mummified body is missing.
As an investigative journalist, Cave is accomplished at doing research and he soon discovers some horrifying similarities between the gutting and skinning of the policeman and a series of murders that occurred in a remote town nearby in the early 1970’s.
Although Cave manages to get the notebook of a policeman who investigated the 1973 murders, but of the locals seem to be pretty unmoved despite the gruesome nature of the killings and the local police help is tepid at best. And so reporter Matthew Cave suspects a cover-up and takes on the investigation alone. But the closer he get to discover the truth to the mummified body and the decades-old murders, the more danger he finds himself in.
I’ve read a few books in this “Nordic Noir” sub-genre of thriller/mystery and there is something remarkable and … I’ll say it … beautiful in the juxtaposition of horrible crime and stark, harsh landscape with the human drive to seek truth and retribution or closure. This book fits so nicely into this category. The crimes couldn’t be much more terrible. The title alone brings to mind such a dark visual that you have to know going in that this will be pretty gruesome.
But the story here unfolds so nicely and we’re caught, like spectators driving past an accident, that the combination keeps us turning pages. It’s a great reading experience (if you can handle the cruelty).
This is a top-notch mystery and a thrilling read. It is highly recommended.
Looking for a good book? The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo is a wonderful read in the Nordic Noir sub-genre and well worth reading if you don’t mind a little gruesomeness in your mystery/thriller.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Girl Without Skin
author: Mads Peder Nordbo
translator: Charlotte Barslund
publisher: Text Publishing
paperback, 356 pages