Stone Coffin by Kjell Eriksson is the 7th book in the Ann Lindell series (Available November 22, 2016).
This is another page-turning mystery of murder, intrigue, and action by Kjell Eriksson, featuring his popular detective Ann Lindell. Like all good murder mysteries, this is a complex thriller that begins with life remembrances but also death. The remembrance lies in a poignant memory of the birth of a child and the passing of that child’s grandmother.
Six years and one day ago, Emily was born, and the very next day her grandmother died. Every anniversary of her death they walked to the church and laid flowers on her grave. They also sat on the low stone wall for a while. The woman would drink coffee and her daughter some juice.
The walk took them half an hour. They could have taken the car but preferred to walk. The slow trip to the church enabled reflection. She had loved her mother above all else. It was as if Emily had filled in for her Nana. As one love slipped away, another arrived.
She and her newborn had been transported in the Akademiska hospital to the unit where her mother lay in a state between consciousness and sleep.
The little girl had been lifted into her arms. At first it looked as if she thought yet another burden was being added to her already ravaged body.
The woman guessed that the baby’s scent brought her mother to life, because her nostrils widened suddenly. The gaunt, needle-riddled hand patted the tiny bundle in her lap and she opened her morphine-obscured eyes.
The death begins with the words, “We have a hit-and-run,” and Ann Lindell of the Swedish Police is thrust into the case of the deaths of the young mother and her six-year-old daughter. The crime was swift and merciless:
The car struck them both with full force. The child was thrown some ten meters and died almost instantly. The mother was thrown forward and the front left wheel of the car ran over her body. She lived long enough to grasp what had happened, that she might have been able to save her daughter. She also had time to note that the car swerved and slid as it accelerated and disappeared in the direction of the church.
“Why are you killing us?” she whispered.
Thus ends the life of Josefin Cederén and her 6-year-old daughter, Emily. The Violent Crimes division is drawn into the tragedy because the deaths could possibly be domestic murders with the husband and father as the suspect. The police investigation discovers that the husband had recently purchased property in the Dominican Republic that nobody knew anything about.
But this crime is just the beginning of a twist in the case. When two more victims are discovered, the investigation of the deaths accelerates into an international criminal conspiracy that stretches from Sweden to Spain and, finally, to the Dominican Republic. Ann and her colleagues uncover the truth behind the deaths of the Cederén family and find, in their search for justice, career criminals, corruption at the highest levels of government, and even animal rights activists.
Justice—what can be had of it in this case—is only partially served, and Lindell is stressed out dealing with the cases as well as personal problems.
While heavily involved in the case, she is struggling with major decisions in her own life. Having reconnected with her lover Edvard Risberg, she is facing life-changing choices. Could she relocate to his island and give up a career in a big city for country life? Is a career in rural law enforcement possible for her? Or, can Edvard give up the life he loves to move to the city? To top it off, Lindell’s got another problem: an accidental pregnancy could destroy their newfound relationship completely.
Stone Coffin is nicely paced and full of the twists and turns of a classic Kjell Eriksson novel. He is a master in this genre, and I highly recommend this latest entry into the Ann Lindell series.
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Kristen Houghton is the author of nine top-selling novels, including For I Have Sinned and Grave Misgivings, books 1 and 2 in the best-selling new series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation. Book 3 in the series, Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners, will be published Fall of 2016. She is hard at work on a new series that features a paranormal investigator with distinct powers of her own.
Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories which appear in popular anthologies.