Would you kill for the one you love? That's the question that international bestseller Stefan Ahnhem's The Ninth Grave: A Fabian Risk Novel seeks to answer in this spine-tingling thriller set six months before the events in Victim Without a Face (available December 5, 2017).
The Ninth Grave, second in a new series by Swedish author Stefan Ahnhem, follows not one but two detectives in two countries on two cases—but the similarities end up being too striking to ignore as we follow each side of the story down a twisted and dark path to an astonishing conclusion.
Ahnhem is a gifted storyteller, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the complex whodunnit that’s actually set sixth months prior to his first novel featuring the same detective, Fabian Risk. It’s certainly not necessary to have read the first novel in order to understand and enjoy this second one, but I have a feeling that those who encounter this novel first will definitely be coming back for more.
Swedish Criminal Investigator Fabian Risk is having some trouble in his home life when he is called to investigate what is probably the biggest case of his career: the disappearance of the Swedish Minister of Justice. At the same time, Danish Homicide Detective Dunja Hougaard is called to investigate the high-profile slaying of the wife of a TV star north of Copenhagen. Soon, more bodies appear missing body parts on both sides of the Baltic Sea, and although the crimes seem eerily similar, the evidence is pointing at two different perpetrators. But we soon learn that not all is as it seems.
I found the banter between Fabian and his partner Malin—who is eight months pregnant with twins—very sharp, especially as she’s quick to stand up for herself and correct some of his more selfish ways as the strain of the investigation begins to take its toll on both of them.
“I don’t know. Sorry. I’m…” He closed his eyes and started massaging his temples. “Sonja and I are going through a bit of a rough patch right now and, to be honest, I don’t know how things will end up. And last night I didn’t get a wink of sleep.”
“You think I did?”
Fabian felt as if someone had just emptied a bucket of cold water over him.
“Besides the fact that I stayed up all night working to identify that creep in there, these two pests have made sure that the only sleep I’ve had the past few weeks is when I blink a little slower. But that doesn’t give me the right to stomp in there and behave like shit.”
“No, you’re completely right.” Fabian could only agree.
The complex and deftly woven together plot, however, is what really makes this novel shine. Ahnhem could very well be our next Stieg Larsson with this thriller that crosses international borders, highlights potential government conspiracy, and features a love that transcends death. Highly recommended.
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Ardi Alspach was born in Florida, raised in South Carolina, and now resides in New York City with her cat and an apartment full of books. By day, she's a publicist, and by night, she's a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter at @ardyceelaine or check out her website at ardyceelaine.wordpress.com.