34-year-old psychotherapist Siri Bergman is terrified of the dark. Living alone in a picturesque, but isolated area east of Stockholm, she has tried hard to convince herself that she has moved on since her husband, Stefan, died in a diving accident several years ago. But when she goes to bed, Siri leaves all the lights on unable to shake the feeling that someone is watching her at night. So when one night she wakes up to find that the house is pitch black, and the torch she keeps by her bed for back-up is not where she thought she’d left it, it seems that Siri’s worst fears have been realized. And when the lifeless body of Sara Matteus, one of her patients, is found floating in the water near Siri’s house, events quickly spiral. It is clear that Siri is in great danger, and she is thrown headlong into the centre of a murder investigation which will put each of her closest friends under the spotlight and force her to relive her troubled past…
 
Another welcome addition to the Scandinavian crime stable with this admittedly not unique premise of a plot, but with an utterly compelling and pschologically complicated central protagonist which draws you in as a reader and plays on your natural sympathy for our beleagured heroine.
     Siri is a wonderful construct of two adverse personalities being both an assured and professional psychotherapist who displays all the natural qualities needed to get to the root of her patient’s problems, but also an insecure woman traumatised by the death of her husband with an inherent fear of the dark. Finding herself attracting the unwelcome attentions of a, what proves to be, murderous stalker, Siri finds the isolated  haven of her coastal cottage under threat.  Naturally as a reader you do question her decision to live far removed from her place of work in Stockholm but hey it’s a great plot device.
     The screw is further tightened by the further invasive behaviour of her stalker in all aspects of her personal and professional relationships, causing her growing suspicion of those closest to her, who all seem consumed with a natural propensity for secrets and lies. There are carefully placed vignettes offering an insight into the motivations of her stalker which serve to ratchet up the tension further and allow the reader to play detective themselves. As we see the deterioration of Siri’s mental state the scene is set for a nail-biting denouement which is perfectly executed as her stalker closes in.
     This is a thoroughly engaging tense psychological thriller with extremely well-drawn characters and a well-imagined use of place and atmosphere as the tale moves between the tranquility and natural surrounds of the coast and the pulsing heart of Stockholm. I shall await the next offering, ‘More Bitter Than Death’  from this new crime writing partnership with interest…
 
 
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