Grand Central. (Sara Nowak, Bk.1). May 2022. 432p. tr. from Swedish by Ian Giles. ISBN 9781538754375. $28. THRILLER
DEBUT Skördeman’s literary debut following a career in screenwriting is set in modern-day Stockholm, Sweden, where police officer Sara Nowak is assigned to the vice unit and spends her days working prostitution stings. She has anger management issues and is often in conflict with the government over its treatment of exploited sex workers. When she hears of the murder of 85-year-old retired television personality Stellan Broman, Sara feels compelled to help with the investigation. Broman was the father of Sara’s childhood friends and a father figure to her. Not everyone is happy to have Sara working on the case, but she is determined. What she uncovers could shatter not only what she knows of her childhood but destabilize the world, as Cold War–era secrets are unearthed and 40-year-old plans are reborn. Throughout the investigation, Sara tries to balance her career, marriage, and family while struggling to find her place in all of it.
VERDICT Part police procedural, part spy novel, and entirely captivating as normal life collides with ideology, nostalgia, and a reminder that perhaps the Cold War is not as settled as once believed. This debut will appeal to fans of Karin Slaughter, Kjell Eriksson, and Ragnar Jónasson.
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