Sunday, 17 January 2016

Victim Without a Face by Stefan Ahnhem

Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles.

From the very beginning, the reader is presented with a series of terrifyingly gruesome murders. At the first murder scene a vital clue is left, a class photograph with the victim’s face crossed out. 

The police quickly learn that the classmates are all in danger and the case has particular meaning for lead investigator Fabian Risk who was also in that class. As the body count rises as former class members are picked off one by one, it becomes a race against time to try and second guess a cunning criminal before the entire class is wiped out. 

Fabian, who has just moved back to his hometown with his family finds himself as both a potential suspect as well as a potential victim. He struggles to balance out his family life with his new police job as the investigation causes him to revisit areas of the past he had long since put behind him. 

Fabian Risk is a good solid lead for a crime drama; he’s clever and just maverick enough to throw him into some risky situations, but not renegade enough to be really annoying. The murderer in this story is very scary. Intelligent, callous and calculating, this faceless fiend executes some truly horrific and inventive murders that are described very graphically and took the novel into some dark places. 

As the killer has had contact with the victims in the past, they choose deaths befitting that person’s past sins. Some are so cunningly elaborate, with maximum suffering and visual impact involved – it reminded me a bit of the Saw movies. I haven’t read a novel this graphic in ages and I was disturbingly engrossed in the action, just as eager to discover the identity of the elusive killer as the characters themselves. 

The police and investigation aspect of the book is very detailed, as is the level of forensic description which I really liked. This novel is a masterpiece in suspense and has so many unexpected twists and turns that will keep you in a state of perpetual uncertainty right up to the end. Another big plus for this book is its unpredictability which also keeps you engaged. 

Victim Without a Face is the first novel by screenwriter Stefan Ahnhem and won Crimetime’s Novel of the Year Award in Sweden in 2014, and has also been published in eight languages to date. Even more excitingly, a TV series of the book is in production with Nordisk and is due for release this year. 

I’m thrilled to be part of the Victim Without a Face blog tour, so keep an eye out on Wednesday 20th for a guest post by the author himself. Attention grabbing, chilling and suspenseful, this is a crime thriller of epic proportions. 

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