This translation by Alice Menzies reads well, letting Alsterdal’s steady accumulation of haunting and guilt-drenched detail build a memorable internal world. The power of this crime novel is as much in the struggles of Eira’s too-personal investigation as it is in the criminal threats involved. Eira is a victim of her own inescapable compassion, as well as of the demands for clarity that come with her investigation. Among today’s abundant crime novels, it’s rare to find one that demands a second reading for its language and insight. We Know You Remember is one of that small group, and more American appearances of Tove Alsterdal’s other titles are well worth looking forward to.
... a riveting mystery ... The plot structure of this memorable work is brilliantly conceived and executed, and the development of an array of fascinating characters is impressive. As a matter of fact, it is as much a profound psychological study as it is a clever police procedural ... The plot is structured so carefully, so adroitly, that we find ourselves inextricably drawn in as each mystery is gradually, sometimes shockingly, solved. Or almost solved. The entire novel is chillingly challenging and expertly rendered. We Know You Remember is a superb procedural and an acutely revelatory reading experience.
Alsterdal manages the chapter and plot momentum quite well, showing skills developed early on as a book editor. Unlike many Scandinavian crime novelists, Tove Alsterdal is not concerned here with clever killers from the upper middle class. Nor does the novel target the political system or the police. The crimes involve folks in a declining but beautiful rural area, among the thoughtless young and those who will cover for them—remembering what they concealed.
While still full of very grim crimes, this mystery’s setting in the countryside during the summer makes for a less bleak setting than usual for the genre. Alsterdal plots enough twists to keep the police procedural interesting and writes a great woman protagonist; fans of international mystery will be happy to discover her.
This compelling and expertly constructed procedural, the winner of the Glass Key Award for Nordic crime fiction, makes a winning recommendation for fans of Helene Tursten’s Embla Nyström and Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.