One January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two men who were convicted in a case of child pornography - crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing. While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play, and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.
... an accomplished piece of storytelling. A deftly plotted and perfectly paced mystery, it’s a tale that smoulders rather than explodes, but that allows the emotional impact of the topic to hit home even harder. The writing is taut and the dialogue sharp as befits a genuine classically styled hardboiled detective novel ... The quality of Staalesen’s writing shows in the way he makes it clear how devastating child abuse is without revelling in nastiness. Still, it’s heart-breaking and scary ... I savoured the novel’s smooth, easy style ... Clearly translator Don Bartlett has an excellent understanding of Staalesen’s writing ... Haunting, dark and totally noir, a great read.
Veum is tenacious in his investigation, visiting protagonists repeatedly with more questions, à la Columbo ... Although this 20th 'Varg Veum' mystery, only some of which are available in English, stands alone, reading the backstory from its predecessor would be helpful. Action takes place primarily in the denouement, but the series’ signature strengths of well-developed characters and a engaging story line are on full display.