Where Ravens Roost by Karin Nordin

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Where Ravens Roost by Karin Nordin

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The first book in a brand-new series and it shows a great deal of promise. Northern-Scandi-noir and definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384/10h14m Date: February 2021
Publisher: HQ Digital
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008455521

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Inspector Kjeld Nygaard had been estranged from his father, Stenar, for more than a decade but when he got the rather muddled phone call from him saying that he'd seen a murder in the barn on his land he didn't hesitate to drop everything and go to Varsund. Actually, 'drop everything' rather overstates the situation. Nygaard was on suspension following the shooting of a suspect in the Aubuchon murder enquiry. There had been a complication: the Kattegat Killer turned out to be Nils Hedin, Nygaard's best friend. Still, the ten-hour drive from Gothenburg in the south of Sweden to Varsund in the far north shouldn't be underestimated.

When Kjeld got to the Norrland Farmhouse in Jamtland, he found his sister, Sara, who was obviously very harassed and not without good cause. She'd been trying to look after her own two children, work, cope with the fact that her husband was unemployed and seemingly incapable of looking for a job - and deal with her father who was in the advanced stages of dementia. Her reaction wasn't that she was glad to see her brother but anger that he'd done so little to help. She wasn't alone in having this reaction to Kjeld: his husband felt much the same and was trying to stop him having access to his daughter, Tove.

About the only person who was supporting Nygaard was his partner, DS Esme Jansson of the Violent Crimes Division, Gothenburg City Police, but his sudden departure from Gothenburg has left her to prepare the submission to the enquiry into the Kattegat Killer on her own. She's not pleased either. His father seems to have forgotten the phone call he made: there's no pleasure in seeing his son and all he's worried about is the wellbeing of his ravens which live in the barn. Kjeld wants nothing to do with the birds: he still has the torn ear from when they attacked him as a child.

Then a body turns up when an intruder starts digging up the floor of the barn.

Varsund is largely supported by Norrmalm Industries, a mining conglomerate. It's currently being run by Roland Lindqvist, in the absence of his elder brother, Peter, who seems reluctant to return from a sabbatical he took after the death of his wife and child. Roland's attempting to sell the company: his son David is all for this. He's keener on the money than actually doing any work at Norrmalm Industries.

It's the north of Sweden, not far from Finland and only twenty miles from the Norwegian border. Life is hard in the unforgiving climate with only limited daylight for six months of the year. The contrast with the south of Sweden is marked and the area around Varsund is a character in its own right. The main characters are strong and well-drawn but I occasionally had trouble remembering who was who amongst the minor characters. That's a minor quibble though as this is a good read and an excellent starting point for a new series.

You'd like to know about the plot, though, wouldn't you? Well, it's very good. There's one twist which I guessed fairly early on but the reveal about the killer is jaw-dropping. The clues were there but I hadn't spotted them at all. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

If you'd like more crime from this area we can recommend The Second Deadly Sin: A Rebecka Martinsson Investigation by Asa Larsson and Laurie Thompson (Translator).

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