Watching You

Written by Arne Dahl

Review written by Bob Cartwright


Watching You
Harvill Secker
RRP: £12.99
Released: July 6, 2017
Hbk

Another new series from a popular Scandinavian author. This time it is Arne Dahl, with a new line destined to become a popular addition to his catalogue if Watching You is anything to go by. Though I do harbour hopes that the new series won’t threaten the wonderful A team series, especially the jazz-loving Paul Hjelm.



Watching You introduces Detective Sam Berger, yet another Swedish tec with a difficult background including the traditional failed marriage and a wife and twin boys who have sought pastures new in the States. It is easy to understand how the marriage failed as Berger is not an easy to like character and even his colleagues find him something of a cold fish. But they have come to accept his failings, and as the chapters of this book roll on so too will readers.



As the book develops, Berger is becoming obsessed with the disappearance, more likely the abduction, of a 15 year old girl. He has backtracked through records of similar disappearances of 15 year old girls in recent years and is certain they have a serial killer on their hands. The problem is that his superiors won’t accept that serial killers exist in a Sweden defined by Social Democratic ideology. That being the case, Berger has to pursue his investigation largely without support from his police colleagues.



Nevertheless, it is Syl, the team member who specialises in databank and other digital searches, who turns up photos of a blond woman with a bike at the crime scenes relating to the missing girls. They track down the identity of the woman and arrest her. But the interrogation serves to overturn all Berger’s optimism when they discover they have captured Molly Holm, an undercover member of the Internal Security agency. Berger finds himself under arrest, with Blom now asking all the questions.



Blom is as much of a loose wire as Berger. Her investigations too have been conducted without the knowledge of her superiors. She has found the number of missing girls is greater than Berger realises. She also suspects that Berger is involved in their abductions. She was at secondary school with Berger and believes the abductions stem from an incident at the school.



Despite their distrust of one another they decide to co-operate in their search for the missing girls. But to do so they must both disobey the orders of their superiors, face dismissal from their respective positions, and become “rogue” investigators pursued by their erstwhile former colleagues. Such are the twists and turns which comprise the opening sections of Watching You. As the chapters unfold the story continues to present surprise after surprise, and Berger and Blom find themselves in a truly labyrinthine search for either the girls or their killer.  For fans of Arne Dahl this is one not to be missed.



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