As Saturday 20th December turns into the last Sunday in Advent, snow-covered Olso is in full party mode. Almost unnoticed a young girl, barefoot and clad only in a nightdress stands in the middle of Stortinsgate, singing. She is oblivious to the fact that she is between tramlines and that one is approaching...
Johanne Vik, criminal profiler is celebrating her sister's wedding along with her husband DI Adam Stubo at the Hotel Continental; the girl is Kristiane her autistic daughter, who has wandered out after the babysitter has fallen asleep. Later that night a young lad jumps into the river to try to save a drunk who has fallen in and in doing so saves more than he bargained for.
With normal routines suspended over the festive period, Johanne contemplates events both personal and professional; can she see a connection between events. Stubo is called to a high profile case in Bergen leaving Johanne to persue her own ideas; she turns to Detective Inspector Silje Sorensen to test her theory.
This is the fourth in the series of Johanne Vik novels. With so many strands to the plot it is a slow burn rather than a gripping read from the outset but even with the multiple threads the story holds together well but makes for difficult explanation here without giving too many plot spoilers.
The book does not shirk from dealing with some difficult issues of tolerance - or lack of it with religion, sex and race all in the spotlight. It also considers the effect of murder on those left behind, who have to cope with grief, yet still feel the need to preserve the reputation of the victim.
One irritation is the cover, which is defaced by a black sticker-like circle with yet another Stieg Larssen reference!