Due to time restraints while I work on my own novel, reviews on this site will now comprise a book blurb and a short response.
I’m a fan of Nordic crime, so it was exciting to receive a book from new-to-me author, Emelie Schepp. Marked for Life is the first novel in a trilogy. Here’s the blurb:
When a high-ranking head of the migration board is found shot to death in his living room, there is no shortage of suspects, including his wife. But no one expects to find mysterious, child-sized fingerprints in this childless home.
Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius steps in to lead the investigation. Young and brilliant but emotionally cold, Berzelius, like her famous prosecutor father, won’t be swayed by the hysterical widow or intimidated by the threatening letters the victim had tried to hide. She is steely, aloof, and impenetrable. That is, until the boy…
A few days later on a nearby deserted shoreline, the body of a derelict preteen is discovered, and with him, the murder weapon that killed the official. Berzelius finds herself drawn more deeply into the case when, as she attends the boy’s autopsy, she recognises something familiar on his small, scarred, drug-riddled body. Cut deep into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking and trigger in her a flash of memory from her own dark childhood. Her connection to this boy has been carved with deliberation and malice that penetrate to her very core.
Now, to protect her own horrific but hidden past, she must find the real suspect behind these murders, before the police do.
Looking at the back cover (a proof copy), I noticed the letters K-E-R in red, while the other letters in the title were in black. I immediately thought there was some significance and it turned out I was correct. The Greek word Ker means goddess of death, or doom. Interesting!
A fast-paced police procedural with the usual flawed characters and grim settings fans of the genre have come to expect, Marked for Life is a worthy addition to the field. The subject matter is disturbing, even evil at times, and the investigation fraught with twists, questions and red herrings. I found this a suspenseful read that kept me turning pages, despite the chill factor, keen to find out how it would all be resolved. I did find the translation a little clunky, and the characters weren’t overly likeable, but overall, Marked for Life was a very good read and I’m keen to read more of the trilogy.
Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Harlequin Australia.