Character-driven mystery with a philosophical bent...

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The posh town of Lund is buzzing...Steve and Regina Rytter are dead. But who would take down this wealthy and powerful couple...and WHY were BOTH of them targets?

Bill is feeling lost and desperate, clinging on to hope and trying to make ends meet after losing both his wife Miranda and his job as a ticket-taker at the movie theater. Struggling to pay bills and to keep a roof over his young daughter Sally's head, he decides taking in a lodger will be a quick source of upfront income. The lodger, Karla, is a student aspiring to become a judge, and she is thrilled to live off-campus and have somewhere quiet to rest in the evenings.

Karla also takes a job working as a cleaner...for a VERY wealthy client: Steve Rytter. Karla tries to talk to Steve's wife Regina, but Steve warns her that Regina is very ill and disoriented often, and needs to stay upstairs in bed often due to heavy doses of her medication....or is his warning just a cover to shield Karla from what REALLY goes on in this marriage?

Meanwhile, Jennica has started dating a rich, charming, and older man. He is a far cry from her usual round of Tinder suspects AND a welcome reprieve to spending lackluster nights at home with her cat named Dog. As their feelings blossom, Jennica starts to wonder if she has finally met the one, and why all of this seems too good to be true...and what this man could be hiding. Is he ACTUALLY single...and could this debonair stranger have a dark--and DANGEROUS--side?

It's been a while since we've heard from Edvardsson, but after the way I FLEW through A Nearly Normal Family, I was eager to get my hands on this book. Edvardsson has a way of writing characters that are so morally grey that it is hard for the reader to determine who to root for...or who is telling the truth! This was even more intriguing in his last book, with all of the characters being part of one very strange family. Luckily, ties are present here too, and though the narrative jumps from Bill to Karla to Jennica, each character was fully formed and had unique struggles, so it was never a struggle to keep track of the plot threads as we moved around.

Although I wouldn't call any of these characters LIKABLE, listening to them was enjoyable enough...but at the same time, this plot felt both a bit slow and a bit contrived. This book doesn't tread on any sort of new territory, but rather mixes aspects of a few tropes and leaves you to piece them together to reach a conclusion. The chapters were a bit long, but Edvardsson at least had the sense to add in some interstitial news article clips and police interviews between chapters to keep things chugging along, and this device was VERY needed.

Since Edvardsson truly seems to thrive in this space, I almost think he'd be better off writing a legal or crime thriller rather than this sort of 'character driven mystery with a crime center'. Edvardsson's bio says he is a teacher in Sweden, and I'm curious if it's philosophy. His background could very well inform many of the choices he makes in writing especially in terms of the moral/philosophical bent his stories seem to sneak into the pages.

Although the writing is far from flawless, this is a very enjoyable novel and one that's easy enough to read on a sunny afternoon, especially if you love a good chewy candy...with a crime-y nougat center. 🍬


3.5 stars, rounded up to 4

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