Black Lies, Red Blood
Kjell Eriksson
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Buy *Black Lies, Red Blood: A Mystery* by Kjell Eriksson online

Black Lies, Red Blood: A Mystery
Kjell Eriksson
Minotaur Books
320 pages
April 2014
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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This Swedish police procedural follows the trajectory of two cases: a murdered homeless man and a missing teen. Eriksson spices up his novel with the added mystery of one of the detective’s romance with a journalist, who ironically becomes tied to the murder of the homeless man, Bosse Gransberg. The squad focuses primarily on the murder, searching for any ties to the past that may suggest why a man on the fringes of life should be brutally killed.

The only missing link is the journalist, Anders Brant, who has gone to Brazil on assignment—and to iron out a thorny personal problem. Detective Ann Lindell is currently pursuing the case of missing teen Klara Lovisa but finds herself frequently distracted by thoughts of Anders, her recent lover, and his precipitous departure after leaving her bed the night before. Since he left, Lindell has had no communication with Anders, though she attempts to reach him by email and is fearful her position as a detective may be compromised. The more his name is mentioned in the murder case, the more Anne becomes concerned that this link to Brant will reflect badly on her.

Eriksson shifts comfortably between intimate scenes with his characters—Lindell, the various detectives, the homeless man’s ex-wife, and those Lindell interviews in investigating the fate of Klara Lovisa. This broad perspective affords a view into Swedish life, both during a police investigation and among the private lives of those caught in the spotlight by suspicion. Anne’s musing on her lover, whom she fears may be lost to her now that he has been added to the murder investigation, brings him more fully into focus. Meanwhile in Brazil, Anders is dealing with his own grim experiences, witness to a stunning act of violence and unable to handle the severing of a relationship with the maturity he has expected of himself. A conflicted man, Anders is the link between the murder of Bosse Gransberg and Detective Lindell, who has finally met a man with whom she could imagine a future for herself and her young son.

There are no easy resolutions here, police procedural or not. And despite Eriksson’s dry prose and matter-of-fact approach to his characters and their problems, the novel is propelled to a shocking, violent conclusion, Anders pivotal. Lindell, nearly undone by her passion for the seductive journalist, is left with an entirely different set of challenges than she anticipated. The psychology of murder and the unknown territory of unbridled passion create a thread of tension that hums throughout the novel.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2014

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