A mother's dying wish sealed with a deadly promise. Four men with a secret they thought they'd buried decades ago. A detective in love. A man desperate to live despite the shadow of his guilty past.
After hearing her mother's deathbed confession and following the dreary funeral, Maria Adler realizes she has no other option but to seize upon her mother's imperative to do something. Dissolving the life she loathes, Maria changes her appearance and disappears. When she emerges, revenge is her sole occupation.
Inspector Van Veeteren and his associates are left bewildered by the curious murder of a man shot twice in the heart and twice below the belt. He was a quiet, utterly dull man, and the only suspicious activity his surviving wife can recall is a series of peculiar phone calls. Repeatedly the telephone would ring, offering nothing but the words of an obscure pop song from the 1960s. This siren song is linked to an identical murder, but the true link between these heinous crimes remains unknown, while a daughter's pride grows with the satisfaction of vengeance and another detective's lover offers telling insights that only an outsider could deduce.
With the critical eye and cool observation necessary for a successful chess match, Van Veeteren pursues his subject across the country, wading through outrageous leads and fruitless tips. A breathless thriller full of deception, blackmail, and cold murder, Woman with Birthmark is a chilling read.
Chief Insp. Van Veeteren heads a sterling ensemble cast in Nesser's fine police procedural, his second (after Borkmann's Point) to win the best novel award from the Swedish Crime Writers' Academy. A nameless young woman, soon after burying her mother and learning what sealed her mother's fate and her own, embarks on a ruthless course of vengeance. While the woman's motivation remains vague, her method is crystal clear-killing shots at close range followed by additional shots "below the belt." There are virtually no clues when the first victim is found, and precious few when the second occurs less than two weeks later. Slow, meticulous police work eventually produces a tenuous connection between the victims-one that suggests a potential pool of almost 30 targets. Nesser keeps readers guessing whether the killer will complete her gruesome task before the police can uncover the fatal link that binds killer and victims. (Apr.)
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April 12, 2009
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