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The Intruder    by Hakan Ostlundh order for
by Hakan Ostlundh
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I enjoyed Håkan Östlundh's Viper, set in Gotland, Sweden and starring police detective Fredrik Broman who, at the end of that episode lay in a hospital bed, with the possibility of permanent brain damage. Fortunately he has recovered and is back in action in The Intruder (translated by Paul Norlen).

This time, a pleasant family, the Anderssons (food blogger mother Malin, photographer father Henrik, small Ellen and baby son Axel), are under siege. This escalates from breakages, missing family pictures and poop in their home plus frightening letters, to a child's brief abduction. One of the most disturbing things they find though, is a family picture with four pairs of holes where the eyes had been. What lies ahead for them?

Gotland policeman Fredrik Broman and his colleagues investigate but, until the abduction, are not sure how seriously to take the situation. They try to track down rental tenants and find that one of them used a false identity. They investigate estranged family members of Henrik's, with whom he had an estate dispute. They find an old girlfriend of Henrik's who was at one time obsessed by him; was she still?

Malin's look-alike sister Maria comes to be with her while Henrik is away on business. Then the violence does escalate and the police take the case very seriously indeed. As usual, Håkan Östlundh delivers an excellent police procedural with very credible characters, and laced with enough red herrings to satisfy any mystery fan. I look forward to more of Fredrik Broman.

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