Unwanted - Kristina Ohlsson

Released March 2012

Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

A mother steps just outside the train doors to get cell phone service while her young daughter sleeps on their seats inside. The train leaves and fails to see the mother chasing after the train. The conductor promises to look after the child until the mother meets them at their destination. Despite these carefully arranged plans, the child vanishes from the train without a trace, even though there were dozens of people there.

Inspector Alex Recht investigates the girl's disappearance. His gut instinct is that the girl's father took her, but then the girl's body is found in northern Sweden with a message carved into her forehead. Alex and his team --Fredrika Bergman, an investigative analyst who specializes in cases involving children and women, and Detective Peter Rydh -- must unravel the clues and stop a madman before he launches another attack.

Unwanted hooked me from the start. I'm somewhat of an armchair sleuth and I like to try to solve the case before the detectives in the books I read. Given that, I admit I was somewhat surprised that it took them so long to figure out what the message carved into the girl's forehead meant. I had that aspect solved as soon as it appeared.

Despite that, the characters' quirks and distinct personalities made me really enjoy the story. It's also the first in a series featuring Frederika, which is delightful since her character was my favorite and I wanted to learn more after she makes a surprise announcement. The novel, originally written in Swedish, is translated by Sarah Death. If you're looking for a new series to start that has characters you really enjoy getting to know, you won't go wrong with Unwanted.


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