When it comes to books I am completely immune to book advertisements, reading samples or book shop displays. There is only one exception: life-size billboard advertisements in London metro stations. Honestly, I cannot resist - they get me every time! And this weakness provided me with some quite unpleasant reading experiences as there is often only one reason for this aggressive marketing: an average book with a lukewarm story.
During my last trip I saw a lot of billboards for “I’m travelling alone” and what should I say? They finally made me buy this book. And I didn’t regret it in this case, not in the least! Let me tell you why, as there are quite some reasons to like this book.
Of course I bought the book because of the murders. Hey, it is a crime novel, this must trigger me somehow! To hang a girl from a tree with a sign round her neck “I’m travelling alone”, this modus operandi made me really curious about who and why. This was the first hook. And like almost always in crime novels there is a duo of investigators where two clichés are possible. Two people who can’t stand each other – or two people who could work perfectly together but one of them recently had a bad experience and some kind of trauma. In any case, one of them is almost always dysfunctional, misantrophic and broken.
The broken part in this book is Mia Kruger, a detective with a very strong suicide wish. To investigate in this case they had to bring her back from a secluded part of Norway where she actually is working on killing herself with alcohol and meds. A dark character, broken but strong, soon taking the lead in finding the killer. Together with Holger Munch, the second investigator, they form a strong homicide unit with lots of active and ambitious colleagues. But it doesn’t take long until another girl is found. Hung in the same way. Time is running out, and at some point Holger finds himself involved in the crime in a way he’d never thought possible…
The book has kind of a Scandinavian – dark and melancholic – atmosphere and introduces quite a lot of different persons in a relatively short time. The pace is slow, but steady, unraveling the sinister atmosphere chapter by chapter, like a rope around the neck which is getting narrower and narrower. There are a lot of hints regarding possible murderers and motives, but also a lot of dead ends, not only for the reader, but for the investigators as well, with a plausible and well-constructed solution.
I especially took to Mia right from the start, for me she is a real heroine and the legitimate successor of Lisbeth Salander (a similar character from the famous Stieg Larsson trilogy) regarding determination and ambition, torn between destruction and a normal life, haunted by nightmares of a troublesome past – a lone wolf who softens when dealing with the right counterpart. She is gorgeous and her development is believable. Whoever is looking for a complex and chilling story with well-arranged twists and a breathtaking finale, try this one, it will be worth it!