Set in Sweden this psychological thriller is one that will chill you as much as thrill you.
“You never know friend or foe, ’til the ice beneath gives way.”
A woman is found dead, her head separated from her body with her eyes staring towards the doorway. The police force recall a case ten years previously where another victim, a man was found in similar circumstances. Are the cases linked? And where is Jesper Orre the owner of the house where the unknown woman was found?
This book is told from the viewpoint of Emma Boham, a sales assistant who works at Clothes & More, police officer Peter and Hanne a psychological profiler. All three have issues of one kind or another and these add a whole other dimension to the story as we are treated to all their back-stories that enables the reader to understand their actions in the present.
Emma Boham is the fiancé of Jesper Orre and her story starts in the past, working forwards to the discovery of the woman’s body. Jesper insisted that their relationship was kept a secret and we hear the stress of being the CEO at Clothes & More as told to Emma, these aren’t helped by malicious and frequent media articles attacking him as a person and the harsh working conditions imposed on the staff. Through Emma we get to see the business from not only her perspective but those of her colleagues with black marks being displayed on the calendar for infringement of the rules.
Peter’s story is one of loneliness and isolation, a man who has long-standing commitment issues and a teenage son who he doesn’t engage with although still being infrequently in touch with his mother. Of course we don’t just learn about Peter but also the investigation into the murder but with the pressure on to get results and no idea who the woman it is safe to say the investigation is struggling, which is why they turn to psychological profiler Henne.
I found Henne’s story the saddest of all of the three narrators. Trapped into a marriage with an authoritarian man she is also suffering with emergent dementia but she’s keen to help out especially when she was involved in the similar case ten years previously. Her love of the Innuits is evident throughout her narration and links neatly to the quote above that led to the title of this book.
I was really drawn into this story immediately, I am a lover of character led crime fiction and there were plenty of characters, aside from the main narrators to puzzle over, to sympathise with whilst occasionally being frustrated by their inability to move out of their destructive lives.
With many of the chapters ending on a revelation and then moving to another narrator and a whole new line to explore this is a book that begs its reader to read just a little bit more and of course before you know it, you’re racing towards the finishing line with heart pounding as all the pieces fall rapidly into place. I did have an inkling on one of the key players but as in the best of this type of book, guessing the person is one thing, identifying the real motive is something else entirely so close but no cigar on that score!
I really loved the setting which is mainly in Stockholm and the cold dark weather complete with snow played the perfect part in this drama that chilled me to the bone.
I haven’t read any of Camilla Grebe’s previous books which she co-wrote with Asa Träff, but the first, Some Kind of Peace is on my wishlist now!
I’d like to thank Bonnier Publishing for giving me an advance copy of The Ice Beneath Her and this unbiased review is my thank you to them. I can’t however finish this review without mentioning the brilliance of the translation by Elizabeth Clark Wessel which was so good I wouldn’t have known that this book wasn’t originally written in English.