Title: Sebastian Bergman
Author: Michael Hjor
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sebastian Bergman is a psychologist who used to be a criminal profiler for Riksmord, Sweden’s national police murder investigation team. After tragically loosing his wife and daughter he has withdrawn from the world, entering it only to speak to his therapist or feed his sex addiction. The death of his estranged mother takes him out of his comfort zone and back to his childhood hometown. There, he discovers a secret hidden for 30 years and one he feels he has to dig deeper into. The only way to do this is to find a way into Rikmond’s investigation into the murder of 16 year old Roger Eriksson. Thankfully, the investigation is being led by his old friend and colleague Torkel and he persuades him to let him help. Sebastian plans to get the information he needs and get out. Despite himself, however, he finds himself intrigued and then involved. He wants to find out the truth. It is a challenge he can’t turn away from.
What did I think?
Sebastian Bergman is the first in a series of Swedish thrillers written by the Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt. First published in the UK in 2012 (I think!), most likely to tie in with the BBC Four show, it is a really good crime / police procedural novel with enough twists, turns, and red herrings to keep you reading.
Sebastian is typically unlikeable and yet brilliant. I say typical because I find this fairly standard in Scandinavian crime novels. The main character is, almost always, male, damaged, and hard to like, although this could probably be said for a lot of books in this genre regardless of country of origin. This it doesn’t stop me liking them when they are well written and well paced, as this is.
The characters are well drawn and interesting, although I’m not sure any of them are truly sympathetic, and there are few wasted words or chapters. The style of writing matched the story. I felt the grimness of the surroundings, the starkness of people’s lives. Kudos here to the translator as well as the author.
So, all in all, highly recommended.