Having requested the second book in this series (You Will Never Be Found) from NetGalley, more about that later, I decided to read the first book, We Know You Remember, and was able to borrow it from library using Libby.
It’s been more than twenty years since Olof Hagström left home. Returning to his family’s house, he knows instantly that something is amiss. The front door key, hidden under a familiar stone, is still there. Inside, there’s a panicked dog, a terrible stench, water pooling on the floor: the father Olaf has not seen or spoken to in decades is dead in the bathroom shower.
For police detective Eira Sjödin, the investigation of this suspicious death resurrects long-forgotten nightmares. She was only nine when Olof Hagström, then fourteen, was found guilty of raping and murdering a local girl. The case left a mark on the town’s collective memory—a wound that never quite healed—and tinged Eira’s childhood with fear. Too young to be sentenced, Olof was sent to a youth home and exiled from his family. He was never seen in the town again. Until now.
It was for the most part an enjoyable mystery exploring crime, relationships and history in a small community where privacy is hard to come by and everyone knowing everything about everybody else can be suffocating. As to why I didn’t give it 4 stars, I think what made it less enjoyable was how I didn’t really like any of the characters; there wasn’t anyone who you were rooting for to use a cliché. I also felt like it was a little jumpy in places but perhaps that was translation.
The central thread of the story was well done from the murder of the father to the unpacking of what happened to the son and how that intertwines with Eira Sjödin’s family. As it progressed the suspense increased and the drama really ratcheted up.
But Eira’s relationship with other investigators and with August was off putting to me. I guess it was supposed to relate to her wrestling with returning home, her career choices, her relationships, etc. But it did not click for me. At times the narrative just didn’t seem to flow. When the story returned to the underlying mystery, it moved again.
As always, your mileage may vary…