The Vanished in the New York Times
Sept. 16, 2016
The Latest and Best in Crime Fiction
Thought Swedish detectives were depressive, did you? Meet Konrad Simonsen, head of homicide for the Copenhagen police and the seriously melancholy moral compass of a solid series by the Danish sister and brother Lotte and Soren Hammer. After being sidelined by a heart attack, Simonsen returns in THE VANISHED (Bloomsbury, $28) with orders to take it easy. But once he has admired his redecorated office (with a couch added for frequent naps) and thanked his mates for the “lovely flowers,” Simonsen plunges right back into work, imposing order on the chaotic scene of a schoolyard shooting, detecting something suspicious about the accidental death of a postman and determining the fate of an English girl who vanished in 1969. The authors’ intimate style, translated by Martin Aitken, yields character studies of emotional depth and intensity. An obese boy who drags himself to school with a submachine gun under his jacket has a brief, pathetic life in these pages, as does a teenager who survives only in poster-size photographs. Joining their pitiable ranks is Simonsen himself as a young cop (“pig, rozzer, plod, fascist, scum, bastard”) back in the 1960s, a “soldier in a war I didn’t understand,” alienated from his entire generation.
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