The Summer of Ellen

Soho Crime. May 2019. 312p. ISBN 9781616959951. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616959968. SUSPENSE
During a messy divorce, Copenhagen architect Jacob Nielson receives a call from his elderly great-uncles, Anton and Anders, who haven’t been in touch with him since 1978, when Jacob last visited the brothers’ farm in rural Jutland just outside of Copenhagen. Anton, who has cared for Anders at their family farm for most his life, asks Jacob to locate Ellen, a hippie who lived with them during the summer of 1978. Ellen disappeared without a word after she witnessed an incident in the brothers’ home that she could just not tolerate. While Jacob seeks answers from neighbors about Ellen’s whereabouts, he learns more regarding the death of Lise—a young woman who was murdered the same summer Ellen vanished.
VERDICT Friis, coauthor with Lene Kaaberbøl of the “Nina Borg” mysteries, excels in her second solo novel (after What My Body Remembers). Readers of Nordic noir literature will appreciate the setting, social critique, and the classic whodunit story. Fans of Henning Mankell’s “Wallander” series will enjoy the excellent character development with twists and turns throughout. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]
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