Synopsis from Goodreads: A bestselling author’s wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of a formally set dinner table. Her most chilling feature—her face is frozen in a ghastly smile.
At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from The Witch Hunter, the bestseller written by the victim’s husband. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she’s not looking for a single killer but rather for dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft.
They know her every move and are always one step ahead. As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won’t stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim.
This one is outside a lot of my normal reading but I wound up getting immersed in it and read it in 2-1/2 days (which included having to go to that pesky thing called work). Set in various locations in a wintry Finland, this crime thriller follows along on the investigation of a series of increasingly odd circumstances after a prominent author’s wife is found dead in their home. The main character, Detective Sergeant Jessica Niemi, has a past of her own that keeps coming back to haunt her as she investigates the crime(s). Lots of red herrings and tantalizing clues about who is responsible but fast-paced action that leads you further and further into this web. The author plays with the idea that there is a fine line between reality and one’s imagination, and it’s very hard to tell the difference sometimes.
The characters are all individually drawn, with distinct personalities, and I wish I had a friend as good as Erne. Jessica is a complex figure – she’s not easy to get to know and is that prickly friend you’d like to spend more time with but she’s not interested in letting other people into her carefully constructed (and concealed) life. The ending is a bit unclear in terms of her personal story but the mystery itself is solved.
A quick note there are multiple triggers throughout, not just with the murder and the crimes associated with it, but rape, mental abuse, physical abuse and torture as part of the secondary story line, so this one may not be suitable for all readers.
This is book 5 of 15 for my Fall Into Reading Challenge.