Spring Remains
A thriller by Mons Kallentoft
Book review by Jules Brenner
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Washington Square Press, released 3/24/15, 480 pp., $16.00
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While Spring has returned to Sweden for Kallentoft's latest Inspector Malin Fors thriller, we find that the season, with its perfect weather, is at least as much title continuity ("Midwinter Blood," "Autumn Killing," etc.) than anything organic to the narrative. And, a long narrative it is.

We also note in the promos for the book a quote from Sweden's "leading literary critic": "Don't bother with Stieg Larsson..." he says. "Kallentoft is better." He wishes. What planet this guy's from is the question, as it reveals the sheer envy the Swedish literary world has for the exceptional Larsson Trilogy and its record-breaking worldwide sales. Every Nordic since has trying to emulate Larsson; every Nordic publisher is feeding us idiotic nonsense with such statements out front. Ignore them. Read Larsson.

That said, Kallentoft devises an essentially one event thriller and a constantly troubled policewoman to solve the case of a powerful bomb exploding on a brilliant Spring day in the town square of Linkoping, mortally wounding Hannah Vigero and killing her twin daughters as they approach the SEB bank to make a withdrawal at the cash machine.

This occurs in chapter one just after a man wearing a black jacket with the hood up on a warm day has parked a bicycle next to the bank's cash machine. After adjusting a rucksack on the parcel rack with gloved hands, he left the set up and the square, walking.

The Economic Liberation Front, an apparent terrorist cell with evil banks on its mind claims responsibility. But Malin and her team aren't taking that at face value, thinking it could be a mask for the real motive.

Malin, weighted down by the burial of her emotionally distant mother, the control of a drinking problem, an ex-husband and her dysfunctional family's secrets, is a study in divided concentration. All of which contributes to a crime thriller that's more psychiatric case study than police procedural.

If you don't yet own Spring Remains and would like to purchase it (usually at a sizable discount), click here.