“We Know You Remember” by Tove Alsterdal – Book Review

First book in the High Coast series featuring Swedish policewoman Eira Sjödin.
Translated by Alice Menzies.

Winner of the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel • Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year •Shortlisted for the Best Swedish Book of the Year Award •

Imagine it… you are only fourteen years old and you are accused of a horrendous crime. As a result your parents turn their back on you, the community considers you a monster, you are sent away to a detention facility for youth. But you cannot remember doing the crime! The authorities don’t believe you. They keep saying “We know you remember“.

If I take one thing away from this beautifully written crime novel it would be the sense of place. I honestly felt as though I was in Sweden while reading it – such were the immersive descriptions and overall feel.

The characters were convincing in their authenticity. The police woman, Eira Sjödin, is native to the area where the crime took place all those years ago and her local knowledge proves invaluable. She was an interesting woman with a multi-layered personality. She worked in Stockholm until she realized that her mother’s dementia had progressed to a point where she shouldn’t be living on her own. Now she divides her days between caring for her mother and police work. The age-old dilemma of being torn between private life and work life – and she is being rendered apart. She is extremely lonely, but her home life precludes any after work social life. She is bowed down by the weight of her responsibilities. I’ve not liked a protagonist this much since Manon Bradshaw of the Susie Steiner novels.The plot includes present day murders and historic cold cases. The police force are few in number for such a far ranging rural area. The police depend on the assistance of local patrols made up of volunteers to report any unusual circumstances or activities.

Normally Eira works on the beat in Angermanland, but in this book she is seconded to help in the murder investigation by Violent Crimes Detective, Georg Georgsson, aka GG.

The book’s slow but steady pace revealed the multi-layered and complex plot much the way you would delicately peel away the layers of an onion.

The ending might not suit all readers as it was quite abrupt and did not address all of the many strings that might signify a ‘tight’ conclusion. It was however, realistic, and the perfect segue to the second novel in the series “You Will Never Be Found” which I cannot wait to read. Highly recommended to lovers of police procedurals and Nordic noir.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Harper via NetGalley.

ISBN: 9780063115064 –  ASIN:  B08RDWJGQB –  368 pages

Published September 28, 2021 (this title is from my NetGalley backlist)

Tove Alsterdal (1960) is one of Sweden’s most renowned suspense writers. She has written six critically acclaimed suspense novels and has won literary prizes in Sweden and France.

Tove Alsterdal made her debut in 2009 with The Forgotten Dead and has since written five critically acclaimed stand-alone novels. Alsterdal’s second novel, Buried in Silence, was on the shortlist for the Best Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2012, a prize she won in 2014 for The Disappeared. It was followed by Do Not Turn Around in 2016 and Erasure in 2019 – both have gone on to become national bestsellers.

In the fall of 2020, Alsterdal for the first time launched a classic procedural crime series featuring investigator Eira Sjödin and set in the stunning High Coast region in northeast Sweden. The first book, We Know You Remember, was published in October 2020 and in November the same year, it was named Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year.

In August of 2021, Alsterdal won the prestigious Glass Key Award – the award for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year, for We Know You Remember.

The second book in the High Coast Series, You Will Never Be Found, was published in the fall of 2021.

Tove Alsterdal was born in Malmö in 1960 and grew up in the north of Sweden and in Jakobsberg outside of Stockholm. During her younger years she worked as an attendant at the psychiatric hospital in Beckomberga, a place that she has portrayed in her novels. Before making a career as a suspense writer Alsterdal worked as a journalist and playwright for more than twenty years.Alice Menzies holds a master of arts in Translation Theory and Practice from University College London, specializing in the Scandinavian languages. She has translated books by Fredrik Bachman and Katarina Bivald, among others. She lives in London.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Nordic noir, novels in translation, Scandinavian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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