Stefan Ahnhem – Motive X
It’s only four weeks after his life was almost completely devastated, but now Fabian Risk sees light again when his daughter Matilda wakes from the coma. Yet, there is not really the time to spend it with his family since Helsingborg police have several tricky cases to solve: a young boy is found dead in a washing machine, a wom... It’s only four weeks after his life was almost completely devastated, but now Fabian Risk sees light again when his daughter Matilda wakes from the coma. Yet, there is not really the time to spend it with his family since Helsingborg police have several tricky cases to solve: a young boy is found dead in a washing machine, a woman is killed and a third murder case also does not seem to have any recognizable pattern. The team’s nerves are on the edge since all of them also have to fight with their own demons. For Fabian, there is also something that has been nagging him since they found their former colleague Elvin dead in his apartment: he cannot believe in the suicide theory and slowly, the pieces seem to fall into place, but does he like the result? Could one of their colleagues actually be a serial murderer? Stefan Ahnhem continues in this instalment of the Fabian Risk series exactly where he stopped in “18 below”. Quite often you can read a novel form a series without knowing what happened before, here, however, you will certainly not understand a lot without any prior knowledge. And it is obvious that there is more to come since, unfortunately, the big questions are not answered and this is why I could not rate it with five stars. Again, the author underlines why he is one of the big names of Scandinavian crime. Ahnhem does not tell one story, but he has several plots running parallel, oscillating between them and pushing forward the pots at a very high speed. Admittedly, I could not really say which one is the most important plot here, but it made completely sense since life isn’t a succession of stories that wait in line until their time has come. This happen at the same time and rarely do you have the time to only focus on one case or problem at a time. Since there is so much going on in “Motive X”, the character development is a bit reduced, but Risk seems to have found his private case to investigate all alone. This will surely be decisive for his life, even more than his family life which is in a very fragile state. Whom I followed eagerly again was Irene Lilja, she surely is somehow out of control, but her motives are good. All in all, a great read with all the ingredients for a thriller that hooks you at once.
Helsingborg police must solve the unsolveable. A wave of apparently random homicides is sweeping through their idyllic seaside town. The murders have no pattern, no order, no reason. The perpetrator is immune to psychological profiling; forensically untraceable; utterly invulnerable to modern police techniques.
The body count is growing. But lead investigator Fabian Risk is distracted by his mission to expose a corrupt colleague, and his boss Astrid is spiralling back into addiction. As the hunt for the solution becoming ever more desperate, their tight-knit team begins to unravel...
Motive X is both an explosive, multi-layered thriller and a fearless exploration of the darkest side of human nature. To enter Stefan Ahnhem's world, with its interwoven plotlines and sprawling cast of characters, is to put yourself in the hands of a master storyteller.
The story continues in X Ways to Die, available May 2020.
REVIEWS FOR STEFAN AHNHEM:
'Atmospheric and complicated [...] with great cop characters and some imaginatively grisly perps' Sunday Times (star pick).
'More gripping than Jo Nesbo, blacker than Stieg Larsson and more bleakly human than Henning Mankell' Tony Parsons.
'Epic in scale and ambition' Daily Mail.
'An intense journey, with an intricate plot ... Ahnhem has mastered atmosphere, pacing and intrigue' Crime Review.
'Masterly plotting, grisly murders and chilling suspense: Stefan Ahnhem keeps the threads of this complex, two-country narrative pulled tense' Better Reading.
Stefan Ahnhem is the internationally bestselling author of the Fabian Risk thrillers. He has worked as a screenwriter on Mankell's Kurt Wallander series and serves on the board of the Swedish Writers Guild. He lives in Copenhagen. Follow him @StefanAhnhem.