Fabian Risk 1: Victim Without Face – Stefan Ahnhem

Happy Sunday folks!

Spring is here (I hope!)! I can feel myself charging from the outside in, can you?

Oioioi I’m so relieved about this book! It really was worth all the hype! Malin, aka Readygoread on Instagram, has not been able to shut up about these books all the time I’ve followed her. Every time a new book has been published she’s been so excited and now I finally understand why! This book isn’t originally a part of my reading challenge this year but since I didn’t have any other books starting with the letter ‘X’ I’m gonna read the fifth book in this series called ‘X ways to die’, and then you simply have to read the previous books in the series before that right? The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:

Two gruesome murders have shocked the Swedish town of Helsingborg. The first victim, a thug who liked using his fists, died with his hands sawn off. His sidekick, a fan of steel-capped boots, was crushed feet-first by a JCB. Both men were bullies in the same class at school. Is someone serving justice after thirty years?

The killer leaves no trace behind. But for lead investigator Fabian Risk, the lack of forensic evidence is not the only problem. He too was a student in that class – which makes him both a potential victim and a potential suspect…

This is the first book about Fabian Risk, a Swedish police detective who isn’t known to follow the known and accepted path according to the reputation that proceeds him at his new station. He is different from the traditional Norwegian police detective but yet there are similarities. Risk has a certain lack of acceptance for listening to authorities, he has a brilliant mind and most often than not he believes that it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Does it ring a bell? What I enjoy with this character-building is that it is familiar but not so familiar that it becomes boring. Risk has a different attitude about him than for example Harry Hole who we know so well from Jo Nesbø. Further, there is more talk of teamwork here than in other Scandinavian thrillers that I’ve read. We’re introduced to a small group of people who are Risk’s colleagues and they’re all different in their own way which creates an interesting character gallery that I’m looking forward to getting to know in the coming books.

You’re lured into this book and it doesn’t take 100-150 pages before you start to sense some action. On the one side you have the main action of the book but at the same time Risk is struggling on home turf as well. I presume the reason for this might become more profound later on in the books but for now, the reader gets a clear sense of what surrounds the struggle though without too many details. This struggle transmits over to Risk’s work and we follow this inner struggle that Risk has with himself and I myself, at least once, thought ‘But why aren’t you thinking of your family?’. I hope this situation will better itself in the coming books but as a reader, it creates an interesting balance in Risk as a character, and I suspect that this balance can become important in the coming books.

The culprit is always luring straight outside your understanding and grasp during the story because Ahnhem gives you the puzzle pieces in a very disarrayed manner throughout the book. The edges aren’t presented first followed by the most obvious pieces of the puzzle. In between the pages, he scatter the pieces about and sometimes you get the right one to be a step ahead of Risk and other times Risk is way ahead of you. I had my fair share of trudging along after Risk I’ll admit that. I enjoy this way of reading a thriller novel and it also gives me some extra sense of suspense. There were many plot twists in this story and I was most baffled by several. They created a minefield of possibilities to where the story was heading which I really did enjoy. I hope this form of writing keeps up.

Victim Without Face is a thrilling and creepy crime novel with promising prospects for future books. The characters are interesting and give the story real depth and flare. I hope to meet several of them in later books. If you haven’t picked your Easter reads yet I do recommend that you pick up Ahnhem’s first book. It’ been translated to several languages, among them English. Happy reading!

Published: 2014

Genre: Crime/thriller

Theme: Murder, past, schoolmates

– The Book Reader


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