Someone told me that this, the second book about the psychologist Sebastian Bergman, is too complicated to enjoy. There are too many threads to follow, too many background stories, too much history which is only slowly revealed. The characterization, I found, was of the best. I managed to get into the characters, into the story, into the entire atmosphere of the work, within the first few pages and lost nothing of the whole throughout the entire book. Every single thread the authors created flowed smoothly together, let an impression on the mind, and was worked into the complete picture seemingly without effort. The storyline is believable, the characters realistic, the background stories almost a high-definition print of modern society.
Sebastian Bergman has fallen on hard times - as have many other fictional detectives or similar characters before him, but this is not a bad point here - devoured by his past, addicted to quick sex and one-night-stands, lost within self-pity and a failure to find personal gratification. He moves from one meaningless affair to the next, consumed with the memory of what could have been, what was and will probably never be again. And the vision of finding a family he does not have, which does not want him.
As a series of murders rocks Stockholm, he is drawn into a complicated game, an intrigue which cannot be linked to the perfect murderer, but which has all the markings of his work. A copycat murderer with a seemingly impossible skill to imitate the murders of a long-since imprisoned man, including actions only the murderer himself, and the small team which finally caught him, can possibly know. And Bergman, a very unwelcome character in the department, is an integral, unwilling part of the whole.
The language, the characters, the entire story flows effortlessly across the page, enticing the reader to think for themselves, to place themselves into the lives of Bergman and his team. The infighting, memories, and investigation allow readers the right level of frustration over the detection process, the lives of the characters themselves, to work themselves into the seemingly complex plot without the impression that they are losing themselves in a labyrinth of dead-ends, padding or wasted words. This is crime writing as it should be, deep and absorbing.