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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars keep on the wantedlist
A debut novel from yet another Scandanavian author and well up to the standards set by her contemporaries. I note that there is a new book coming next year which I hope will feature the police team created in this first novel. Perhaps, too, its translation into English will not be as long delayed as this novel which, by the way, is very adeptly dealt with by Sarah...
Published on 8 Oct 2011 by Michael Watson

versus
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I dont know if it's the writing or the translation that is at fault, but either way the end result is a rather stilted difficult to read book, sometimes unintentionally hilarious. The story itself is nothing new and the motive for the crime is pretty obvious early on, not to the three main police characters alas, who must be the dimmest detectives I have ever come across...
Published on 9 April 2012 by K. Davies


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars keep on the wantedlist, 8 Oct 2011
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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A debut novel from yet another Scandanavian author and well up to the standards set by her contemporaries. I note that there is a new book coming next year which I hope will feature the police team created in this first novel. Perhaps, too, its translation into English will not be as long delayed as this novel which, by the way, is very adeptly dealt with by Sarah Death.

We are given a series of characters, new to us, of course who gradually, as the storyline develops so, too, does their inter-relationship - from rocky beginnings to a much firmer standing.

However, the quality of the storytelling surrounding the abduction and subsequent murder of a little girl is excellent. The police are, naturally, baffled and it's left to the two younger members on the force to look at alternative views as to how and why this happened. That one is a 'civilian' and female investigator means there is an antagonism between her male colleagues and her own view of her worth in the job.

That it is Frederika Bergman who really starts to make progress will come as no surprise to regular crime novel readers and that Peder Rydh, her doubting male colleague, worries more about his own affair with another colleague will also strike a chord elsewhere. However, the author does not waste too much time in making progress, both with the investigation and the begrudging acknowledgement that the pair of them do discover clues and events in the past histories of the little girl's mother - all this eventully leading to a disturbing finale.

Naturally enough, there is an older, more senior member of the police team, Alex Recht who plays his part but who, not for the first time, is challenged by the younger members as to his abilities on the case but who calls the shots and deals with his team, fortunately for them.

The killer is slowly but surely unmasked, the author presenting the investgation is a very real life way. Police work takes time and because it does, another body is discovered, though this creates comparisons which do lead to the why and finally to the who.

All-in-all, a very competent novel, gripping, realistic and saddening that such killers just maybe exist out there in real life. Let's fervently hope not.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unwanted--Kristina Ohlsson, 31 Oct 2011
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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'Unwanted' is a very sound,readable debut police procedural novel.
A young girl goes missing from the Gothenburg to Stockholm express
train.As the girl's mother is estranged from the father,Inspector
Alex Recht from Stockholm police considers that they are dealing
with a custody battle.However his colleague,the inexperienced
Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman,has her doubts.When the
child's dead body is found in Northern Sweden,the investigation
turns on its head,and they come to chase a ruthless, skilful
killer.
This is a novel of some depth,convincing characterisation,and
an interesting plot,although at 468 pages, it could have been
made somewhat shorter without losing anything.Nevertheless an
enjoyable book ,and I look forward to reading the next one in
the series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good debut..., 13 Jan 2012
By 
K. M. Paton (Arezzo, Italy) - See all my reviews
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Deciding how many stars to give "Unwanted" is a little difficult. Whilst I enjoyed the plot, which I thought was quite gripping, the characters, especially Alex Recht, began to annoy me after a while. I found him to be plodding and pretty useless when he was hyped as the super detective who everyone wanted to work with. It was left to new girl, civilian worker Fredrika to get things really moving whilst Alex seemed to sit with his head in his hands or gazing out windows wondering what to do next. I couldn't get to grips with WHY he was supposed to be so great when he seemed so overwhelmed by the traumatic case they were dealing with. I also felt that the final unraveling of the "why" it was happening was a little too drawn out - I found myself wanting to shout at them all like I would if I was watching a TV show! Overall, a pretty good debut and I will definitely look for more books by the author.
Another point - I found the translation irritating at times as the words used in certain contexts didn't seem correct (eg: Fredrika's manner of speaking being described as "concrete" where "concise" would have been better). I read alot of Scandinavian authors so am used to translations and have never previously considered it a problem with any of the other authors I've read, but this one grated after a while.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut Novel, 6 Aug 2012
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I'm not a great reviewer or writer so if a book keeps me turning the pages and saying to myself 'I'll just read a wee bit more before I put it down' then it's a great read. This one did it for me so it gets 5 stars and it also has me on the lookout for her next book.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to watch..., 7 Oct 2011
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unwanted (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut crime novel by Ohlsson and hope it will be
the first of many. What I particularly enjoyed was the pacing of the
investigation which made me feel as a reader utterly involved- a true sense that
you were solving the crime at the same time as the detectives with no unfeasible
leaps in the plot or twists and turns for the sake of it. We all knew that Sara
was concealing something in the murky recesses of her past but what was it and
how did it connect to the killer? I liked the way the theme of `family' was
cleverly explored with not only the murder cases destroying two families but how
the detectives Peder and Fredrika were brought into this theme as well- Peder
who was practically destroying his own family by his affair with a colleague,
and conversely how Fredrika was undergoing her own mental turmoil in deciding
whether or not to have a family of her own. On the subject of Fredrika, I
thought her battle to have her voice heard in the investigation was a very
strong hook in the novel and reminded me of the characters of Elinborg in the
Arnaldur Indridason books and Alice in the excellent Swedish TV adaptations of
the Sjowall/Wahloo `Beck' stories. I think we all knew that Fredrika had the
makings of a good detective but didn't necessarily have the strength of her own
convictions and came across as cold and unyielding until her own investigative
tangents kicked in earning her the respect of her colleagues.
All in all, Ohlsson has proved herself as another star to add to the fine
Scandinavian crime stable and I will be wholeheartedly recommending this novel.
An extremely good read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 9 April 2012
By 
K. Davies "Lagavulinlad" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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I dont know if it's the writing or the translation that is at fault, but either way the end result is a rather stilted difficult to read book, sometimes unintentionally hilarious. The story itself is nothing new and the motive for the crime is pretty obvious early on, not to the three main police characters alas, who must be the dimmest detectives I have ever come across. This book is riding the wave of some truly excellent scandinavian crime thrillers that we have recently had, but alas this is not one of them.
I usually use three criteria to judge a book.
Did I enjoy it?
Would I recommend it?
Would I read the author again?
I'm afraid it's a resounding no to all three.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad but, 3 May 2012
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Yes this is a good read , the story rolls along and I did spend all afternoon with it BUT this should not be compared to either The Killing [ lack of depth and layering here] or Jo Nesbo [ this isnt a scary story ] . The police proceedures are detailed [ Ohlsson has a police back ground ] but it is a rather light weight thriller [ think ITV production rather than oscar winner edge of seat . Not bad if its raining outside , but its neat little ending was a little too cosy to totally satisfy me .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting debut Swedish crime novel on disturbing theme, 7 Jan 2012
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unwanted (Paperback)
Unwanted is a readable police-procedural set in Stockholm but telling a story that takes the investigators to several Swedish cities and towns, providing for me a distinctive geographical background, as most of the many Swedish crime novels I have read are set in one location. The plot concerns the disappearance of a young child, Lilian, from a crowded train travelling from Gothenberg to Stockholm. Sara, the girl's mother, has stepped out onto the platform to make a phone call during a 10-minute wait on the train's route. She has been distracted by a distraught young woman who needed help with her dog, and missed the train when it left. Despite the train guard watching over the little girl until her mother can reach Stockholm by taxi, Lilian goes missing.

The team assigned to investigate this case consists of Alex, a legend in his own police force for the number of previous crimes he's solved; Peder, an ambitious young cop; Fredrika, one of the new breed of graduate entrants; and Erica, who takes phone calls and provides administrative support. Soon they are joined by Mats, a data analyst. Alex and Peder are both extreme sexists who despise Fredrika on various grounds: she's a woman, a graduate, intelligent, attractive, professional not gushing (over them), and believes in modern policing methods. The two men are quick to dismiss Fredrika's instinct that the young woman with the dog needs investigation, insisting on trying to find their top suspect, Lilian's father, who is estranged from Sara, the girl's mother.

Fredrika spends time interviewing the horrible mother of the missing man, while Peder eventually makes a discovery that explains his absence. Although Alex at this point realises that Fredrika was correct all along, he does not acknowledge his mistake (which turns out to have been a very bad one) and continues to patronise her and the analyst Mats, whose name he does not even bother to remember. Alex does not seem to have any supervisors himself, being allowed to operate independently, so the entire investigation is mainly limited to his small group and will succeed or fail according to Alex's personal handling of it. (This does not seem realistic to me.)

A main theme in this book is the awfulness of men. Here, they are portrayed almost universally as physical abusers of women, or mental abusers (both Fredrika and Erica have boyfriends that fit into this category), or they are just awful in general in their personal and professional relationships, like Peder. The author does much to stoke the reader's anger about all this horrible behaviour, but never really follows through on any of the various plotlines featuring most characters. In contrast, almost all the women are portrayed positively, with the exception of Lilian's grandmother.

I am not sure what to make of this book. It is readable and I enjoyed it. The ongoing investigation, once it gets onto the right track, is involving, particularly when Fredrika is allowed to demonstrate her talents (considerably greater than her male colleagues'). But the subject-matter of the investigation is very distressing, and I felt that the cruel suffering of the victims (the children and their mothers) was rather brushed-over in the interests of the predictable plot (I am sure I am not the only reader who will have worked out long before any of the police what is going on and what simple action therefore needs to be taken to find out the identity of the criminal).

At least the crime descriptions are not graphic, but there is not enough emotional depth in the book to convince me that it is a sincere, rather than a commercial, novel. In addition, the ending was disappointing, as several possible clues (a bit clunky in most cases) and outcomes were jettisoned in favour of a "plucked out of the air" solution and a fake-heroic climax. And although there is a brief coda letting the reader know what happens to the police team, their lives are perhaps of less interest to readers than those of some of the victims of the crimes, about whom we learn nothing once their part in the plot is over. Despite my criticism, I do think the author has talent as a storyteller, so I may read her next book to see if it an improvement on some of the less-good aspects of this debut.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating new police team that will undoubtedly return, 26 July 2014
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unwanted (Paperback)
It is rare today to find a police procedural debut novelist not thinking ahead to a possible series and Kristina Ohlsson’s first book featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alex Recht, translated by Sarah Death, is no exception. [Readers should note that there is an Australian author called Kristina Olsson.]

Amongst other posts, Ohlsson has worked at the National Swedish Police Board, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Swedish National Defence, and here she is sure-footed in her descriptions of the Stockholm police and their investigation. One would expect the experiences of her other posts to come to the fore in her later books.

This is a convincing book which deals with violence again females and children, and so will not be to everyone’s taste. However, the violence is less graphic than in many other contemporary books. The special investigation police team is led by the ‘legendary’ Recht and includes the ambitious Peder Rydh, an administrative assistant, Ellen Lindh and Frederika Bergman. The latter is a non-police graduate entrant who has to overcome the prejudice of her male colleagues.

Ohlsson loads character deficiencies on her police team: Recht is rather arrogant, beginning to feel his age, dismissive of alternative approaches and ideas to his own, and he and his wife have lost touch with their son who is living in South America; Rydh is boorish, unfaithful to his wife and distant to his young children; Lindh is in a relationship with an unknown man who treats her like a Swedish doormat, whilst Bergman has a married lover, wants to adopt a baby, is unable to empathise with those she meets in the course of the investigation and lacks self-confidence. There is more than enough here to keep a dozen books spinning and Ohlsson handles the professional and personal aspects of her characters will considerable skill. Indeed, she offers external and internal perspectives on their characters that are, like all of us, very different.

There are chapters describing the criminals and their thinking so that the reader is always ahead of the investigation team but the reason for their crimes only emerges rather slowly. Unlike many other Nordic crime novels, the author takes the reader to many Swedish cities, as well as Stockholm we visit Umeċ, Uppsala and Jönköping. Eventually these locations lead to the breakthrough that brings the mastermind, simply called ‘the Man’, to book. Unfortunately, when at last he and Recht meet face to face he is given the line ‘So we meet at last, Alexander’.

One sees the main characters each reacting to the pressures of the investigation that is compressed into one very frantic week. Most prominent is Bergman who gains self-confidence and the grudging respect of her male colleagues as she make a number of important contributions to the case. Ellen remains rather peripheral whilst Recht seems singularly ill-qualified to be as famous as he portrayed; he is a poor manager and communicator, as well as showing considerable prejudice against Bergman, a trait that is particularly interesting in a novel set in Sweden. I would have imagined that his and Peder’s behavior in the early part of the book would have had them up before a disciplinary board.

The plot is clearly laid out and, quite sensibly in her debut, Ohlsson does not overdo her narrative with subsidiary investigations. In the course of the novel, Bergman’s colleagues come to realise that she has much to offer the team. The final part of the book describes the central characters several months after the end of the investigation so that the reader is prepared for the next book. In contrast, the reader is left to reflect on what has become of those physically and mentally damaged by the case.

Mothers and children are central to the personal and professional stories described by the author who does very well to give us such rounded characters, who possess sufficient secrets and weaknesses, amplified by their internal thoughts, to underpin what is likely to be a very popular series.

I still doubt whether crimes that attracts so much media attention would have been investigated by such a small team of investigators. However, in her first book the author promises much for the future. 9/10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star suspense, 22 Mar 2013
By 
kittycat 2000 (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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When a child goes missing from a train the police are hopeful that it may be part of a custody dispute as her parents have recently separated. When her naked body is found outside a hospital some distance away with the word unwanted written on her forehead they realise that they are dealing with a twisted killer who may have just started. Then another child goes missing and they know their worst fears have just been proved.
This is the debut novel from Swedish author Kristina Ohlsson who must surely have an excellent future as a thriller writer. The book is so fast paced that you almost feel the frantic desperation of both the parents and the police. Several Scandinavian authors I have read seem to write dour almost depressing stories full of brooding taciturn cops but this is entirely different. While you do get an insight into the lives and problems of the main characters who are obviously going to feature in further books, this is only a very small part of the story. They are focussed on solving the heinous crimes that are being committed and preventing the loss of any more innocent lives. The book could have been set anywhere without the plot being compromised. I have already downloaded the author's next book and look forward to starting it.
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Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson (Paperback - 21 Jun 2012)
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