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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 31 October 2011
'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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 October 2011
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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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2011
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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on 13 January 2012
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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on 6 August 2012
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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on 9 April 2012
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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"In th emiddle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train.
her distraught mother, left behind at the previous station, alerted the crew immediately. But despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one noticed when the girl was taken.
To the Stockholm police, this looks like a classic custody row. But none of the evidence adds up and young Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman is convinced the case is more complex than her boss is prepared to admit.
So when the missing child is found dead in the far north of Sweden, with the word UNWANTED scribbled on her forehead, the rule book is finally thrown out of the window. Now on the trail of a ruthless murderer with a terrifying agenda, will Fredrika and the team be able to put aside their differences and work together to find the killer, before it is too late?"

This is a very accomplished first novel in the series with interesting and realistic characters and caseload. It is very well written and paced and I immediately started on the second installment - which is even better - as soon as I had finished this one.
3.5 stars and definitely a series that I would recommend for some entertaining downtime. Also there is very little gory detail which is much appreciated.
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on 22 March 2013
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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on 11 June 2014
This is Kristina Ohlsson's debut novel and it is magnificent. The main character is not a police officer, but a civilian who has been brought into the department to help with the work load. Whilst the officers are convinced, almost immediately, of the identity of the killer, Frederika wis not convinced and undertakes her own method of searching for the killer.
The subject of the novel is very disturbing as it involves the death of children, alongside the violence dished out on the killer's accomplices.
If there is a down-side to this novel, it would be the repetitiveness of the summing up from each of the detectives as the story goes along, but it's a minor matter, and made me all the more keen to move the story on!
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on 3 November 2014
I greatly enjoyed this first story by this author and I'll certainly be sticking with the series. I liked Fredrika though she can be a little odd, despised Peder most of the time and wasn't sure Alex was the supercop he thought he was but over all they worked well as a group together as they all brought something to the table as such.
It was a clever story and you'd think you figured a lot of stuff out only to realise you hadn't.......and that sentence brings me to a gripe I have with it. Americanised spellings !! Seems to be the way these Nordic translators prefer to go for some reason. A pity. In one sentence there were three-realized, specialized and organization !! Another sentence I was totally confused with-"......huge gardens, and endless bisous on the cheek".....NO idea what this meant at all.There were the odd little words inserted that were translation errors, too, I think-like of or as and on used instead of to. It got quite irritating too how many times we were informed that Mats was the analyst from the external agency !! We got that first time-it didn't bear repeating again and again.
I liked a couple of phrases used-"Children don't vanish, people lose them" and "there was a time limit on how long a lousy childhood was allowed to affect the rest of your life". Both quite true and thought-provoking.
I'm enjoying all of these Nordic writers I've picked up so far. It's good to come across a whole heap of new writers open to us now.
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