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Spring Remains


Spring Remains

The Nordic literary invasion continues without pause. If you like your mysteries with a generous dose of dark explorations of the human soul and psyche, there is plenty to feast on here. One of the best practitioners of this new (to these shores) wave is Mons Kallentoft. SPRING REMAINS is the fourth book to feature troubled Detective Investigator Malin Fors. Though just published in the U.S. in 2015, the novel is some five years old. Thanks to the journeyman translation of the original version by Neil Smith (who seemingly never sleeps), we are getting a look at the best of Kallentoft’s work in the series to date.

Kallentoft’s books have been following the seasons (and currently are titled after the elements), thus this new offering opens after a grim and dark winter. The citizens of Linköping, Sweden, are welcoming the reappearance of beautiful weather in early May as SPRING REMAINS begins, though for Malin the manifestation of the rejuvenation of life is somewhat bittersweet, given the sudden death of her mother. Though their relationship could be classified as strained --- or perhaps because of it --- Malin is somewhat at loose ends, wondering what might have been done differently and how the milestone will affect her own dysfunctional family, which shows signs of emotional frailty.

"Thanks to the journeyman translation of the original version by Neil Smith (who seemingly never sleeps), we are getting a look at the best of Kallentoft’s work in the series to date."

Malin is not given much time to woolgather. The peace and beauty of an otherwise uneventful day are shattered by an explosion that rocks the ordinarily peaceful town square. By the time the dust settles and the smoke clears, two young girls are dead, and their mother is left battling for her life. The murders are immediately given top priority by the police force, given that the killer or killers could strike again at any time. Meanwhile, Malin receives a startling piece of information about her own background that leaves her reeling and bitter, particularly given her recent loss.

As the hours and days pass after the violent attack, Malin follows an extremely vague and frail trail that leads her to places she never would have expected and rattles her with even more information about herself. Malin may hold the key to the violent attack, if only she could find it. The question is whether or not she will be able to stop the fiend who caused the original explosion before he strikes again.

Kallentoft writes long books that move quickly thanks to the third-person present narrative voice that is utilized almost entirely throughout and brings an immediacy to the proceedings. In addition, he has a knack for being able to seamlessly unite the unusual --- in this case, the town square explosion --- with otherwise mundane issues such as family estrangements and secrets (the issue presented here is a major one) in a manner reminiscent of such American masters of police procedural fiction as Ed McBain.

Kallentoft needs and deserves more recognition in the United States within this already crowded field. Hopefully, SPRING REMAINS and the volumes that have preceded it will gain him wider recognition. Readers certainly will not be sorry.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 17, 2015

Spring Remains
by Mons Kallentoft

  • Publication Date: March 24, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • ISBN-10: 1451642717
  • ISBN-13: 9781451642711