Source: Review copy
Publication: 3 Dec 2018 from Antonov Publishing
Boxes of notebooks, clues to a terrifying mystery
When small town sheriff Yolanda Demetriou comes to work that day, she has no idea what to expect from her new case – or the horrors that lie ahead.
Will she find the house where childhood dreams become nightmares?
In this dark psychological thriller, Yolanda and her team must hunt for a monster. With the life of a kidnapped girl on the line, they have no time to lose.
His Sweet has been languishing on my TBR pile for far too long and my apologies to the author for taking so long to read it.
At first I wasn’t sure what to make of His Sweet. It starts in a slightly faltering manner and initially I wasn’t sure it was going to work for me, which I think was largely down to the translation. But once the book got into its stride, which it does really quite quickly, I was hooked.
Yolanda Demetriou is the Sheriff in Crowswood, Alabama. It’s a pretty quiet part of the world and her usual duties are usually taken up with drunks or bad drivers. This does though, give her more time than she needs to dwell on her failed relationship, in some measure a result of conception difficulties.
Her company in the office comprises her Deputy, Solomon and the dispatcher, June. As the book begins, some teenagers are skateboarding by an abandoned barn when they discover a dusty box full of old notebooks.
Yolanda soon realises that what she is reading are the diaries of a young girl being held captive, but who the girl is and who might be holding her is by no means clear from the notebooks. What does become clear, the more she reads, though, is that if this girl is still alive, her life is now very clearly at in danger.
Hildur Sif Thorarensen nicely intersperses the hunt for this mysterious girl with excerpts from her diaries as the FBI are called in to assist, with Yolanda taking front and centre in the search.
The book shows the painstaking methodology that the police and the FBI pursue in order to identify this girl, who by now is a young woman after several years being imprisoned by her captor, whom she names Mr Whiskers.
His Sweet is not a long book; for me it was a one sitting read, but Thorarensen packs a lot into its pages and it is enjoyable to watch Yolanda piecing together the clues and, with the help of a little technology, getting to the core of the manhunt.
The subject matter is dark and Thorarensen doesn’t let us forget that, though her prose does not rely on graphic descriptions; instead letting our imagination do its worst as the team races to find the girl before it is too late.
I enjoyed His Sweet. The storyline was straightforward and interesting with good tension and some really strong dramatic moments. I think Thorarensen has a strong basis for a series character in Yolanda, and I’d love to see her character being more fully developed in a future novel. She certainly has tenacity and brains!
Verdict: Overall a well plotted, straightforward story that I really enjoyed.
Hildur Sif Thorarensen was born in Iceland but is currently living in Norway. She’s been writing ever since she was a little girl and alongside Medical studies and a Master’s in Engineering at University, she also took a year in Creative Writing.
Hildur’s way with words later led her into working as a journalist for a newspaper in the Westman Islands. Her first novel was published in Icelandic at the end of 2016 and in English in 2018. She’s currently working on the sequel in Icelandic which will then be translated into English.