Source: Review copy
Publication: 10 June 2021 from Vintage Publishing
I am delighted to bring you an extract from the first solo novel by Anders Roslund, the acclaimed novelist whose books written with Börge Hellström and with Stefan Thunberg have been widely acclaimed and read by millions.
Knock Knock is the first Inspector Ewert Grens novel written entirely under his own name and has been hugely anticipated. Let’s see what the blurb says:
Seventeen years ago, Inspector Ewert Grens was called to the scene of a brutal crime. A family had been murdered, with only their five-year-old daughter left behind. The girl was moved out and placed under witness protection, but while the case went cold, Grens is still haunted by the memory. When he learns that the apartment where the crime took place is now the scene of a mysterious break-in, Grens fears that someone is intent on silencing the only witness. He must race to find her…before they do.
Perfect for fans of Jo Nesbo, Steig Larsson and Samuel Bjork – don’t miss out on the latest Scandi-crime sensation.
Now, doesn’t that sound terrific? Let’s head straight into an extract to whet your appetite further:
A beautiful door.
Dark, heavy wood, early twentieth century. It somehow belongs with the muted, hollow sound of his knocking that fills the rounded stairwell, echoing off the slightly too steep steps, the high and elegant ceiling, and the flowery wallpaper that grows more lushly realistic on every floor. Ewert Grens, standing in front of an apartment in central Stockholm, knocks again even harder.
‘Somebody’s in there. I hear them all day long. I hear it through my living room floor, in my hall, even in the bathroom. You wouldn’t believe how thin the walls are in this building.’
A voice, pinched and irritated, comes from behind him. Grens doesn’t turn around, doesn’t answer, just rings the bell for a fourth time.
‘Someone’s singing – probably one of the kids, I’m fairly certain they have three. And I think it might be a TV too, very loud. It’s been on for at least a couple of days. And not during the day – all night, too. I was the one who called, I live in the apartment upstairs.’
The detective superintendent finally glances behind him. A man, just over forty, arms crossed, the kind of guy he dislikes immediately without really knowing why. The type who puts their ear to the door and listens.
‘That’s the song the child sings. Happy birthday to you. Over and over.’
The neighbour called in about the strange sounds. And called again when strange sounds turned to strange smells.
‘I’m going to have to ask you to return to your own apartment now.’
‘But I’m the one who . . .’
‘Yes – and you did the right thing. But now I need you to go back upstairs so I can take care of this.’
Grens waits until he’s completely alone before knocking a third time, impatiently, urgently, as if the muted and the hollow are calling out decisively. When no one opens the door, he bends down to peek through the letterbox, but before he gets there, someone on the other side tries to turn the lock. They don’t manage, but they try again. He can hear a quiet thump on a hardwood floor.
Thump, thump, like someone jumping.
‘Police. Open the door.’
A lock that is slowly being turned. A handle that seems to move on its own.
Ewert Grens doesn’t like using a weapon. But still he grabs the gun from his shoulder holster and takes a step back.
Her hair is quite long. Blonde. He doesn’t know anything about children, but if he had to guess – she’s four, maybe five years old.
She’s wearing a red dress. Big stains on its chest and stomach. She smiles, her face is also stained, maybe from food.
‘Hello. Is your mummy or daddy at home?’
‘Good. Can you go and get them?’
‘They can’t walk.’
How the stench, sharp, intrusive, a stench he’s so familiar with, which met him faintly as soon as he entered the beautiful stairwell and assaulted him anew the moment the child with stains on her dress and her face opened the door – how that stench doesn’t really become part of his consciousness until he takes a few steps into the hall and is standing in front of a man slumped over in a chair between a coat and a shoe rack.
‘This is my daddy.’
A large hole sits on the right side of his forehead. Shot at close range from the front, probably a handgun and a soft-point bullet, half lead, half titanium.
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That all sounds so deliciously dark and quintessentially Scandi Noir. Already I have it marked as an absolute must read!
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Anders Roslund has published ten novels to date as part of the successful writing duos Roslund &Hellström and Roslund & Thunberg. His books have been read by millions and he is the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, including the CWA International Dagger, The Glass Key and the Prix du Polar Européen.Knock Knock is the first novel published under Roslund’s own name. Photo (c) Emil Eiman