The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock trs #TaraChase (Kaldan and Schäfer #2) @hancock_mette @crookedlanebks

Source: Review copy
Publication: 8 November 2022 from Crooked Lane Books
PP: 352
ISBN: 9781639101177

My thanks to Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy for review

A boy has disappeared from his school. Heloise Kaldan heads over there to look into it. At the schoolyard she runs into her close friend Erik Schäfer, the outspoken investigator on this case. The boy, Lukas, doesn’t show up, but his phone does. It reveals that Lukas is obsessed with pareidolia: the psychological phenomenon that makes us see faces in random things. One particular photo of a barn door that looks like a face catches their attention. Is this where Lukas is?

Heloise is ordered to drop her current article, a controversial investigation into soldiers with PTSD, to cover the story of the missing boy. But when things that point to the traumatized soldiers appear in Lukas’ case, Schäfer will need Heloise’s help making heads or tails of this enormous jumble of clues…

This is my first book by this author and the second in this series, but that did not hamper my enjoyment at all; rather I now want to read the first book. Heloise Kaldan is an investigative journalist and her friend, Detective Erik Schäfer is a police investigator in the Violent Crimes Unit. The book is set in Copenhagen where a young boy named Lukas has gone missing. The boy has a unique interest in pareidolia, which means that he sees faces in inanimate objects.

A reported sighting of a body in a frozen moat leads to the recovery of Lukas’ bloodstained jacket, allowing forensics to come into play and the finger of suspicion is pointed at someone, only for that route to be abruptly cut off.

But one clue stands out. Among Lukas’ possessions, is a photo of a barn door. Heloise is sure she has seen that door before, but can’t quite remember where. Perhaps that’s because she has troubles of her own. As Schäfer and Kaldan work out different and parallel investigative angles, they need also to deal with their own personal issues whilst pursuing the case.

I enjoyed this book and especially liked the relationship between Kaldan and Schäfer who are friends but who have to tread a wary path between being supportive and sharing some information, but nevertheless maintaining their own investigative paths. Kaldan can be there for Schafer while she deals with her own personal issues but that doesn’t mean that he’ll deal her in on the police investigation. Kalden however is willing to use her friends to help her get to know and understand Lukas a bit better. Kaldan has a hard edge to her when she is pursuing a story and that means she takes risks and has a tendency to rush in where fools fear to tread.

Hancock also builds in some additional characters of interest, not least of whom is the local supermarket worker Finn, whose penchant for handing out fruit to local children makes him the focus of suspicion for quite some time.

Hancock builds an intriguing and suspenseful police procedural with strong characters and some interesting misdirection which keeps the reader guessing.

Verdict: The Collector is a chilling police procedural that is both tense and sometimes frightening. It is also an engaging, enjoyable read.                                  Waterstones                                     Hive Stores

Anne Mette Hancock lives in Copenhagen with her two children. In 2017 her debut The Corpse Flower introduced readers to journalist Heloise Kaldan and police officer Erik Schäfer. It won the Danish Crime Academy’s debutant prize, was a #1 bestseller in Denmark and a top ten bestseller in Europe. The sequel, The Collector, was published in Denmark in 2018 and will be published by Swift in 2023.

Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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