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Summertime Death: Malin Fors 2 [Format Kindle]

Mons Kallentoft , Neil Smith

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Extrait

Summer Death

1


THURSDAY, JULY 15

What’s that rumbling, rolling sound?

Trying to get out?

It’s the sound of rain coming. Thunder. Finally, a drop of water upon the earth.

But Malin Fors knows better. The heat of this summer is devoid of mercy, has made up its mind to dry all the life out of the ground, and rain will be a long time coming.

Through the noise of the lingering customers, Malin can hear the pub’s air-conditioning unit rumble like thunder, shuddering, protesting at having to work such long, demanding shifts, that there doesn’t seem to be any end to the overtime this summer. The entire contraption seems on the point of collapse, its joints clattering, saying, “Enough, enough, enough. You’ll just have to put up with the heat or slake your thirst with beer. Not even a machine can go on indefinitely.”

Is it time to go home?

She is sitting alone at the bar. Wednesday has turned into Thursday and it is just after half past one. The Bull & Bear stays open all summer, and the dozen or so customers occupying the tables have fled the draining heat of the tables outside and taken refuge in the blissful cool indoors.

Bottles on shelves in front of mirrors.

Tequila. Cask-matured. Should she order a single? A double?

Condensation on glasses of freshly poured beer. The smell of sweat and rancid old spilled alcohol is clearly noticeable in the smoke-free air.

She sees her face in the mirrors in the bar, from countless angles as it is reflected and then reflected again in the mirror in front of her and the one behind her, above the green leather sofa.

A thousand reflections, but still one and the same face. Skin slightly tanned, her prominent cheekbones framed by a shorter blond pageboy cut than usual because of the summer heat.

Malin had gone down to the pub when the movie on television ended. It was something French about a dysfunctional family where one of the sisters ended up killing everyone. Psychological realism, the announcer had said, and that could well be right, even if people’s actions seldom have such clear-cut and obvious explanations in reality as they did in the film.

The flat had felt too empty, and she hadn’t been tired enough to sleep, but awake enough to feel loneliness dripping down the walls in almost the same way as the sweat now running down her back under her blouse. The increasingly tired wallpaper in the living room, the IKEA clock in the kitchen, whose second hand had suddenly fallen off one day in May, the blunt knives that could do with being honed back to finger-slicing sharpness, all of Tove’s books in the bookcase, her latest purchases lined up on the third shelf. Titles that would be advanced for anyone, but improbably difficult for a fourteen-year-old.

The Man Without Qualities. Buddenbrooks. The Prince of Tides.

Hello, Tove? Can’t you hear Marian Keyes calling you?

Reading.

Infinitely better than a lot of things a fourteen-year-old could come up with.

Malin takes a gulp of her beer.

Still doesn’t feel tired.

But lonely? Or something else?

Summer lethargy at the police station, no work to tire her out, or that she could be swallowed up by. She had spent all day wishing something would happen.

But nothing had.

No bodies had been discovered. No one had been reported missing. No summer rapes. Nothing remarkable at all, apart from the heat and the forest fires that were raging up in the Tjällmo forests, resisting all attempts to put them out, and devouring more and more hectares of prime trees with every passing day.

She thinks about the fire brigade, working flat-out. About all the volunteers. A few police cars there to direct the traffic, but nothing for her or her partner, Zeke Martinsson, to do. When the wind is in the right direction she can smell the smoke from the fires, which seems only fitting seeing as the whole of Linköping is enveloped in a hellish heat, day and night alike, in the hot winds from the south that have parked themselves on top of the southern half of the country, as if they had been screwed down onto the landscape by the prevailing area of high pressure.

The hottest summer in living memory.

Malin takes another mouthful of beer. Its bitterness and coolness ease the residual heat in her body.

Outside the city is sweaty, tinted dull sepia, pale-green, and gray. Linköping is empty of people, and only those who have to work or have no money or no place to escape to are left in the city. Most of the university students have gone back to their hometowns. The streets are eerily empty even in the middle of the day, businesses stay open only because they have to, seeing as the summer temps have already been taken on. Only one business is booming: Bosse’s Ice Cream, homemade ice cream sold from a hole in the wall on Hospitalsgatan. Day after day there are queues outside Bosse’s; it’s a mystery how everyone gets there without being visible anywhere along the way.

It’s so hot that you can’t move.

A hundred, a hundred and one, a hundred and two degrees, and the day before yesterday a new local record was reached: a hundred and nine degrees at the weather station out on the plain at Malmslätt.

“Record-breaking heat wave!”

“Old record smashed.”

“This summer unlike any other.”

There’s a cheerfulness in the tone, an energy in the headlines of the Östgöta Correspondent that isn’t matched by the pace of life in this heat-stricken city.

Muscles protesting, sweat dripping, thoughts muddied, people searching for shade, coolness, the city drowsy, in sympathy with its inhabitants. A dusty, smoky smell in the air, not from the forest fires but from grass that’s slowly burning up without flames.

Not a single drop of rain since Midsummer. The farmers are screaming disaster, and today the Correspondent published an article by its star reporter, Daniel Högfeldt, in which he interviewed a professor at University Hospital. The professor said that a manual laborer in this sort of heat needs to drink between fifteen and twenty quarts of water a day.

Manual laborers?

Are there any of those left in Linköping these days?

There are only academics. Engineers, computer experts, and doctors. At least that’s what it feels like sometimes. But they aren’t in the city at the moment.

A gulp of her third beer gets her to relax, even though she is really in need of an energy boost.

The pub’s customers disappear one by one. And she can feel loneliness demanding more space.

Tove with her bag in the hallway eight days ago, full of clothes and books, some of the new ones she’s bought. Janne behind her in the stairwell, Janne’s friend Pecka down in the street in his Volvo, ready to take them to Skavsta Airport.

She had lied several days before they left when Janne asked if she could drive them, saying that she had to work. She wanted to be short with Janne, to show her disapproval that he was insisting on taking Tove with him all the way to Bali, on the other side of the fucking planet.

Bali.

Janne had won the trip in the public employees’ holiday lottery. First prize for the heroic fireman.

A summer dream for Tove. For Janne. Just father and daughter. Their first real trip together, Tove’s first trip outside Europe.

Malin had been worried that Tove wouldn’t want to go, that she wouldn’t want to be away from Markus, her boyfriend, or because Markus’s parents, Biggan and Hasse, might have plans that involved her.

But Tove had been pleased.

“Markus will manage,” she had said.

“And what about me, how am I going to manage without you?”

“You, Mum? It’ll be perfect for you. You’ll be able to work as much as you like, without feeling guilty about me.”

Malin had wanted to protest. But all the words she could have said felt lame, or, worse still, untrue. How many times did Tove have to make her own meals, or go and put herself to bed in an empty flat simply because something at the station demanded Malin’s full attention?

Hugging in the hall a week or so ago, bodies embracing.

Then Janne’s firm grip on the handle of the bag.

“Take care.”

“You too, Mum.”

“You know I will.”

“Bye.”

Three voices saying the same word.

Hesitation.

Then it had started up again, Janne had said silly things and she was upset when the door finally closed on them. The feelings from the divorce twelve years ago were back, the lack of words, the anger, the feeling that no words were good enough and that everything that was said was just wrong.

Not with each other. Not without each other. This single stinking love. An impossible love.

And she had refused to admit to herself how insulted she felt by their holiday, like a very young girl being abandoned by the people who ought to love her most.

“See you when I pick you up from the airport. But we’ll speak before that,” she had said to the closed gray door.

She had been left standing alone in the hall. They had been gone five seconds and already she felt an infinite sense of loss, and the thought of the distance between them had been unbearable and she had gone straight down to the pub.

Drinking to get drunk, just like I’m doing now, Malin thinks.

Downing a shot of tequila, just like I’m doing now.

Making a call on my mobile, just like I’m doing now.

Daniel Högfeldt’s clear voice over the phone.

“So you’re at the Bull?”

“Are you coming or not?”

“Calm down, Fors. I’m coming.”

*   *   *

Their two bodies facing each other, Daniel Högfeldt’s hairless chest beneath her hands, slipping moistly under her fingertips. I am marking you, Malin thinks, marking you with my fingerprints, and why have you got your eyes closed, look at me, you’re inside me now, so open your eyes, your green eyes, cold as the Atlantic.

Their conversation in the pub just ten minutes before.

“Do you want a drink?”

“No, do you?”

“No.”

“So what are we waiting for?”

They took their clothes off in the hall. The church tower a black, immovable shape in the kitchen window.

And the sounds.

The ringing of the church bell as it struck two, as Malin helped him out of his worn white T-shirt, the cotton stiff and clean, his skin warm against her breasts, his words: “Take it slow, Malin, slow,” and her whole body was in a hurry, starting to itch and ache and hurt and she whispered: “Daniel, it’s never been more urgent than it is now,” thinking, you think I’ve got you for slow? I’ve got myself, other people for that. You, Daniel, you’re a body, don’t try to smooth talk me, I don’t fall for that sort of thing. He pushed her into the kitchen, the crippled IKEA clock ticking ticktock and the church gray-black behind them, the tree branches brittle with drought.

“That’s it,” he said, and she was quiet, spreading her legs and letting him get closer, and he was hard and rough and warm, and she fell back on the table, her arms flailing, that morning’s half-full mug of coffee sliding off onto the floor and shattering into a dozen pieces on the linoleum.

She pushed him away.

Went into the bedroom without a word.

He followed her.

She stood at the window and looked out at the courtyard, at the street beyond, at the few hesitant lights in the windows of the buildings.

“Lie down.”

He obeyed.

Daniel’s body naked on the bed, his cock sticking up at a slight angle toward his navel. The gun cabinet with her service revolver on the wall next to the window, Daniel closing his eyes, reaching his arms up toward the pine headboard, and she waited a moment, allowing the ache of longing to become real pain before moving toward him, before she let him in again.

*   *   *

I dream that the snakes are moving again, somewhere. How a girl the same age as you, Tove, is moving through the green-black trees of something that seems to be a park at night, or a forest beside a distant, black-watered lake, or shimmering blue water that smells of chlorine. I imagine her drifting across yellowed grass, as far, far away a water sprinkler wisps corrosive drops above a freshly cut lilac hedge.

I dream that this is happening, Tove.

It is happening now, and I get scared and stiffen as someone, something creeps out of its hiding place in the darkness, rushing up behind her, knocking her to the ground, and the roots of the surrounding trees wrap around her body, snaking deep within her like warm, live snakes, whose slithering bodies are full of hungry, ancient streams of lava.

She screams.

But no sound comes out.

And the snakes chase her across a wide-open plain that was once verdant but now whimpers with charred, flaking skin. The ground is cracked and from the jagged depths bubbles a stinking, hot, sulphurous darkness that whispers with a scorching voice: “We will destroy you, little girl. Come. We shall destroy you.”

I scream.

But no sound comes out.

This is a dream, isn’t it? Tell me it’s a dream, Tove.

I reach out my hand across the sheet beside me but it’s empty.

Janne, you’re not there, your warm warmth.

I want you both to come home now.

Even you have gone, Daniel. Taken your cool warmth and left me alone with the dream and myself in this depressing bedroom.

I think it was a bad dream, but perhaps it was good?

Revue de presse

Kallentoft's books have been called beautiful, exquisite and original. I can see why. (Literary Review)

He has a completely unique style, an exquisite narrative that you drink in with pleasure . . . I'm convinced: a crime novel doesn't get much more beautiful than this (Kristian Stadsbladet)

Don't bother with Stieg Larsson, Kallentoft is better (Magnus Utvik, Sweden's leading critic)

One of the best-realised female heroines I've read by a male writer (Guardian)

The highest suspense (Camilla Lackberg, international bestselling author of The Stonecutter)

The strengths of this complex and excellent novel include realistic dialogue, thorough characterisation and concern for social issues (New Zealand Listener)

It is Kallentoft's characterisation and distinctive, often poetic style which make his crime-writing more memorable than most . . . It is compelling reading. The atmosphere of oppressive heat creates the sense of a hell on earth, where evil thrives. It is a powerful and disturbing vision. (Canberra Times)

Meditative. Dark. Really, really cold . . . This is a worthy successor to Larsson's Millennium trilogy . . . This first installment in Kallentoft's crime series is a splendid representative of the Swedish crime novel, in all its elegance and eeriness. (Booklist Starred Review)

My current favourite among the Scandinavian crime writers is another Swede, Mons Kallentoft. So far, three of his Malin Fors books have been translated into English: Midwinter Sacrifice, Summertime Death and Autumn Killing. I loved them all, particularly for the way Kallentoft gives a voice to his victims. (Alex Gray, author of Sleep Like the Dead)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2175 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 497 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1444721577
  • Editeur : Hodder & Stoughton (10 mai 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1444721577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444721577
  • ASIN: B007VDH54I
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°166.960 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  23 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Oh for some lucid prose 22 janvier 2014
Par Henry R. Rupp - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I rarely bail out of a book after one chapter, but the artsy-fartsy, semi-stream of consciousness, perhaps impressionistic prose just made me gag. The characters were those about whom one could have no feeling either way.
If you want to read good Norse detective fiction start with Mai Sjowall and Per Wahloo and work your way up with Henning Mankell, Helen Tursten, Jussi Adler Olsen, Hakan Nesser, Camilla Lackberg, Jo Nesbo, Arnaldur Indriathson, or Leif GW Persson.

When you see a book marked as "A Thriller", you know that you are in deep and murky waters.

The thought of dropping this book off at the local senior center makes me feel I am a sadist.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 As much suspense as you will find in any novel this summer 22 juillet 2013
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Those of us who enjoyed MIDWINTER BLOOD by Mons Kallentoft last year --- and anyone else who is partial to hair-raising mysteries --- will rejoice at the publication of SUMMER DEATH. This second in the series of Malin Fors novels fulfills and exceeds the promise of its predecessor, combining the elements of a puzzling murder mystery, a chilling villain, and as much suspense as any novel you will read this year.

Malin Fors is a somewhat troubled police inspector in the municipality of Linkoping, located in south-central Sweden. There have been at least five books published in the series to date; SUMMER DEATH, originally released in Sweden in 2008, comes to us through the fine translation efforts of Neil Smith, who sharply captures and presents the personality nuances of Fors, her family, and, perhaps most importantly, her fellow officers on the Linkoping police force. Fors is the divorced mother of a teenage daughter and, as might be expected, is caught between the twin towers of career and parenthood, even as she attempts to sort out what went wrong with her marriage some 10 years previously.

As SUMMER DEATH opens, Fors's daughter and ex-husband are on vacation in Mali, while what Fors is experiencing is anything but a holiday. A raging fire in the wilderness surrounding the city seems to increase in ferocity by the day and defies the brave efforts of the firefighters tasked with controlling and extinguishing it. While the fire and an unseasonably warm summer function as an ever-present and uneasy backdrop to the book, Fors has more pressing professional concerns.

They begin when a teenage girl is found sexually assaulted and drugged in a park, while nearly simultaneously, another girl goes missing. The investigating team, which Fors is heading up, almost reflexively concludes that the two incidents are connected, which is confirmed by a tragic event in which subsequent forensic discoveries play a major part. Fors is also convinced that two friends of one of the girls know far more than they are admitting to, which proves to be dead-on as well.

Soon the problem isn't so much that the Linkoping police force lacks for suspects in the case as that it could be any of them --- or none of them. And when a third victim is discovered, it becomes clear that the killer is by no means finished. Fors continues kicking over rocks and tugging at slender threads of evidence, attracting the attention of the killer who, in turn, decides to make the hunt personal in more ways than Fors ever could've anticipated.

Thrillers frequently employ a "ticking clock," or what is also called an "option exhaustion," as a device to propel the action in the book, particularly at the conclusion. SUMMER DEATH has a ticking clock as loud as the internal workings of Big Ben. You simply will not be able to read the last 70 pages or so quickly enough, even though you may well be afraid of what you will discover at the end.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant writing that goes to some very dark places 2 mai 2012
Par Keris Nine - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Mons Kallentoft's previous book, Midwinter Sacrifice, was a promising debut that showed a new, unique and literary voice working in Scandinavian crime fiction. Those qualities come into fruition brilliantly in the second Malin Fors book, Summertime Death. Even though it's under rather different weather conditions, it doesn't take long to slip back into the author's idiosyncratic and expansive view of provincial Sweden, or indeed to establish that each book in the tetralogy is going to be closely connected to the seasons. If midwinter in Linköping was as bleak as you can imagine, the record breaking heatwave that afflicts the city in the new book seeps into Detective Fors' investigation every bit as deeply.

Creating atmosphere is undoubtedly the strength of Mons Kallentoft's writing, but it extends way beyond using the weather for effect. As with the first book, there's an impressionistic clamour of voices from people from all walks of life (and even dead voices) in the community that flit through the writing. It's an essential part of the author's style, but it really distinguishes the writing above other similar works of crime fiction, putting the reader not only into the first-person perspective of Fors, but building up a much wider view of Swedish society. It's incredibly expansive in this respect, dipping into the minds of colleagues, victims and their families, but even if many of those figures appear to be peripheral to the story, it provides a deeper and essential insight into the society in which the crimes take place.

That was evident in Midwinter Sacrifice, but it's even more relevant, important and skillfully employed here in Summertime Death. Since it initially involves a raped girl with no memory and another who has gone missing, it's a case that goes to dark places and challenges both small-minded prejudice and political correctness, as well as giving cause for personal self-examination in the case of Malin Fors herself. Kallentoft ties this in to an atmosphere of forest fires and suffocating heat in a manner that is extraordinarily powerful and intense, all the while developing and strengthening characterisation in a way that is going to make this a far more important collection than Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy.
6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Summertime death 8 juillet 2012
Par Barbara Watt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is the first time I have said enough is enough and shut down a book.
I have read hundred and hundred of books and I can usually hang in and finish.
Some of the kindle cheapies have been a challenge but this one beat me.
The never ending waffle about heat waves...fires (nothing to do with the story line)
Thoughts about the ex and daughter holidaying in Bali!!! Could not work out what tense it was supposed to be in. How much to drink
Where to go for a drink. Thoughts of personal life..excersising and on and on ... The actual story could
Probably been completed in 20% of the book. I bailed at 63% that was a marathon!!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "Evil. Where does it start?" 12 mai 2014
Par Bonnie Brody - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Mons Kallentoft, author of this interesting Swedish police procedural and thriller, has a very existential bent. His characters are self-aware and the protagonist seems to be searching for her center, her true north star.

Malin Fors is a 34 year old police inspector working in Linkoping, Sweden, the city where she grew up. She has a 14 year old daughter named Tove who is her heart's love. She also remains attached to her ex, Janne, though they separated over ten years previously. She wonders often why their love was not enough to sustain their relationship and she still has strong feelings for him.

This is the hottest summer on record for Linkoping and people are so hot that they are lying prostrate from the heat. Some have even died as air conditioning is not common. In this hot city, a killer is loose, taking teen-aged girls and killing them. The bodies are cut and mutilated and once dead, the bodies are washed with bleach. So far, there are two bodies and one survivor. The survivor, Josefin Davidsson, remembers nothing of her experience so she is of no help to the police.

What are the connections between the kidnapped girls? What is the profile of the killer? Is it a woman or a man? These questions haunt Malin and her team as they spend their heat filled days searching for a killer who is likely a past victim of abuse himself. The investigation takes a strange turn when the lesbian community is investigated and becomes quite defensive.

While I enjoyed this thriller quite a bit, I felt that it moved too slowly for me. There is too much introspection and existential angst to make this a real page-turner. However, that is what makes this book stand out in its genre. It is a lot more than the usual Swedish noir.
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