Mind’s Eye

HÃ¥kan Nesser was awarded the 1993 Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Prize for new authors for his novel The Mind’s Eye (published in Sweden as The Wide-Mesh Net). He has written ten in the Van Vetteren series, two in the new Gunnar Barbarotti series, and two stand-alone novels.

Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is taciturn to a fault, a little too demanding, and unwilling to share what he knows with his team. In this case, a history teacher wakes up with a hangover so powerful he can’t remember his own name, but when he discovers his wife submerged in their bathtub, he remembers her name and his own, but not how she died.

He maintained his memory laps as his only defence during the investigation and the trial. He is found guilty and sent to a mental hospital for examination. While there, he is murdered.

Van Veeteren must discover who committed both murders because the teacher did not do it. The search culls through a list of several hundred people, eventually narrowing down to one, but which one? The clues are there but I missed them. See if you can do a little better.

I like the book even though Van Veeteren is not as likeable as some inspectors. We cannot question his dedication, however.

Mike Lawrence

Hide and Seek

This is the second book of the John Rebus series. I reviewed the first here. Rebus is awkward socially. Others find him strange, but he gets results.

In this story, he comes across a dead young man in an abandoned and boarded-up house with a needle beside him. It is not his case, but he was in the area. Everyone else there chaulks it up as an overdose, but as Rebus goes through the house, he discovers several things that nag at him; a full bag of Heron, but no empty bag; the clip from a copper’s hat; evidence that the body was moved postmortem; and a partially drawn devil symbol.

Calling in favors, the coroner discovers that the lethal injection was actually rat poison. When Rebus returns to the house, he finds the pentagram is completed, with a short message added. A young girl tells him that her friend, the deceased, was murdered. The more Rebus investigates, the more pushback he receives.

I thought at first that the story was about drug dealing. Then I began to think that it was about homosexuality and the prostitution related to it.

But I was wrong. The dark depths of this story will upset you.

This is a better book than Knots and Crosses, but you will probably be lost for a good part of the read.

Mike Lawrence