Sara Blaedel takes the readers to the country side of Denmark where the past is about to define the present:
In a Denmark forest, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of a woman, with very distinctive scarring on her face, that it should be easy to identify her, but no one has reported her missing. Louise Rick is the new head of the Missing Persons department and something about this case does not sit right with her. Even when her bosses tell her to drop the case she is unable to. When a women sees a media release and is able to ID the woman as Lisemette, Louise finds out that she was one of the forgotten girls. A girl that was left at a mental institution many years ago, but the more disturbing is that Lisemette had a twin and both were issued death certificates 30 years ago. This case has now become one where Louise has to sift through the past to find out what happened to Lisemette and her twin in the hopes that she can find her alive. But strange things are happening in the forest and Louise needs to put the pieces together before more people are killed.
This was an interesting read but I had to put it down part way through reading it as I was reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn at the same time and the writing and parts of the story were similar, that at times I would get them confused. This, to me, is actually a big nod to Blaedel as I thought her writing style was very good and as I said similar to Flynn's however, that is where the similarities end between the two authors. Blaedel focuses much more on the mystery of these forgotten girls and while our main character Louise has many flaws and a past she would like to forget, her aspects and issues were never at the forefront of the novel as they are in Flynn's novel.
The mystery in this novel was interesting as Louise tries to connect the past to the present of events that occurred and that someone who was thought to be long dead was actually alive. I do not think that I have read a mystery that had this aspect before so I really enjoyed that twist. I appreciated that Louise did not just happen to come across information in her case, there was nothing about luck book, it was Louise putting in the hard work of following up any lead that she can think of and going from interview to interview and the information that each contained. To me this is a more of how a real life case would be investigated as evidence did not just come out of thin air and you are left wondering how the detective came across the information. I also liked that this was a true mystery book, it did not rely on the flash of gun fights or gory descriptions of scenes to entertain the reader, but it was just as dark and had some disturbing aspects of other books that I had read. Blaedel just relied more on the investigation and mystery than other books and her style of writing really helped her to achieve this
I felt like I never really got to know Louise in this novel as there were so many personal and personality issues that were never fully explained. I found out after I read this novel that it is actually the seventh book in the series so this is not surprising (it did not say it was the 7th book on Netgalley). Blaedel kept referring to aspects of Louise's past but you never really get the whole story (though there is a big cliff hanger at the end that deals with some of her personal aspects). I will say that what I read of Louise's character in this book I really liked, she is a thorough investigator and tries to keep her work life balance with her son. I also did not get the best impression with her best friend Camilla but I think that this also had to do with coming in at the seventh book.
I really enjoyed the mystery that Blaedel presented and executed in this book. I think that she stuck true to what a missing person/homicide investigation would look like. While I did not feel a great connection Louise I think that if I started at the beginning of the series I would have enjoyed this book even more. This book could be read as a stand alone if you are okay with less character development and I think I might even start at the beginning of this series if they have been translated in to English.