Modern police procedural meets rural noir

We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal is the first part of a compelling new series, featuring detective Eira Sjödin and set in the Ådalen valley on the High Coast of north eastern Sweden.

Police detective Eira Sjödin is just old enough to remember the summer when 16-year-old Lina Stavred went missing. The entire community was haunted by the disappearance – especially when Olof Hagström, just 14 himself, confessed to her murder and was sent away, since he was to young to be convicted. That was more than twenty years ago. No one has seen or heard from him since, but the spectre of his crime lingers in the forests around the town.
Now Olof is back, and he stands accused of another brutal crime. Eira will have to untangle years of well-kept secrets to get to the truth . . . because in Ådalen, where Eira knows everyone, nothing is what it seems…

View of the High Coast from the Skule mountain

Setting and characters

The story is set in Ådalen, a river valley near the town of Kramfors, and an important place in Swedish workers’ history. Best known for the May 1931 Ådalen shootings, when striking workers were shot by the police as a response to a drawn-out industrial conflict over pay reductions. Ådalen is also part of the High Coast region, a beautiful hiking region on Unesco´s World Heritage List, with the mighty Skule mountain rising up next to the main road (just where Olof drives by at the start of the novel).
Besides her wonderful descriptions of the rural environments, the author manages to shed light on larger historical and social issues through her characters. She is well-known for creating engaging and nuanced portrayals and her characters´ personal experiences are important parts of the crime story.  

The author

Tove Alsterdal has written many scripts and five standalone novels, set in various environments and touching on many genres, but this is her first series. It is located in a beautiful landscape with an interesting history, where she herself often spends her time, thus it has a strong local colour. Alsterdal is a rather low-key writer that manages to tell many interesting facts without loosing the suspense of the story. A cold case meets a current mystery, nothing is what it seems and there are many unexpected twists along the line. And she keeps you guessing to the end.  We Know You Remember was the Winner of Best Swedish Crime Novel 2020 and The Glass Key Award for Nordic Crime Fiction 2020.

A beautiful and atmospheric novel with an interesting plot and a very likeable detective, that I really look forward to meet again.

Review:
Publishers Weekly

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