Sometimes the past won't stay buried.
All across Europe, the most ruthless criminals are suffering gruesome deaths. At first, it seems coincidental that their underworld affiliations are finally catching up to them. But when two of the victims are found to have disturbing connections to Detective Joona Linna, it becomes clear that there’s a single killer at work. Still, police are reluctant to launch an investigation. If a mysterious vigilante is making their jobs easier, why stand in his way? Joona, however, is convinced this is no
would-be hero. These deaths serve a much darker purpose.
Desperate for help, Joona turns to Saga Bauer. If his hunch is correct, she’s one of the few people who stands a chance at bringing this criminal mastermind down. But Saga is fighting her own demons—and the killer knows just how to use them to his advantage. He continues to strike with impunity, and no one, it seems, is safe. When the killer begins targeting those closest to Saga and Joona, it appears more and more likely that Joona has been right all along, and that tracking down the person responsible will force him to confront a ghost from his past . . . the most terrifying villain he’s ever had to face.
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The light of the white sky reveals the world in all its cruelty, the way it must have appeared to Lazarus outside the tomb.
The ribbed metal floor is vibrating beneath the priest’s feet. He clings to the railing with one hand and tries to maintain his balance with his walking stick in the other.
The gray sea is billowing like a tent canvas.
The ferry is being drawn along the two steel cables stretched between the islands. They rise, dripping out of the water in front of the boat, and sink back down behind it.
The ferry master brakes as foaming waves swell up and the gangplank extends with a clatter to the concrete jetty.
The priest stumbles slightly when the prow bumps the jetty. The jolt reverberates through the hull.
He’s here to visit the retired churchwarden Erland Lind, who didn’t show up for the Advent service in Länna Church as he usually does.
Erland lives in the parish’s cottage behind Högmarsö Chapel. He suffers from dementia, but still gets paid to cut the grass and salt the driveway in icy weather.
The priest walks along the winding gravel path, his face turning numb in the cold air. There’s no one in sight, but just before he reaches the chapel he hears the shriek of a lathe from the dry dock down in the boatyard.
He can no longer remember the Bible quote he tweeted that morning. He had been thinking of repeating it to Erland.
Against the backdrop of flat farmland and the strip of forest, the white chapel almost looks as if it’s made of snow.
Because the church is shut for the winter, the priest walks directly to the small cottage and knocks on the door with his stick, waits, then goes inside.
There’s no one home. He stamps his shoes and looks around. The kitchen is a mess. The priest gets out the bag of cinnamon buns he brought and puts it down on the table, next to a foil tray with leftover mashed potatoes, dried-up gravy, and two gray meatballs.
The lathe down by the shore falls silent.
The priest goes outside, tries the door to the chapel, then looks into the unlocked garage.
There’s a muddy shovel and a black plastic bucket full of rusting rattraps on the floor.
He uses his stick to lift the plastic covering a snowblower, but stops when he hears a distant moaning sound.
He goes back outside and walks over to the ruins of the old crematorium on the edge of the forest. The oven and the sooty stump of its chimney stick up from the tall weeds.
The priest walks around a stack of wooden pallets. He can’t help looking over his shoulder.
He’s had an ominous feeling ever since he boarded the ferry.
There’s nothing reassuring about the light today.
He hears the odd moaning again, closer. It sounds like a calf trapped in a box.
He stops and stands still.
Everything is quiet. His breath steams from his mouth.
Behind the compost heap there’s a patch of muddy, trodden ground. A bag of mulch leans against a tree.
The priest walks toward it but stops when he reaches a half-meter-long metal pipe sticking out of the ground. Perhaps it marks the property’s boundary.
Leaning on his stick, he looks up at the forest and sees a path covered with pine needles and cones.
The wind is whistling through the treetops, and a solitary crow caws in the distance.
The priest turns around, and hears the strange moaning sound behind him. He picks up his pace. He passes the crematorium and cottage, and glances over his shoulder. All he wants right now is to get back to his vicarage and sit down in front of the fire with a glass of whiskey.