By: Sara Blaedel
Louise Rick Series
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: 2/7/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
Following the #1 international bestsellers The Forgotten Girls and The Killing Forest, Inspector Louise Rick--head of the elite Special Search Agency in Denmark's National Police Department--returns in Sara Blaedel's newest crime thriller.
THE LOST WOMAN.
A housewife is the target of a shocking, methodical killing. Shot with a hunting rifle through her kitchen window, the woman is dead before she hits the ground. Though murdered in England, it turns out that the woman, Sofie Parker, is a Danish citizen--one who's been missing for almost two decades--so Louise Rick is called on to the case.
Then the police discover that the woman, Sophie, had been reported missing eighteen years ago by none other than Eik, Louise Rick's police colleague and lover. Impulsive as ever, Eik rushes to England, and ends up in jail on suspicion of Sofie's murder. Unsettled by the connection, and sick with worry for Eik, it falls to Louise to find the killer in what will become her most controversial case yet...
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A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The queen of Danish crime thrillers, Sara Blaedel returns following The Killing Forest (2016) and The Forgotten Girls (2015) with her latest, THE LOST WOMAN: Louise Ricks finds herself once again caught up in a web, between her personal and career life, in this highly emotional, well-researched and enthralling mystery suspense.
The saga grips you from page one with the chilling scene of a brutal murder of a forty-four-year-old woman in her home, shot outside Nailsea. Her husband drops the wine glass, and a teen daughter was just leaving. The killer is outside the window in the garden. She was killed with a hunting rifle. Motive?
Louise Rick is dating Eik. Six months earlier he moved in with her and Jonas while Louise’s friend Camilla stayed in Eik’s studio apartment with her husband and son. It had all worked out fine. Markus and Jonas had left for boarding school. Everyone was moving on.
In addition, their relationship is causing some complications at work, due to their living arrangement, since they both worked at the same place. Someone is going to need to transfer. They could not continue to being partners if they are living together.
It was awkward since she could not even mention her partner’s name to anyone else in the department without it sounding suggestive. After this discussion, Eik leaves to run down for a pack of smokes and to walk the dog. He does not return.
Flashing back to 1996, we meet Sofie Parker. A mother with MS. A woman who wants to die with dignity. Her father had died years before.
“But life can take you to a place you don’t want to be, and that’s when I want to be allowed to end it . . . . “
Louise discovers Eik is missing, and Charlie, the German shepherd remains behind. Something was very wrong. Currently, the woman who was murdered in her home in England is none other than Sofie Parker, a Danish citizen who has been missing for years. Louise is on the case.
In the meantime, when Louise thinks about Eik, she does not know much about his past. He had been sailing in the Mediterranean when his girlfriend suddenly disappeared. Without getting into details he had told her they had quarreled and in the end, he had decided to return to Copenhagen. He learned of the tragedy upon his return to South Harbor. No sign of his girlfriend. The others were found drowned. No sign of her or her belongings.
Louise starts thinking about her relationship with Eik. Was she making him happy and had he not gotten over his love of his girlfriend. They had secrets. She knows all too well the consequences of dark secrets.
Soon the investigation links this dead woman to Sophie and Eik. How could this woman be Sophie, and what does Eik have to do with this woman and her murder? How was he linked to her?
What was he doing in southwestern England? He is arrested. Was Sofie the same woman who disappeared years ago? She had married Nigel Parker. She disappeared for some reason. Now the woman was dead.
Louise wants answers. Why was Eik at the crime scene? Erik Nordstrom was employed by the Danish Search Department. There clearly had to be a misunderstanding.
What happened when this woman disappeared from the boat in Italy? How could Eik just take off for England without telling her? She was his boss and he had disappeared in the middle of the work day, much less her live-in lover, as well. Do not mess with Louise.
Did this man know his wife from Scandinavia? He did not know much about his wife’s mysterious past. Louise is not happy with Eik’s behavior. Furious to say the least. She needed to throw him out. How are the cases connected? What is the motive?
As always, Blaedel delves deeply and tackles highly-charged topics of assisted suicide with skill and finesse, crossing moral gray lines. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.
With the author’s own compelling trademark style of complex plots and her own extensive background she offers great insight into her characters and continues to address controversial social issues and topics with an engaging narrative, and intriguing settings.
No matter what part of the world you are located, Sara always transports you with vivid descriptions and fascinating, well-crafted suspense thrillers. Her extensive research is reflected throughout each of her novels. If you have not read her books, it is a good time to begin your journey!
Looking forward to more Louise Ricks.
Feb Must Reads
Praise for The Lost Woman
“Blaedel, Denmark’s most popular author, is known for her dark mysteries, and she examines the controversial social issue at the heart of this novel, but ends on a surprisingly light note. Another winner from Blaedel.”―Booklist
“As one of the preeminent voices in contemporary Scandinavian crime fiction, Blaedel solidifies once more why her novels are as much finely drawn character studies as tightly plotted procedurals, always landing with a punch to the gut and the heart.“―Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
Sara Blaedel's interest in story, writing, and especially crime fiction was nurtured from a young age, long before Scandinavian crime fiction took the world by storm.
The daughter of renowned Danish journalist Leif Blædel and Annegrethe Nissen, an actress whose career include roles in theater, radio, TV and movies, Sara was surrounded by a constant flow of professional writers and performers visiting the Blædel home. Despite a struggle with dyslexia, books gave Sara a world in which to escape when her introverted nature demanded shelter from the cacophony of life.
Sara tried a number of careers, from a restaurant apprenticeship to graphic design, before she started a publishing company called Sara B, where she published Danish translations of American crime fiction.
Publishing ultimately led Sara to journalism, and she covered a wide range of stories, from criminal trials to the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I. It was during this time—and while skiing in Norway—that Sara started brewing the ideas for her first novel. In 2004 Louise and Camilla were introduced in Grønt Støv (Green Dust), and Sara won the Danish Crime Academy’s debut prize.
Sara’s writing process is intense and she swears, “I am absolutely not fun to be with. And therefore everyone is happiest if I work with somewhere else.” That somewhere else is a summer house with huge windows affording a panoramic view, white terrace furniture, and a gas barbecue. In this seemingly tranquil environment, Sara formulates her brutal literary murder mysteries.
Research also plays an important role in Sara’s writing process. She believes that the imagination has its best chance to thrive within the framework of reality. “I work tirelessly to learn all I can in order to create the settings.” So most of the geographical locations that constitute Louise Rick’s universe are imported from the real world. Her apartment is Sara’s old apartment in Copenhagen, and she frequents the same cafés that Sara does.
An essential tool Sara uses for her research and preparation is a large whiteboard she’s named her “killing wall.” The killing wall is home to sketches of the story’s development, giving Sara the visual stimulation that best ignites her creativity. Sara also relies heavily on a host of experts who offer input and feedback on her novels. “I am so fortunate to have good helpers in those areas where I really need factual knowledge—whether in the Homicide Division, Forensics or Forensic Psychology.”
Sara has come full circle from her childhood days of hearing her mother read Agatha Christie aloud. “It brings me peace to know that it all began with crime fiction as a child, and that it is there, after a thousand detours, that I have landed again. As a child I found peace in crime novels, and it is with them that I find peace today. There has been some turbulence along the way, but I wouldn’t have avoided any of it. I wouldn’t have reached the place I have without all of it happening.” And that place Sara has reached includes seven published novels with an eighth on the way. Her novels are published in thirty-three countries and appear in twenty-two languages, and the film rights have been optioned. Her hard work and determination have branded her the “Queen of Crime” in Denmark.
Today, Sara lives north of Copenhagen with her family. She has always loved animals; she still enjoys horse riding and shares her home with her cat and Golden Retriever. When she isn’t busy committing brutal murders on the page, she is an ambassador with Save the Children and serves on the jury of a documentary film competition. Read More