Skip to main content

Book review: Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson (Fredrika Bergman #1)

Someone is abducting small children and leaving their dead bodies with UNWANTED scribbled on their foreheads. Fredrika Bergman is an academician and a civilian, and a new entrant on the investigation team whose instincts and insights are being ignored by her senior male colleagues at the Police department. Will the culprit keep getting away or will the team come together past its differences and nab him?

Whoever said a book will take you to places that you might not otherwise get a chance to visit. While I would say that reading any author is like going inside his head and at times there you will find how a psycho thinks and works and there you might also find the wonder and inquisitiveness of a small child.

Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson is a thriller that will take you through many Swedish towns and cities in search of the perpetrator of a crime that takes place in Stockholm. A young child of six, Lillian, is abducted from a crowded train. No one notices that the child has gone missing and so no one can say when that might have happened. Is it a coincidence that her mother was left behind at the earlier station? Sara- the mother had gotten down from the train to make a phone call during the 10-minute wait at that station. Is it something the child's father, who is separated from Sara, would do to her daughter to punish Sara in some way? Lilian's clothes and her hair are sent to Sara in a package and soon her little body is found outside a hospital in a distant town. UNWANTED is scribbled on her forehead. And pretty soon another child is snatched and then yet another. The investigators need to find who is behind these killings and why; and they need to do it fast before any more children turn up dead.

Investigating the case are Alex Recht, a legend in Police departments for the number of cases he has solved, Fredrika Bergman- who to the chagrin of her colleagues is a new entrant who is an academician and a civilian, and the very sexist young gun Peter Rydh. The investigation team has other members as well but none so deserving a mention as Erica who takes phone calls and provides administrative support to the team. Read the book and you will know what I mean by the end.

Getting on, the book has a parent-child thread running all through it in different dimensions. Peter has been blessed with twins, Alex has an estranged son who has moved to a different continent, Erica is a single mother raising two kids and Fredrika needs to take some decisions regarding motherhood.

The books shows how the characters develop and grow during the investigation; how they bond and how they earn each other's respect and only then the investigation goes full steam ahead. Fredrika being a civilian, academician and woman has to counter men doubting her judgments and abilities but in the end is acknowledged for her insights and instincts.

The story is riddled with the personal lives of the team members and this is quite expected, it being the first in a series. The theme though is creepy, this makes for quick read. in parts distressing and in parts racy, the book manages to keep you hooked but isn't really more than momentarily gratification. The book ends with Alex's heroic attempt to save a boy from the hands of the killer and on a note telling us that we will meet these characters again in the next instalment.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Still Life by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #1)

Still Life is lovely in so many ways. Though a murder mystery there is hardly anything dark (beyond the obvious) that clings to you on reading about murders and killings. The book is the first where Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec makes his appearance. He is compassionate and cerebral and this fact alone makes him worthy of being followed into every book that Penny has written with him as the central character. It must have been indeed a stellar debut by Louise Penny for it to have fetched her the Anthony Award for the Best First Novel in 2007.


Three Pines is a small quaint village, a heaven for its residents, which wakes up to the murder of an old beloved school teacher Ms Jane Neal one morning. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec and his team are sent to investigate this death which looks like a hunting accident, after all who would want Jane Neal dead. Gamache, who sees and observes everything (A certain Mr. Holmes would ha…

Seeking thrillers- Why I am reading mystery books this year

If you have been following me for sometime, you might know that I am on a personal mission to read as many first thrillers where a Detective or a Detective Inspector makes an appearance, from world over. So far, I have read some awesome Detectives etched by writers from the Nordic countries (Jo Nesbo, Helen Tursten, Kristina Ohlsson),  the US (JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith) and this one that I am going to review next, from England (MJ Arlidge, this though is his fifth on the link). I have also read some remarkable stand alone thrillers like No time for Goodbye and the Japanese masterpiece Devotion Suspect X (which I think kicked my obsession with finding the first ones of the series and which was so mind-blowing that its review isn't even comprehensible slink to another one of his works that is also so so good. Must rectify that one someday though when I can get over the awesomeness).

You might wonder why am I doing it. Even I think what is this going to achieve and I don't…

Book Review: Eeny Meeny, MJ Arlidge (DI Helen Grace #1)

A spine chilling novel where Detective Inspector Helen Grace makes her first appearance. Read it for a prose that doesn't meander or wastes time in getting to the point.


I have bee postponing writing about Eeny Meeny because I wanted to be in a certain mood to write this review. There has only been one other book besides this one that has given me a sleepless night. That book was Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None'.

There is nothing graphic or gory in either of these books over which I might have lost sleep but the sheer reason for which people were being murdered, shook me up. Of course And Then There Were None is very atmospheric, that whole abandoned island, the morose weather, crashing sea waves- is enough to spook you. It is the woman herself- Agatha Christies- who is a master storyteller, you might just say.

Getting back to Eeny Meeny, credit should be given to Arlidge for creating a spell binding narrative doled out in small,…

Book Review: The Bat by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole #1)

Even before I had gotten to the first and my first Jo Nesbo I was kind of sure in my bones that I am going to like it. I have heard people rave about this particular author and since Stieg Larsson we have been flooded by so may Scandinavian authors each better than the last one and Nordic noir achieving a special status in its own right. Some part of me was a bit apprehensive, and not just with  this particular series but with thrillers generally, because can't take gory stuff or too much psychological chill because I don't have the constitution for that, but am I glad I took this up!

Anyway lets get back to the book in hand or in my case, the mobile phone, The Bat, the first Harry Hole (pronounced Holy) novel, by the Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.

The Bat is set in Australia, Sydney to be specific, where we meet Harry Hole the Norwegian police officer who has been sent here to investigate the murder of a young Norwegian celebrity Inger Holter. Harry befriends one of the members …

Book Review: Faraway Music

An engaging novel which hardly sags or ebbs. Beautiful, lyrical and warm, it makes for a perfect weekend read.  ******************************************************************** (I met Sreemoyee Piu Kundu recently at a Women Writer's Fest organised by SheThePeople  at the Saturday Club, Kolkata. I asked her what would she recommend out of her three published works. She asked me what genre do I like and then went to to recommend this as well as Sita's Curse, an erotica. After she left for the podium for her talk, I bought Faraway Music.)
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, an ex journalist, debuted with Faraway Music in 2013. Partly biographical, Faraway Music is the story of acclaimed writer Piya Choudhury. It meanders through the bylanes of Kolkata, soaks in the rains of Mumbai, rubs shoulders with the Dilli ki Sardi and races towards end via a posh NY penthouse before finally coming home to Kolkata. Piya tells her story to another journalist on a long flight and this play of time and a…