It’s May and the snow has hardly melted in Göteborg, Sweden, but things are heating up quickly for Detective Inspector Irene Huss in the Violent Crimes Unit. The body of a teenage girl is found in the woods, naked and horrifically scarred. Then there’s the mummified body that is discovered bricked up in a chimney on a demolition site, not to mention the city’s ongoing problem with gang violence. With the sudden influx of cases and one detective out on maternity leave, everyone is stretched thin. To make matters worse, Irene feels more than a little intimidated by the new superintendent, Efva Thylqvist, who uses her sex appeal and smooth talking to bend the predominately male staff to her will.
Then a second young girl is found, wearing what appears to be the other half of the sexy lingerie set recovered near the first body. Fearing the two cases are linked and that the killer may strike again, Irene and her colleagues embark on a desperate hunt that takes them deep into a shadowy world of anonymous online predators and insecure teenage girls on a deadly quest for affirmation.
In Tursten's assured eighth novel featuring Det. Insp. Irene Huss (after The Beige Man), two teenage girls without any history of trouble go missing and later turn up as mutilated corpses. As gruesome as the murders are, what rattles Huss and her Gothenburg police colleagues is the realization that the girls are wearing two parts of the same bikini set. If these crimes are linked, could there be a serial killer stalking other girls? Meanwhile, workers discover a mummified corpse in the wall of a building being demolished. Huss's new boss, Supt. Efva Thylqvist, unloads the old corpse case onto Huss's previous boss, Supt. Sven Andersson, but she's determined to ignore Huss. It takes all of Huss's hard-earned skills to maneuver Thylqvist into allowing her to mount an aggressive operation to catch the killer. Andersson's lower-stakes pursuit of the mummy mystery provides a welcome change of pace from Huss's investigation as it builds to a nail-biting climax.