'A bone-chillingly cool crime debut.' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
Terrible things happen in Mossmarken.
Long ago, the mire welcomed sacrifices to the gods...and the area still seems haunted.
Nathalie thought she had escaped, but the half-buried memories of what happened in her childhood have finally called her home.
Then, soon after she returns, her friend Johannes is found unconscious out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold coins - just like the ancient victims.
As the police investigate, more bodies surface, but the truth seems lost in the mire. Superstitious locals claim the gods cry out for blood. But Nathalie is about to find out the true extent of human evil.
An international sensation, THE FORBIDDEN PLACE is a darkly gripping tale of the stories we tell ourselves to survive, and the terrible consequences they can have.
Biologist Nathalie Str m, one of the two heroines of Jansson's uneven first novel, is living temporarily in a cottage in Mossmarken, Sweden, where she's measuring greenhouse gases on the local peat bog, reputed to have been the site of human sacrifices long ago. She becomes friendly with art school student Johannes Ayeb, who regularly jogs past her cottage. One day, Johannes is found unconscious on a jogging path; a head injury suggests he had been assaulted. Artist and forensic photographer Maya Linde becomes involved in the subsequent investigation, which leads to a chain of grisly bog-centered discoveries and each woman to new realizations about her life and career. Nathalie is haunted by the loss of her parents in an apparent murder-suicide, while Maya, who lived in the area in years past, tries to repair a damaged relationship. Fascinating historical material, especially about "bog bodies" found through the ages, compensates only in part for shallow characterizations and awkward plotting. Hopefully, Jansson will do better next time.