The second book in Edgar-nominated Anne Holt's international bestselling mystery series featuring detective Hanne Wilhelmsen, last seen in Blind Goddess.
IT is only the beginning of May but in Oslo a brutal heat wave has coincided with an alarming increase in violent crime. In the latest instance, police investigator Hanne Wilhelmsen is sent to a macabre crime scene on the outskirts of town. An abandoned shed is covered in blood. On one wall an eight-digit number is written in blood. There is no body—nor any sign of a victim. Is it a kid’s prank or foul play? Is it even human blood?
As more bloody numbers are found in isolated locations throughout Oslo, Hanne’s colleague Håkon Sand makes a startling discovery: the digits correspond to the filing numbers of foreign immigrants. All are female, all are missing. Is there a serial killer on the loose in Oslo? How does the killer have access to immigrant data?
Meanwhile, as the trail heats up, the victim of a horrific unsolved rape case and her father have each decided to take justice into their own hands. Hanne and Håkon soon discover that they aren’t the only ones on the hunt for the killer.
A sympathetic lead distinguishes Holt's second novel featuring Oslo's Det. Insp. Hanne Wilhelmsen (after The Blind Goddess). Hanne has been keeping her relationship with her female lover a secret, a choice that creates tension between the two women. Professionally, the inspector must deal with the person who's leaving rooms drenched with blood every Saturday night, but without traces of an actual body, as well as a series of rapes. Evocative descriptive prose is a plus ("In the west, the heavens showed that intense hue only a Scandinavian sky in springtime is blessed with royal blue on the horizon and lighter toward the meridian, before dissolving into a pink eiderdown where the sun was still lying lazily in the east"). Holt made her U.S. debut in 2011 with the eighth book in the series, 1222, which was an Edgar finalist.