"To create an investigator who is both admirable and troubled and yet individual and sympathetic is a gift, and Wagner has it." —Times Literary Supplement
One ordinary summer’s day, a young girl disappears while cycling to volleyball practice. Her abandoned bike is found in exactly the same place that another girl was assaulted and murdered thirty-three years previously. The perpetrator was never brought to justice, so the authorities suspect the same killer has struck again. The eeriness of the crime unsettles not only the police and public, but also someone who has been carrying a burden of guilt for many years. . . . Detective Kimmo Joentaa calls upon the help of his older colleague Ketola, who worked on the original murder, in the hope that they can solve both cases. While they are following up leads, the ripples from the impact of the new disappearance spread and Kimmo discovers that the truth is not always what you expect.
Heavy on Nordic melancholy, Wagner's slow-burning second novel featuring Finnish detective Kimmo Joentaa (after 2007's Ice Moon) focuses on a possible link between a cold case and a present-day crime. In 1974, the body of 13-year-old Pia Lehtinen, who disappeared while riding her bike in Turku, was found after several months in a lake. Now another girl, 14-year-old Sinikka Vehkasalo, has gone missing, her bike and sports bag found near a cross erected in Pia's memory. Joentaa and his team soon exhaust their scant leads and turn, unofficially, for advice to a recently retired police colleague, who's convinced it's the work of the same killer. Meanwhile, scenes from the life of Helsinki estate agent Timo Korvensuo, whose connection to Pia's death and potentially Sinikka's vanishing unspools at a leisurely pace. An unexpected conclusion helps compensate for the sometimes saggy plot, while Wagner's take on grief seen through the dual prisms of time and circumstance will resonate with many readers.