Detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner from the #1 international bestseller The Tenant—which New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs heralded as a “stunning debut”—return in this compulsively readable thriller as they race to solve a series of sordid murders linked to some of the most vulnerable patients in a Danish hospital.
Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. But in the coronary care unit at one of Copenhagen’s leading medical centers, a nurse fills a syringe with an overdose of heart medication and stealthily enters the room of an older male patient.
Six days earlier, a paperboy on his route in central Copenhagen stumbles upon a macabre find: the naked body of a dead woman, lying in a fountain with arms marked with small incisions. Cause of death? Exsanguination—the draining of all the blood in her body.
Clearly, this is no ordinary murder. Lead Investigator Jeppe Kørner, recovering from a painful divorce and in the throes of a new relationship, takes on the investigation. His partner, Anette Werner, now on maternity leave after an unexpected pregnancy, is restless at home with a demanding newborn and an equally demanding husband. While Jeppe pounds the streets looking for answers, Anette decides to do a little freelance sleuthing. But operating on her own exposes her to dangers she can’t even begin to fathom.
As the investigation ventures into dark corners, it uncovers the ambition and greed that festers beneath the surface of caregiving institutions—all the more shocking for their depravity—and what Jeppe and Anette discover will turn their blood as cold as ice….
In Engberg's well-crafted sequel to 2020's The Tenant, Copenhagen homicide detective Jeppe K rner investigates the murders of three people connected to a now-closed teen psychiatric facility, the Butterfly House. Each victim was drained of blood and left floating, two in Copenhagen fountains and the third in a lake. Since Jeppe's partner, Det. Anette Werner, is on maternity leave, the low-energy Detective Falck, one of many well-drawn supporting characters, assists him in tracking down surviving staff members and patients. One patient's suicide and a staff member's mysterious death years earlier provide motives, and the behavior of many of the potential suspects/victims suggests they could all be guilty of something. The stakes rise as Anette, restless at home, starts investigating on her own. Readers will be pleased to see Falck playing a heroic role at the climax. By addressing the issue of society's treatment of the mentally ill, Engberg brings the complexities of life into this superior Danish police procedural. Fans of Scandinavian noir will hope this series has a long run.