Reviewed on 10th January 2019

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter

Genre: Fiction / Legal/Crime Thriller / Mystery / Suspense / Thriller
For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter Synopsis

She must find Annabelle. Before it’s too late.
Nora’s daughter Annabelle has disappeared, last seen on her way home from a party.
Gullspång’s inexperienced police are wilting under the national media spotlight – and its residents desperate for answers.
Stockholm DI Charlie Lager must return home to find Annabelle, and then get out of town as soon as she can. Before everyone discovers the truth about her . . .

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter Review

A Gripping Detective Crime Thriller

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter is a sensational and gripping detective crime thriller that breathes new life into the detective genre.

If you’re anything like me, you too might have an over romanticised idea that living in a small and quaint little village somewhere off the beaten track would provide the ideal location to raise a family. Picture a place where everybody knows everyone and their business.  It’s such a small community that the whole town would be just like one big happy extended family always looking out for each other…Or so I thought.

That was until I read Lina Bengtsdotter’s captivating debut novel ‘For The Missing’.

I was over excited to finally receive my copy of ‘For The Missing’ for the much anticipated Blog Tour. The story is set in a small Swedish village called Gullspång, Väster Götland.

Having lived in the Copenhagen, Denmark for nearly 4 years, I felt an instant connection to this Nordic noir. I’m glad, however, that I resisted the initial temptation to start the book when the family was over Christmas. I don’t think there would be too many families who would be ok with ‘Mum’ aka the cook, cleaner, problem solver, driver, entertainer and all things in between disappearing for 36 hours whilst they devoured the novel.

YES, that’s right! 36 hours!!! That’s all it took (in between some of those more mundane daily chores) to navigate my way through the book.

This is one of those emotional suspense thrillers that will have you hanging on the edge of your seat for the entire book. You won’t want to put it down. ‘Just one more page’ you’ll find yourself saying.

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So when the perfect opportunity presented itself just after New Year, I jumped at the chance to start reading. It was cold, dark and grey outside and the kids were busy with holiday activities, so I seized the opportunity.

What better setting to read a crime thriller is there than being huddled under your own duvet on a cold and miserable day so typical of the Scandinavian winter.

Annabelle Roos is a 17-year-old girl who has grown up in the small village of Gullspång. The story is centred around Annabelle’s disappearance after she seems to vanish into thin air after attending a teenage party in an abandoned old building.

The other main character Charline Lager (or “Charlie” as she now refers to herself) and her colleague Anders Bratt are detectives based in Stockholm who are reassigned to Gullspäng to lead the investigation into the missing teenager.

The story is mostly told from Charlie’s point of view as she struggles to come to terms with returning to Gullspäng – the town she was relieved to have escaped from as a teenager herself.

The storyline is not your typical crime thriller interweaved with a story of Charlie facing the demons of her past as she investigates the case of the missing girl.

Just like many good protagonists, Charlie has a flaw or two, she turns to pills and alcohol to aide her through each day of the investigation that is centred around her own childhood haunts. Her life quickly spirals out of control and she finds herself back in the house she lived in as a child – a place Charlie vowed she never to return.

Although the majority of the book is told from Charlie’s point of view, there are some chapters written by Annabelle herself, giving her own perspective as she describes what can only be seen as the tragic circumstances of her short-lived life.

They depict a picture of a confused, jealous, angry and rebellious teenage girl who is trying to break free from her overprotective mother. The community around her remember Annabelle as a very happy, bright and studious child but the further into the investigation we get the more we realise that the communities impression of Annabelle couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Through a series of interviews, Charlie’s own ‘flashbacks’ and Annabelle’s recounts of her life, a dark, twisted and sad storyline unfolds. We are met by underage sex, promiscuity, cheating and affairs, drinking and alcoholism, drugs, abuse and so much more.

Strangely, throughout the novel, there are some seemingly unrelated additional chapters thrown in titled ‘Now and Then’. These are written from the viewpoint of two young girls by the names of Rosa and Alice and the reader doesn’t understand how or why these are linked to the storyline at all.

It’s not until the very end that we finally come to understand how these recounts of seemingly unrelated stories have helped to shape and influence the outcomes of this tragic Nordic noir.

Bengtsdotter will keep you guessing right until the very end

‘For The Missing’ is a brilliantly written debut novel. Bengtsdotter’s an extremely talented writer who knows just how to keep her audience captivated throughout. She brings a refreshing new twist and style of writing to the detective fiction genre. Bengtsdotter will keep you guessing right until the very end as to the ‘how, why, who’ of the story and will beg you to ask the ultimate question… a small village or town really the ideal place to raise a family?

Many thanks to Orion Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting us on to this Blog Tour.

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    chat 1 Comment

  1. This sounds like something right up my ally. Thanks.

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