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Knock Knock

Review

Knock Knock

KNOCK KNOCK would be noteworthy solely for the fact that it is Anders Roslund’s debut novel. Actually that is not quite accurate, as aficionados of Scandinavian crime fiction will quickly point out. Roslund previously wrote several books with the now-deceased Börge Hellström and a two-volume semi-autobiographical series with Swedish screenwriter Stefan Thunberg under the pen name Anton Svensson. KNOCK KNOCK continues the Roslund/Hellström series featuring Stockholm Criminal Inspector Ewert Grens and former police informant turned security expert Piet Hoffman. I am happy to say that it meets and exceeds the expectations created by its predecessors.

"Anders Roslund is a household name throughout most of the world as a master of crime fiction, and this book is a sterling example of why."

It should be noted immediately that one does not need to have read the previous installments in the series to appreciate this latest entry. Roslund, with an excellent assist from translator Elizabeth Clark Wessel, gives newcomers a recap of what has gone before as needed. Therefore, it is fitting that the book begins with a flashback to one of Ewert’s cases from approximately 15 years ago, when an apparent home invasion resulted in the execution of four members of a family. The lone survivor was a five-year-old girl named Zana Lilaj. Ewert was the responding inspector to the call and took the suddenly orphaned child under his wing, ensuring that she was placed in foster care under witness protection.

The troubled, taciturn and brilliant Ewert is now at loose ends; he is six months away from his mandatory retirement and is wondering what to do next. The present meets the past when he is summoned to a crime scene where a body is found bearing the signature wounds of those on the Lilaj family members. When two more people who have been executed in a similar fashion are found, Ewert is fearful that Zana’s life is in danger.

Meanwhile, Piet has been freed from prison and is running a successful personal security firm. His life is upended when an unknown person threatens to expose his past as a police informant to an illegal arms dealer who had been imprisoned because of Piet’s undercover work. The blackmailer has documents that were thought to be held under the tightest possible security by Ewert’s boss. Piet is now forced to revisit his old life and act as an intermediary in the sale of a large cache of weapons that technically don’t even exist. The penalty for failure will be the murder of his family.

A desperate Piet turns to Ewert, with whom he has had an extremely complicated and occasionally antagonistic relationship. However, it is clear that there is a traitor in Ewert’s department. The irony here is that both Ewert and Piet, who have trouble trusting anyone, must trust each other as their respective difficulties slowly converge. The story moves from Stockholm to Albania and back again, careening toward a conclusion that is by turns satisfying, tragic and unforgettable.

KNOCK KNOCK is shot through with images and scenes that are impossible to forget and are intertwined with a number of suspenseful vignettes. Anders Roslund is a household name throughout most of the world as a master of crime fiction, and this book is a sterling example of why.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2021

Knock Knock
by Anders Roslund

  • Publication Date: January 19, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0593188217
  • ISBN-13: 9780593188217