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The Killing Forest: A Louise Rick Novel


The Killing Forest: A Louise Rick Novel

Sara Blaedel is almost a thriller subgenre, all by herself, in her native Denmark. After being active in journalism and television editing for almost 10 years, Blaedel turned to writing crime fiction in 2004, and in the intervening decade has earned the title of most popular author in Denmark on four separate occasions, thanks to her series featuring Detective Louise Rick, a member of the Special Search Agency within the National Police Department. The series is new to the United States, with THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS, the seventh book, being published in 2015 and marking Louise’s first appearance here. The newly released THE KILLING FOREST picks up where its predecessor left off, and it’s a smashing success.

The book opens with a chilling and haunting vignette that reveals all to the reader. What follows is a police procedural wherein Louise and her team must play catch-up in order to determine what has happened, disturbing a series of secrets that have lain quiet for generations. Following an extended absence, Louise returns to work and is assigned to investigate the disappearance of Sune, a 15-year-old boy who vanished a week earlier from the Hvalsoe area. The location is significant for Louise, given that she is from there originally.

"Blaedel offers up two cataclysmic endings, one of which will push you to the edge of your seat and the other of which will knock you right off."

It was in Hvalsoe where she and Klaus, the first great love of her life, had been ready to begin living together, a plan that abruptly ended when Klaus died, apparently the result of a suicide. The incident has understandably haunted her ever since, but she welcomes the missing child investigation as an opportunity to perhaps make one more pass over Klaus’ unexpected death. There are connections, given that Sune’s father and his friends were all associates of Klaus’ as well, relationships that he was trying to end at the time of his death.

Journalist Camilla Lind, Louise’s longtime friend, is also in the area and is able to provide an important link to the reason behind Sune’s disappearance, which appears to be voluntary rather than by misadventure. Camilla and Louise uncover much more than they bargain for when an old graveyard yields new secrets and begins to unravel the history of some of the area’s more respected citizens. Legends that have quietly survived the centuries suddenly pose an extremely deadly threat for both women, even as Louise uncovers the truth behind Klaus’ death and the reason why Sune feels he can never go home again.

Blaedel offers up two cataclysmic endings, one of which will push you to the edge of your seat and the other of which will knock you right off. While decidedly contemporary in nature, the novel is built upon the legends of beings that may be gone but are hardly forgotten, and, as demonstrated in the narrative, their supplicants are even deadlier now than they were in the past. Read together, THE KILLING FOREST and THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS constitute an excellent place for American mystery and thriller fans to jump onto this wonderful series (thanks in large part to a fine translation by Mark Kline), so that hopefully we will see more of Blaedel’s impressive work, both past and future, sooner rather than later.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on February 5, 2016

The Killing Forest: A Louise Rick Novel
by Sara Blaedel

  • Publication Date: October 11, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455581550
  • ISBN-13: 9781455581559