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Sunday, December 2, 2018

REVIEW: Hunting Game by Helene Tursten @soho_press #helenetursten

Hunting Game
by Helene Tursten

Thank you to Soho Crime and Astoria Bookshop for this review copy.

Publisher: Soho Crime
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
278 Pages
Series: Embla Nystrom #1
Genres: Thriller, Crime Fiction, Nordic Noir

The first installment in Helene Tursten’s brand new series featuring the strong, smart Detective Inspector Embla Nyström. 

From a young age, 28-year-old Embla Nyström has been plagued by chronic nightmares and racing thoughts. Though she still develops unhealthy fixations and makes rash decisions from time to time, she has learned to channel most of her anxious energy into her position as Detective Inspector in the mobile unit in Gothenburg, Sweden, and into sports. A talented hunter and prize-winning Nordic welterweight, she is glad to be taking a vacation from her high-stress job to attend the annual moose hunt with her family and friends.

But when Embla arrives at her uncle’s cabin in rural Dalsland, she sees an unfamiliar face has joined the group: Peter, an enigmatic young divorcé. And she isn’t the only one to take notice. One longtime member of the hunt doesn’t welcome the presence of an outsider and is quick to point out that with Peter, the group’s number reaches thirteen, a bad omen for the week.

Sure enough, a string of unsettling incidents follow, culminating in the disappearance of two men from a neighboring group of hunters. Embla takes charge of the search, and they soon find one of the missing men floating facedown in the nearby lake, his arm tightly wedged between two rocks. Just what she needs on her vacation. With the help of local reinforcements, Embla delves into the dark pasts of her fellow hunters in search of a killer. 

My Review:

I've always been a fan of Nordic Noir and strong female leads. I love that while Embla is a police officer, this is less police procedural and more about her life outside of it... and on a hunting trip no less.  I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of hunting - however, I can see past it if the hunted actually get eaten and it's not just for sport. But let's get back to the book, shall we?

At less than 300 pages, this book just flies.  Tursten builds at atmosphere surrounding Embla and the hunting party she hunts with on a yearly basis and brings in death and an undercurrent of Embla's horrible history with men.  I love the pacing of this book and how quickly I became involved with Embla.  While I didn't feel as connected with the crime aspect of this book, I did enjoy the groundwork on Embla's character as a start to a series that I think will just get better with each book.

I didn't quite understand the reasoning behind the villain's actions - I felt this part was a bit confusing.  I think this being the second book in a row where it doesn't quite make perfect sense to me dropped my enjoyability of this book just a tad.  Overall I do enjoy this type of read and Tursten certainly brings some sparks to this fire.

Those who enjoy nordic noir, the outdoors and a flawed but strong female lead with enjoy this outdoorsy read - there's nothing more chilling than being stuck out in nature with a killer on the loose. I think fans of Camilla Lackberg and Camilla Grebe will enjoy this book - though it's a bit less dark and complicated... for now.


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