Find it at your library!

The Blinds is binge-able. It has the same addictive quality that the best TV shows have these days, along with a big cast of characters and a killer premise. I listened to the audio version, but if I’d gone with print I would have snarfed it in a few hours. Love books that don’t feel like a retread of old ground? Well, I can guarantee you you haven’t already read a book like this.

Well, in some ways maybe you have. The Blinds is instantly recognizable as a Western. There’s a jaded lawman, some lowlifes and criminals, a fight to protect territory from outsiders, and several noble sacrifices for the greater good. There are even old-fashioned shootouts. But that’s where the similarities end. The Blinds is an isolated town in Texas where nobody knows their own past. All the residents have had a medical procedure to selectively erase their memories, either because they committed violent crimes or witnessed one. When they arrive in their new home, they each choose a new name from lists of movie stars and vice presidents. Then they settle into life with the other townspeople, never knowing what terrible acts lay behind them and never leaving the Blinds again. The sheriff, Calvin Cooper, likes to say that the gate only opens one way. Once you leave, you’re out for good, and the residents know nothing good is waiting for them out in the real world. The Blinds is safe, a refuge—until people start turning up dead, the first in an apparent suicide and the second in what is obviously not. It’s odd that two people have been shot in quick succession when no one is supposed to have access to a gun.

I love reading about people with secrets in their past, and The Blinds delivers a town full of them. I’d probably recommend the print version over the audio, not just because you’ll be able to get to all the answers faster, but because the male narrator used an affected, breathy voice for the female police officer, and not only was it annoying as hell, it didn’t fit her character at all. He also had an odd habit of shouting all the dialogue—literally raising his voice as if trying to speak to the farthest corner of a crowded room anytime a character was speaking. Despite those irritations, I was absolutely enthralled by The Blinds. I will be surprised if it doesn’t end up on my short list of favorites for the year.

Find it at your library!

Have you ever been in a meeting at work and wished you could just blurt out all the snarky thoughts in your head and damn the consequences? If so, Leona Lindberg is the cop for you. She’s an outspoken misanthrope with a dark past who manages to keep her job on the Stockholm police force because she’s a good detective--and decidedly not because anyone likes her.

Her latest case is a weird one: banks are being robbed by a young girl who comes in naked and covered in blood. Leona’s colleagues don’t want the case because robberies are small potatoes compared to murders, but Leona’s motivations for volunteering to add it to her caseload are...complicated, it turns out. Very complicated.

I like “cop with a dark side” stories as much as the next girl, but you have to really be okay with darkness to be a fan of Leona. If you can’t get behind an antihero, maybe give this one a pass, especially because at 450 pages, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time with her. If you don’t mind your detectives on the shady side, though, step right up.

By the way, I intended to credit the translator here as this book was originally published in Swedish, but after a thorough Internet search and a study of the print copy, I came up empty.