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.

Find it at your library!

Is it just me, or is this book criminally under the radar? I’m not even sure where I heard about it or how it ended up on my list, but it’s certainly not one I’ve seen bandied about much. I didn’t even have any immediate plans to read it—I used an Audible credit on it out of desperation one night when the two other books I planned to read next in audio turned out not to be available in the format (#firstworldproblems).

My sweet spot when it comes to mysteries and thrillers is somewhere between cozy and brutal, which in my experience can be a pretty narrow target to hit. I am weirded out by books that are too cutesy or jokey about death, but I also can’t stomach outright gore. So my ideal mysteries are the kind that take crime seriously, but don’t wallow around in the bloody details. As I flipped through my TBR, desperately searching for anything that might fit the bill, I reread the synopsis of The Crossing Places and thought, yeah, that sounds about right. And it totally was!

Ruth Galloway is my jam. I don’t know when I’ve more closely identified with a character. She’s an antisocial nerd, a bit overweight, much more confident in her field of expertise than interactions with people. Her work as an archaeologist leads the police to seek her help on a case dealing with bones found in a salt marsh near her home. The bones turn out to be thousands of years old, and not those of a missing girl, but Ruth gets sucked into the case anyway, partly out of her own interest and partly by forces out of her control. While I’m a little miffed that I hadn’t heard of this series before now, I’m tickled that there are eight other books for me to enjoy, no waiting required.