Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim. Ellen’s review is further down the post, but have a look at all of the bookish info first!
About the book:
A Presence of Absence is the first book in The Odense Series. Although this is a solid crime novel, it also begins and ends with grief for many of the characters, personal demons and life decisions.
A gritty murder case gets in the way of the characters’ everyday lives and sends the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish city of Odense, into a panic.
British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to his rock bottom in his home life, and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has ever seen. The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants. When Simon realises that his wife’s suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the cas, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke’s past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?
Back home in London Simon’s family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.
With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.
About the authors:
Sarah Surgey is a 36 year old British feature writer for various magazines. She lives in the UK with her husband and 4 daughters.
She has had an interest in all things Nordic for many years and has written about many genres within this subject for publication. Although British, she has Danish family and enjoys exploring Denmark and its culture whenever the opportunity arrives.
Sarah was brought up with crime books and inevitably has always had crime story scenarios going around inside her head. After interviewing many famous authors for different magazines within the Nordic literary circle and always knowing the answer to her question of “why did you start writing?” she felt now was her time to get her stories out there, for people to read!
Emma Vestrheim is the owner and editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia, a Nordic film and television journal that analyses popular Nordic titles. Part of her work includes working with directors, actors and filmmakers, and her numerous interviews with the biggest names in Nordic film and television have given her a privileged access to what makes Nordic narratives so successful. Cinema Scandinavia publishes bimonthly and is available in major Nordic film libraries.
Instagram: Sarah: https://www.instagram.com/the_wormcatcher/ Emma: https://www.instagram.com/emmavestrheim169/
I haven’t read much Nordic Noir so jumped at the opportunity to read and review A Presence of Absence which jumps between London and the Danish city of Odense. Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson and a series of horrific murders in this quiet city sends the locals into a panic. The murders appear to be random attacks; people are being strung up and hay is left stuffed in their mouths.
Simon Weller (who is recovering from his wife Vibeke’s suicide) is appointed the investigating officer and teamed with local detective Jonas. Both men are battling their own personal demons and in danger of damaging their careers. I enjoyed seeing these mismatched characters attempting to pull together to resolve the mystery rather than tear each other down.
Meanwhile, back in London, Simon’s daughter Sanne has issues of her own. As well as dealing with the her mother’s suicide, her husband is acting strangely and is not happy that Simon is investigating the Odense case. I really felt sorry for Sanne, at the one time when she needed her husband’s support he wasn’t interested.
This isn’t just a book about crime and retribution, it is one of grief and the ripple effect it can have on everyone. An amalgamation of Nordic Noir and Brit Crime equals a winning combination! Four stars from me and I look forward to reading more in the series.
Make sure to follow the blog tour: