Title: Wolf Winter
Author: Cecilia Ekbäck
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Available: 12 February 2015
Buy it: Here
Maija, Paavo and their two daughters, Frederika and Dorotea, leave their lives in Finland for a small homestead on Blackåsen Mountain in the Swedish Lapland. When Frederika finds a body on sacred ground of the Lapps, all the members of the small and disparate community come under suspicion, uprooting secrets and discomforts far too close to home.
Wolf Winter is a slow starter that unfolds many surprises as it gets going. As with the few Scandinavian novels I have read previously, I once again found myself completely enraptured by the violent simplicity of a Scandinavian winter. Cold, brutal, unforgiving - the setting of Wolf Winter lays a volatile backdrop for a foreboding and mysterious event: a body in the woods, killed by one of the community's own.
I loved the writing which, although slow-paced at times (which may be a translation issue?), had moments of poetry, irreverent observations and profound sentiments. It matched perfectly to the life of the story's characters whose simple but grueling day-to-day is lit up in small moments of family and love.
The main storyline itself was brilliant as the murder mystery unfolds through the eyes of both Frederika and her mother, Maija, down two very different routes. One of them embracing the "sorcery" of the old religion and trusting in some thing primal, the other looking at the cold facts and following leads through to accusations, whatever the expense. I was guessing the outcome right up until the last page.
A wonderful mystery set in a winter with as much character as any of the humans in the story! I highly recommend this book - especially if you have read and loved Burial Rites, which I found to have the same sort of pacing and writing style.