Translated from Swedish by Susan Beard
Shortlisted for the Swedish 2020 Book of the Year
Stina Jackson’s The Silver Road was my crime read of the year in 2018, so this second translation was a highly anticipated release.
Why Liv Björnlund never moved away from her derelict family home in Ödesmark, a small village in northernmost Sweden, is a mystery to her nearest neighbours. She shares the house with her overbearing father, Vidar, and her teenage son, Simon. Controlling Vidar insists on driving her to and from her work. He hardly ever lets her out of his sight. The reasons for this become apparent in the sections stretching back to 1988 which record some of Liv’s very wayward behaviours.
Vidar is an unpopular man with the locals, who accuse him of unscrupulous business dealings which allegedly have made him very rich. This rumour makes him a target for two local drug dealers. However, things go very wrong … and Vidar ends up dead.
The question is who shot him?
Jackson skilfully injects much ambiguity into this because the investigation reveals lots of people with lots of motives, with everyone believing someone else did it. None of which helps the police, because the key players are keeping schtum. Neither is there a dramatic resolution, just a gradually dawning enlightenment as to what actually happened, both in the present and in the past. I liked that.
The real strength and source of anxiety in the novel for me is the relationship between the two drug dealers. Brothers, Gabriel, an irredeemable violent druggie, and Liam, a single father trying to get clean and restart his life, but as dominated by his brother as Viv is by her father. In a strange parallel, Vidar’s death might just enable the release that Liam desperately seeks …
After all, spring comes only after the last snow melts.
Atlantic Books was founded in 2000. They are a founding member of the Independent Publishers Alliance. They published the Booker prizewinning The White Tiger in 2008. They won Independent Publisher of the Year in 2009 and Trade Publisher of the Year at the Independent Publishing Awards in 2020. The Last Snow is released today under their crime imprint, Corvus, established in 2010.
I’m not often drawn to modern crime/thriller novels, but this sounds really good.