What do you get when you mix Brit Crime with Nordic Noir? You get the start of a new crime series! A Presence of Absence is the first book in The Odense Series and I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for this one, and sharing my review with you all today.
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 case, 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.
The first paragraph of the above description describes this book perfectly. The prologues draws you in and the plot slowly simmers; a police procedural clouded in a dark and haunting atmosphere, with family ties at its core. While Simon is in Denmark, we get a subplot of his daughter’s life in London; Sanne is doing her best to support her father, as her family life is crumbling around her. Secrets and lies link these two plots and this family is pushed to their limits, as darkness closes in, battling inner and outer demons, can they survive?
While the story wasn’t as fleshed out as I’d have liked and it wasn’t the smoothest read, I believe the authors did a great job of developing the characters. As the story progresses, you really get a feel for their nature/personalities and their actions make sense, and, my gosh, do you get a feel for their loss. The title is so fitting to the plot, throughout the entire book, you really feel the presence of Vibeke’s absence. I’m a fan of flawed characters, haunted by their past, and this book has plenty of them. The plot is solid but it’s the characters that bring this book to life and made for a captivating read.
The plot jumps back and forth between London and Denmark, so you get the best of both worlds, the peaceful atmosphere only Nordic Noir brings and the busy hustle and bustle of London life. If you tend to avoid Noir, give this one a try, with its strong influence of Brit Crime, you might find you enjoy it. Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim – two new, impressive voices in crime fiction, I see so much potential in this series and I’m excited for book two!
*My thanks to the authors for providing me with a copy of this book*
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