ARC Book Review: Eighteen Below by Stefan Ahnhem
ashley | There is something about the way Swedish crime novels are written that really resonates with me and Eighteen Below by Stefan Ahnhem was no different. With fast paced chapters jumping from character to different character it’s a lot to take in, but there was never a dull moment and somehow, all these random pieces ended up coming together in the end to paint a larger, very fascinating story.
This book is part of the Fabian Risk series, though each book is a standalone thriller so the fact that I hadn’t read anything else by Ahnhem didn’t matter. Meeting Risk for the first time was still an enriching introduction and I didn’t once feel like I was missing something vital to the story by having no idea of his backstory.
I read a lot of thrillers and crime novels and this started out similarly, but the more I read, the more impressed I became. I was just so blown away by the actual crimes being committed in this book and how there were so many moving pieces that just kept going in various directions, yet never once felt like they were taking me off track from the main point of this. Some of the scenes were very disturbing and cringe worthy; it’s sad to say, but it takes a lot to make me cringe these days and I always enjoy when a book manages to do so.
The characters too were very rich, but the book wasn’t weighed down with endless personal facts about each one. Ahnhem built these deeply flawed characters with only a few scenes and copy, which I think is a feat. Like I mentioned, there are a lot of different characters to keep track of and a lot of side tangents, but it all fits so well together that you don’t really notice.
The book is quite long from what seems to be the norm these days, coming in at 544 pages, but it didn’t once feel slow or dragged out. Every word and every scene had a purpose and while I was keenly aware of this and anxious to put it all together, it remained steps ahead of me until the very end.
I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Fabian Risk and more importantly, to Ahnhem’s writing. I definitely want to read more of this work, it was so well thought out and creatively creepy in the actual crime scenes. This was quite a read.
january 13, 2018