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Nordic Noir

The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock
Published by Swift Press on November 8, 2022
ISBN: 9781639101184
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Mystery & Detective, International Crime & Mystery, Police Procedural, Nordic Noir
Pages: 344
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
four stars - The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock

For fans of Katrine Engberg and Lars Kepler, the second chilling novel in Anne Mette Hancock’s #1 bestselling Danish crime series is a psychological whirlwind that explores the nature of truth and what it means when we can no longer trust what we know to be real.
When 10-year-old Lukas disappears from his Copenhagen school, police investigators discover that the boy had a peculiar obsession with pareidolia—a phenomenon that makes him see faces in random things. A photo on his phone posted just hours before his disappearance shows an old barn door that resembles a face. Journalist Heloise Kaldan thinks she recognizes the barn—but from where?
When Luke’s blood-flecked jacket is found in the moat at Copenhagen’s Citadel, DNA evidence points to Thomas Strand, an ex-soldier suffering from severe PTSD. But then Strand turns up dead in his apartment, shot in the head execution style.
What did the last person to see Lukas really witness that morning in the school yard? Was it really Lukas, or an optical illusion? Can you ever truly trust your eyes?

The Collector is typical of the Nordic noir genre – chilling, intelligent and wholly captivating. Perfect dialogue, haunting imagery, and difficult topics. A mysterious blurb. It ticks all the crime junky boxes. It makes my heartbeat and my nerves jangle. The cover makes me imagine scenes from some of my favourite scandi dramas. All of this combines to make The Collector a must-read for anyone who loves a good mystery. It will keep you guessing until the very end. Plus, the writing is sharp and engaging.

One sentence is all it took to fall into the pages of the story. The characters are so down to earth, so relatable, people with drink problems, grieving the loss of loved ones, relationship breakdowns, these people could live in your street, your village. Any story that involves kids is going to pull at the heartstrings. Learning about the disappearance of Lukas Bjerre had me forgetting about time constraints and chores, all I cared about was his wellbeing. Their lives are so real that you can almost feel yourself living in their world, and when Lukas Bjerre disappeared, it was impossible to turn away from his story and the suspense of what would happen.

You’d expect nothing to happen to your child after you drop them off at school. It should be the safest environment for them alongside their home. Lukas is waved off by his father and that’s the last time he’s seen. The only time is absence is noticed is at the end of the day. You question how that could happen, the anger that you would feel as a parent would be all consuming.

I’ve read so many missing child stories, but this one leaves me acting as a detective, trying to tie up the loose ends and bring the boy home to his parents. However, the parents aren’t as squeaky clean as they seem. Secrets always sneak out.

As The Collector progresses, it is revealed that Heloise and Detective Schäfer have been chasing a series of clues that seem to be connected in some way. With each new clue, they seem to find themselves one step closer to solving the mystery, only to find themselves back at square one again. My mind was a blank, I didn’t know where this was going, but fear not, the author knows exactly what she’s doing.

The best thing about this story is its characters. They are all unique and complex, with their own motivations and flaws. They evoke a range of emotions in the reader, and their interactions and relationships add depth to the plot. It’s one of the main reasons why the story is so engaging. The author leads you up a dark path, with chaos and destruction.


image 4 - The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock

Anne Mette Hancock lives in Copenhagen with her two children. In 2017 her debut The Corpse Flower introduced readers to journalist Heloise Kaldan and police officer Erik Schäfer. It won the Danish Crime Academy’s debutant prize, was a #1 bestseller in Denmark and a top ten bestseller in Europe. The sequel, The Collector, was published in Denmark in 2018 and will be published by Swift in 2023.

Anne Mette Hancock

four stars - The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock

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