Wagner, Jan Costin - 'Silence' (translated by Anthea Bell)
SILENCE is the second in the series of Kimmo Joentaa novels by Jan Costin Wagner and originally appeared in German as DAS SCHWEIGEN in 2007 coming third in the Deutscher Krimi Preis 2008. The first novel in the series, ICE MOON (EISMOND), appeared in English in 2006 and the third, THE WINTER OF THE LIONS (EICHBORN), came out in English in June 2011. The fourth and latest DAS LICHT IN EINEM DUNKLEN HAUS (THE LIGHT IN A DARK HOUSE) appeared in Germany in July 2011.
Kimmo Joentaa is a detective in the Finnish police who is investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl, Sinikka. This begins to have echoes of the unsolved disappearance and murder of another girl 33 years earlier when Sinikka's abandoned bicycle is found in exactly the same place as the body of the earlier girl was found. Kimmo calls upon the help of his older, recently retired, colleague and former boss Ketola who worked on the original murder. The trail of their joint investigation gets progressively deeper and deeper involved in the darker elements of the human psyche, undercut with the aftermath of the personal tragedies that both detectives have had recently in their lives.
This is a very atmospheric novel which is very well written with a continuing air of psychological tension throughout. It does show much of the influences one expects of novels labelled as Nordic Noir combining both psychological thriller and police procedural qualities and keeps you on your toes by switching narrative albeit not in the same way as was the case with ICE MOON.
Overall it is a very good read but it does need to be borne in mind that this is a very dark book which is not remotely light reading.
Read another review of SILENCE.
Mark Bailey, Northern Ireland