An intense, dark, and often disturbing novel, “The Forgotten Girls” is a great example of ‘Nordic Noir‘. Originally published in Danish, and set in Zealand, Denmark, this police procedural had me enthralled from the get go.
The novel features Lousie Rick, an officer on a newly created Missing Persons task force with the Danish police. Formerly a homicide detective, Louise has brought her many years of experience with her to her new role. She meets her new partner, Eik (pronounced Ache) who turns out to be a worthy foil to her after a somewhat rocky start…
Like all good mystery novels this one begins with the discovery of a body. A woman has been found at the bottom of a cliff in a local forest. Louise and her department are tasked with discovering the identity of the dead woman. They feel it should be easy as she has a large and disfiguring facial scar. After a helpful member of the public calls in they learn her possible identity – but this just raises more questions. The woman was declared dead over thirty years ago!
Also, other women have been disappearing near this forest situated near where Louise was brought up. Her familiarity with the area aids in the investigation.
The novel delves into atrocities committed against inmates of a mental health institution, and the attendant malpractice and corruption that involved. There was mention of Utica cribs and other horrible means of restraint.
After I read this novel I did a bit of online investigation into the area in which this novel was set. I always enjoy learning about different countries.
When my bookclub, Whodunit chose this title it was a departure from common practice as it is not the first in the series – but the seventh! That aside, the book can be enjoyed without reading the previous novels, though I’m sure that many readers would like more of the backstory of the characters. Interestingly, my fellow bookclub members stated that they wanted to read more novels in the series, but would read future novels and not go back and read the previous ones. As for myself I would like to read the first six novels in the series (time permitting) as I would like to know more about Louise’s early life, and how she met her foster son and her friend, Camilla. I am also curious as to her reasons for leaving homicide to start her job in Missing Persons.
Anyone interested in this superb series, here is a link to the Louise Rick series and the order in which it should be read: https://www.goodreads.com/series/69977-louise-rick
The author has a page on her website devoted to Louise Rick.
Sara Blaedel lives north of Copenhagen with her family.
She has been voted Most Popular Author in Denmark four times, received several prizes and grants and her novels have been published in 31 countries.
She was born in Copenhagen and grew up in Hvalsø Denmark. After working as a waitress, she trained in graphic arts and publishing, working as the graphic coordinator at Denmark’s Gyldendal publishing house.
Blædel founded the “Sara B” crime fiction publishing company in 1993, and in 1995 she started work as a journalist. She worked on several television series a presenter, researcher, project manager, and editor before becoming an author.
She has always loved animals; she still enjoys horse riding and shares her home with her cat and Golden Retriever. When she isn’t busy committing brutal murders on the page, she is an ambassador with Save the Children and serves on the jury of a documentary film competition.