Eighteen Below

by Stefan Ahnhem
Minotaur Books, December 2018, $29.99

There are two cases that attract the attention of Stefan Ahnhem’s colorful, variegated cast in this, the third Fabian Risk adventure. The first involves identity theft, the second random physical assaults called “happy slapping.” Of course, this being an Ahnhem novel, both crimes are taken to extremes, with perpetrators assuming multiple identities in the first instance, and jaded, thrill-seeking teens committing heinous acts of violence against their innocent prey in the second. Doggedly attempting to cope with these volatile situations are Swedish lawman Fabian Risk and his team, even as their personal lives risk veering out of control.

Ahnhem is a bold, brave, compelling writer, penning a novel that feels like a cross of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo saga and Ed McBain’s often offbeat 87th Precinct procedurals. The author delivers a vivid, no-holds-barred story where anything can happen: plots twist and cross, setbacks and reversals occur with alarming regularity, and, in the end, you’re never quite sure if justice, or sanity, will ultimately prevail. It makes for one hell of a journey, one you’ll be relieved, but saddened, to complete.

Hank Wagner
Teri Duerr
December 2018
Minotaur Books