To Cook a Bear

This beguiling book by Mikael Niemi is a mash up of genres with historical crime, coming-of-age and literary novel tropes that manages to be reflective and page-turning. In Sweden in 1852 real life revivalist Pastor Lars Levi Laestadius, and Jussi, a runaway Sami boy, turn detective and use pioneering forensic methods to investigate the death of a milkmaid and an attack on another young woman. The alcoholic sheriff and the superstitious and inward-looking community believe a killer bear is responsible. But Laestadius suspects the killer with a taste for murder is a much more dangerous human. As his investigations bring him closer to the truth, he realises too late the danger that threatens him and makes young Jussi a target of hate too in this beautiful and violent world. If you love Nordic noir you’ll enjoy the horror and dark themes woven in the plot as you are thrust into the convincing world of 19th century Sweden. Read our full review here.

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