With a sharp piece of glass he carved her new name on her neck. It said KER.
Marked For Life by Swedish author Emelie Schepp is the first novel of a planned suspense trilogy that follows in the footsteps of other authors such as Jo Nesbø (Harry Hole series) and Stieg Larsson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). Its main protagonist, brilliant young prosecutor Jana Berzelius, is an icy perfectionist as cold, beautiful and impenetrable as a glacier. She’s the one person who’s never affected by gruesome crime scenes or grieving widows and when the murder of a high ranking migration official is first assigned to her she maintains her customary, clinical detachment. But when the murder weapon is found with the body of a young boy, and his autopsy reveals that the word Thanatos (a Greek God of Death) has been carved into his skin, Berzelius’s entire world is turned upside down. For she too has a word carved into her skin as well, and she soon realizes that she shares a connection with this particular case.
Schepp offers a briskly paced, tight moving story that does goes down some very, VERY dark corners along the way. Besides the enigmatic Jana, we meet other well drawn members of the investigative team as well: Chief Inspector Henrik, who’s dealing with a wife who no longer likes sex; Detective Inspector Maria Bolander of humble origins who can’t manage her money properly; crime scene technicians Gunnar and Anneli whose working relationship is complicated by their on-again, off-again romantic one; and, Jana’s own father, former Chief Prosecutor Karl Berzelius, whose emotionally distant personality played a role in shaping his daughter’s. As more secrets are uncovered and revelations revealed, Jana finds herself not only navigating the investigation but, in a dangerous game, trying to conceal the truth from her colleagues as well. Marked For Life is a great read in its own right, but it’s also guaranteed to hook you in for the rest of the ride with Schepp.