Camilla Grebe’s debut solo crime novel comes with a guarantee. Yes, it says here on this sticker that it’ll keep you up all night. The Ice Beneath Her is a psychological thriller and a detective story set in Sweden that deals with two star-crossed lovers.
Jesper Orre is the CEO of Clothes & More. Emma Bohman is a sales assistant in one of the branches. Somehow, they fall passionately in love, but just as quickly as it began the affair ends, Jesper bolts, and strange and frightening things start happening to Emma.
Two months later, a young woman is found beheaded in the marble-clad hallway of Jesper’s upmarket home. The case resembles a murder 10 years prior that went unsolved, but this time the missing Jesper Orre is the prime suspect. Enter homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson. To help, they bring in the criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schon who was once the best but is now facing the onset of dementia. Can she overcome this, and her crumbling marriage, to help Lindgren and Olsson nail Jesper Orre?
Meanwhile, Emma is also on Orre’s trail for completely different reasons. What will happen when she crosses paths with the police?
Though this book is from Sweden and seems to have some of the hallmarks of a Nordic noir mystery, it also has the feel of a British or American psychological thriller. There are no chapter titles. You’re just told who’s point of view you’re going to experience in the next section – Peter, Emma and Hanne alternate, though the timeline switches back and forth as, in onionskin fashion, the hunt for Orre and the reasons for it are revealed.
The cover is a striking colour with a slight gradient in the pale teal-like colour, and a butterfly suggesting some kind of metamorphosis within. The red text is vivid against the aqua and is embossed and spot varnished for a finish that gives the jacket a unique otherness. The author has written with her sister Asa Traff and also with Peter Leander-Engstrom in the past, but this is her debut writing on her own.
I do wonder about that guarantee. Is there a secret Scandinavian island where the stay-up-ability of a book is tested? And what exactly is being guaranteed? Will sleepy Scandi noir readers get their money back if they doze off?
This book is out 8 September at £3.99 for Kindle and £12.08 for the hardcover. Pre-order your copy below, and check out the photos of this release.