Third Voice by Cilla & Rolf Borjlind
One of my bookish pleasures last year was the discovery of a new series of Scandi-crime books by Cilla & Rolf Borjlind, a husband and wife team responsible for many TV adaptations of the Martin Beck and Wallander stories. The first book of their own, “Spring Tide”, was a huge hit , is being adapted for TV, and very excitingly has been chosen as a World Book Night title. As a fan of ensemble-cast crime, I was really pleased to hear the next book in the series “Third Voice” was due out, and publishers Hesperus have been kind enough to provide a review copy.
Following on from the revelations at the end of the first book, main character Olivia Ronning has been taking some time out to recover from events. Having completed her police training, she’s no longer sure she wants to make a career of this and seems to be at some kind of crossroads. The other main protagonist from “Spring Tide”, ex-policeman Tom Stilton, is also making some readjustments after spending many years living rough; trying to clean up his act and get back to normal, he also seems to be searching for some kind of closure. They have no wish to make any kind of contact, but events seem to be conspiring against them. Firstly, a neighbour is found hanged and although it’s initially thought that he’s committed suicide, Olivia is not so sure. She knows his young daughter, having spent time babysitting for her when she was small, and things don’t add up. The neighbour was investigating a case of corruption and it soon becomes clear that this is more than a straightforward suicide..
Meanwhile, an old ally of Tom’s from the first book, Abbas, drags him off to Marseilles where a woman, Samira, has been killed. Seemingly two completely unrelated events, it soon becomes clear that the cases will intersect in a very unexpected way…
It was a real joy coming back to these characters again, having got to know them again in the first book. I’m not going to say too much about the plot because I’d hate to spoil all the twists and turns, but suffice to say it’s very cleverly done, very gripping, with all the strands being brought together at the end – and I didn’t guess the twists, either! It’s hard to discuss crime fiction without spoilers, and you *definitely* need to read the first book first, as there’s a strong continuation of plot and character from it to this one. There *is* graphic violence (it seems to be a given with Scandi-crime) so I let my eyes slide over those bits, but the characterisation is wonderful and that’s the strength of these books, together with the wonderful plotting.
If you’re a fan of Scandi-crime, or if you liked the first book as much as I did, this is an essential read for you. I loved renewing my acquaintance with Olivia, Tom and all their associates and I’m very glad the Bjorlinds are planning another book!