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by Anders de la Motte and Neil Smith, trans.
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, May 2017
416 pages
ISBN: 14767809X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

ULTIMATUM is the latest thriller by Swedish author Anders De La Motte. This suspenseful and unpredictable story has many twists and turns. Is it a tale of corruption and power grabbing? Is it a murder mystery? Is it the hunting down of a gangster? The focus shifts from one intrigue to another. We do not understand, until the very end, how everything is connected.

When a dismembered body is discovered under the ice, the police must first struggle to identify the remains. Nothing has been left to reveal its identity, no teeth or fingerprints. When identification is made, the readers may be shocked. It does not seem possible that this body is who they say it is. And we hope that they have made a mistake.

Detective Inspector Julia Gabrielsson is working on the case of the dismembered body but she is burdened by having been assigned a strange new partner. Amante is emotionally fragile and she is not sure how reliable he is. She wonders about his past and his agenda. When she thinks she has discovered evidence of a crime, the police official she explains it to suggests that Amante may be the culprit. But we know that the official is trying to divert Julia from the truth.

Meanwhile, high government officials are plotting how to take over positions of power. We learn horrific secrets about their actions, and suspect even more foul play when a wealthy industrialist dies unexpectedly. But who is behind the cover-ups? Is it Stenberg, the person being groomed to be prime minister? Is it his father-in-law, pulling the strings to get him in power?

A gangster named Atif Kassab has escaped and is on the loose. He is being helped to leave the country by a woman named Natalie. Her past involvement with Wallin, a disgruntled official in the Ministry of Justice, had led her to want to take revenge on the official. She takes actions that lead him to track her down, inadvertently giving Wallin access to Kassab and his escape plans.

A lot is going on in this thriller, and about the midway point it feels as though it is perhaps too much. But in the end, the reader is swept up in the exciting action. This is a book worth sticking with until its unexpected denouement.

Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, May 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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