“Dödergök” by Katarina Wennstam

The unemployed journalist Maria Allende and her family move into a house in the outskirts of Stockholm. When Maria finds blood in the kitchen she decides to find out more about the couple that lived in the house before them. She discovers that the husband is in prison because he allegedly killed his wife. Before the sentence he worked as a police officer who, despite beating his wife repeatedly, got to keep his job. Maria realizes that the story about the previous owners could be her ticket to getting another job and digs deeper than she probably should have done.

At the same time the police are investigating a death where a young man is found hanged in the attic of his girlfriend’s family. The case ends up on the table of prosecutor Madeleine Edwards and it becomes apparent that it could be an honor killing.

Katarina Wennstam’s goal with Dödergök seems to be to start a debate about violence against women and crimes that often go unpunished. The book brings up society’s deepest prejudices and I desperately want to like this book. I almost stopped reading after a few pages, but decided not to give up. However, I cannot put my finger on what it is that I dislike about it, other than the criminal’s monologs.

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