ICE MOON - Jan Costin Wagner

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

Recently finished, ICE MOON by Jan Costin Wagner was an unexpected pleasure. It seems that Wagner has a bit of a reputation in his homeland of Germany for turning the "traditional" form of crime fiction on its head and if that's the case then he's done it again with ICE MOON.

Whilst there is murder, and an obviously very disturbed serial killer, in many ways ICE MOON is more an exploration of grief. The book opens with Finnish detective Kimmo Joentaa confronted with the death of his young wife from cancer. Returning to work straight away, he is left trying to understand and deal with her death, whilst a strange series of connected killings begin to occur involving a range of seemingly unconnected victims.

Whilst the crime investigation proceeds through the book, the focus of ICE MOON remains Kimmo's struggle with grief, the affect that the grief has on his decision making, his life and his work. Ultimately it's that overwhelming sense of his own grief which tempers and informs the entire book - it's significantly less about the crime and more an exploration of this one man's grief.

This was undoubtedly one of the most moving books I've read in a long long while - the crime was handled well, but what you come away from is the awfulness of loss, and Kimmo's tentative steps back into his life.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Two parallel narratives: a young policeman whose wife dies in her sleep; and a serial killer who dispatches his victims in a peaceful, bloodless way. We spend time with both young men, sharing their anxieties. Their respective plights result in a story that is both haunting and unsettling.

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