THE FINAL MURDER - Anne Holt
Adam Stubo and Johanne Vik are a couple that met in an earlier book in this series by Scandinavian writer Anne Holt. Vik is a profiler with a prickly nature, and a complicated past. Stubo is a Police Superintendent with a gentler, kinder nature and a tragic background. Vik is hard to develop a personal liking for, Stubo's much easier. In THE FINAL MURDER their personal partnership has progressed a long way - the leave that Stubo is called back from is his paternity leave - Johanne has just given birth to their daughter. Stubo and Vik live together with her daughter from a first marriage - a strange little girl who interacts with the world in a very different way. As you can probably tell from this description there is a lot of the personal in these books - the lives of these two main characters take up a large portion of the book.
Perhaps that is one of the things that fans of Police Procedurals are going to struggle with - just as the investigation seems to get moving, the action moves to something going on at home. And then back to the investigation. And into the mind of an unknown woman who doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with the bizarre murders going on. And then back to those murders - each increasingly weird, seeming to indicate that there is a serial killer of the famous out there. But that's the other thing with this book, as the focus shifts, the plot twists and turns and gets complicated.
So THE FINAL MURDER is different from a standard police procedural, and it's not a forensic book or one that particularly focuses on Vik's viewpoint - although her skills as a profiler are called into play. It's a combination of many of the expected elements from those books, with some elements of social commentary and some insight into a serial killer's mind. What it really provides is another example of an incredibly well written, engaging tale, from an author that is brave enough to develop a central character that it's not particularly likeable or even engaging, and allow them to evolve.
A talk-show star is found killed in her home, her tongue removed and left on her desk, cleaved in two. And when a second body, that of a right-wing party leader, is found crucified to her bedroom wall, Superintendent Adam Stubo is pulled from leave to lead the investigation. Is there a celebrity-slaying serial killer on the loose? His partner, Johanne Vik, agrees to help with the case but begins to see a pattern, one that traces back to her FBI days. If she's right, the pattern will end in the murder of the investigating officer - Adam.