The Darkest Day by Hakan Nesser

Review published on December 26, 2017.

The Darkest Day is the latest twisted thriller from the Swedish Noir master Håkan Nesser and once again he proves to be at the top of his genre. This is a multi-layered thriller that touches on the  subjects of mental health and close family relationships, and things are not often what they seem.

Karl-Erik and his wife Rosemarie Hermansson have recently retired from teaching and Karl-Erik, a dominant and overbearing husband, has decided that in the spring they are moving to Spain. Rosemarie, like the good wife with no choice, is shocked and annoyed at the decision. But, for the time being, the annual get together of the family to celebrate Karl-Erik’s birthday and that of his daughter Ebba goes ahead.

All the family are coming; Robert the only son, who has become infamous after appearing on reality TV show, Ebba, her husband and two sons, and Kristina, her husband and child. Most of those gathered do not particularly wish to be there, as they have all escaped from Kymlinge to live better lives. Their parents soon to join them in that escape, as they leave this northern Swedish, one-eyed town.

The night before the big family dinner Robert goes missing and they think it is arrogance on his behalf ignoring his family. Even when Rosemarie becomes concerned about her only son and wants to involve the police, Karl-Eric forbids it. When their eldest grandchild, Henrik goes missing in the middle of the night after the dinner, again Karl-Erik forbids anyone to contact the police, until he is finally pressured into doing so.

When the police are called in, things are not straightforward, and the family unit falls to pieces over the next twelve months. The twists and turns take their time to appear in front of the investigating officer. It is only when he thinks things are going nowhere that things take a turn for the strange.

This is a case where the police are engaged in a game of twister with the Hermansson family and what is discovered will be the ultimate twist. Håkan Nesser knows how to keep the reader on edge through out the story and it is a story you will not regret getting involved with.

Highly recommended, get it, enjoy it and enter the dark world of Håkan Nesser’s mind.

Paul Diggett 5/5

The Darkest Day by Hakan Nesser
Mantle 9781509809318 hbk Nov 2017

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