In The Heat of the Moment by Viveca Sten (Sandhamn Murders, Book 5)

On the longest day of the year, the tiny island of Sandhamn is overrun by people who want to party.  They turn up on the ferry and dock their boats in the harbour and drink until they can’t drink anymore.  As the police patrol the area, their job is to contain the crowds and make sure the fun people are having doesn’t turn sinister.

Unfortunately, this time, they aren’t that successful and, in the early hours of the morning, the body of a teenager is discovered hidden on an isolated beach.  He’s been badly beaten.  More unfortunate still for the police, the island is full of potential suspects, not just the teenagers girlfriend and his best friend, both of whom were missing during the hours the murder took place and too drunk to remember what happened.

There were so many people on the island and, as they start to drift away, the police are in a race against time to get statements and try and figure out just who ended the young boys life.  Leading the case is one of the central characters, Thomas, a dogged and instinctive detective who is normally helped by his best friend Nora, though never in an official capacity.  Nora, though has problems of her own as her boyfriend’s daughter didn’t come home that night and no one knows where she is.  

Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know I’m a big fan of Scandinavian crime fiction and also of this series, set on the small and seemingly peaceful island of Sandhamn.  This book is no exception, though you might be disappointed if you are looking for Scandi-Noir because this is anything but.  There are no dark, brooding scenes and very little violence when it comes down to it.  What there is is a great story, well told and well translated, with great characters who I’ve gotten to know and really like over the previous four books.

Saying that, of all of them, this is probably the weakest, because the tension I’ve felt in other books, the slow unravelling of the murder, wasn’t quite there.  And, when the ending came, it felt a bit flat for me, which is a shame.  Given I love the series, I’ll forgive it.  But, if it’s your first read, you might not, so maybe start at the beginning or with an earlier, stronger, book.

Enjoy!

Emma x

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About the book…

It’s Midsummer’s Eve, the celebration of the longest day of the year, and on Sandhamn it’s the longest party of the year. But the fun comes to a dead halt when a young reveler is murdered, a teenage girl is found drugged and dazed on the beach, and other young women vanish. So far, what links the victims is a mystery. For Nora Linde and her new boyfriend, Jonas Sköld, the crimes are personal: one of the missing girls is Wilma, Jonas’s daughter. And her disappearance could test Nora and Jonas’s relationship in ways they never expected.

Thrust into the investigation, they soon discover that it’s more than a case of bad blood between friends. But the truth, which has receded into a haze of carousing, drugs, and liquor, is getting harder to see. If Nora and Jonas are going to find out what happened to Wilma, they’d better do it fast—before the ebbing tides sweep away all the terrible secrets of that night on Sandhamn Island.

Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Publication Date: 4th September, 2018
Genre: Police procedural, crime fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Find on: Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

6 comments
  1. This series sounds promising, and I love mysteries set on islands. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is good. Gentle but involving if that makes sense?

  2. Such a bummer that this one didn’t live up to the others but I guess it happens with most series. I still need to try this series!

    1. I know – I haven’t given up though – am about to read number 6!

  3. I read the first book in this series earlier this year and really liked it. I’ve been meaning to continue reading it. Yes, when a series is involved some books are stronger than others. However, since my real love when reading series books is the characters, I’m often very forgiving. I just like to visit with the characters I love.

    1. I know what you mean. I think this was a stretch to link Nora and Thomas and that’s where it fell down.

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