A Presence of Absence – Emma Vestrheim & Sarah Surgey

A Presence of Absence – Emma Vestrheim & Sarah SurgeyA Presence of Absence (the Odense Series Book #1) by Sarah Surgey, Emma Vestrheim
Published by Blurb on February 28th 2017
Genres: Detective

The Odense Series is a new Nordic Noir/Brit Crime series that blends humanist stories and family drama with gritty crime in the central Danish city Odense. British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has seen in many years. The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants. When Simon realises that his wife's suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke's past and hide it from his already troubled police partner? Back home in London Simon's family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart. With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.

The authors braved my Reviews page and sent me an ARC for the purposes of scribbling a few words about it. ARC? It means Advanced Reading Copy and that means there are things that may not be found in the final product, therefore, some of the things I mention you may not see.

This is not an easy book to read for some people. Trigger warning right now before I start a new paragraph and move onto the book.

English Detective Simon Weller needs to find closure after the suicide of his wife. He’s not finding it in England so he goes back to the house in Denmark where they lived and gets a job in the Danish police. His first case looks like suicide but ends up being murder and the chase begins. During the day he works the case during the night he works the bottle, not a good combination.

I had such sympathy for the protagonist from the Prologue to the end of the book. The Prologue oozes sophisticated writing, the imagery was just so beautiful I was almost in tears on the bus but this didn’t carry all the way through the book. It was as if they’d spent more time editing the Prologue and the first few chapters than the final ones. This is something I can understand as it’s really challenging to sustain the concentration needed to edit a short story for the 10th time and a novel is ever so much longer.

I felt Weller’s dilemma when he saw the diary and realised he had to take it home. Yes, it was evidence and he needed to declare it but he couldn’t as it had his wife’s photo. But he did. And we see him worrying at it as his Danish is not up to the task of translating it. My sympathy increased here.

I enjoyed the plot. And I really enjoyed reading a book mostly set in Denmark. From the descriptions of the people and country I felt it was obviously written by someone who grew up there. I want more. I want to find out more about Weller and his Danish counterpart, I want to see more characters in Denmark and I especially want more descriptions by these authors of the country. I’m not suggesting they should concentrate on these things to the exclusion of all else just that I want more.

Despite needing a good edit I still recommend this book. And to help you here’s a link so you can buy it and help me towards my goal of $10 in affiliate fees, or not as you choose.