Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff
Thirty-four year-old psychologist Siri Bergman spends her days treating patients in her Stockholm practice, focusing her expertise on the troubles of others. At night she resides in a secluded seaside cottage where she struggles to accept the loss of her husband in a diving accident a year prior. Siri copes with her emotions by leaving every light in her small cottage lit, smothering her fear of the dark with copious amounts of cheap wine. She has managed to keep her roiling emotions at bay, but when the feeling of being watched in her home begins to prickle like a cold breeze on the back of her neck Siri finds that an unforeseen enemy may just succeed in tipping the scales and pouring the tumult from her past into the carefully maintained world of her professional life. When a body is found in the water near her cottage Siri understands the true gravity of the danger she’s in. Her enemy is close by, watching her, and the objective is another murder: hers. With the help of Aina, her best friend and colleague, and with the aid of people from her past and present Siri must work through the history she’s kept locked away and uncover the identity of the person who is willing to go to any lengths to scare her, torment her, and eventually see her dead. Some Kind of Peace is a finely-crafted, beautifully written suspense novel from sisters Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff. Together Grebe and Träff intertwine keen psychological observation, vivid imagery, and a strongly unpredictable storyline to create a novel that is simultaneously a taught thriller and an explorative character study. Stockholm’s melancholy weather lends a certain type of moodiness to the novel’s sharp-edged story, setting the scene for grandiose dramatics that reach through the book and grab the reader’s attention fully. I was instantly able to connect with Siri and I found her first-person, present-tense narrative to be full of wisdom and even a touch of wit, though she maintains an understandable moroseness that endears the reader to her in her struggles. The other characters in the story build up the novel’s color – Aina, the caring friend and confidante; Sven, the older, married colleague whose improper advances Siri can’t quite read; Markus, the young police officer whose kindness both attracts and confines her; and Vijay, the friend from Siri’s past whose professional help she calls on when her plight becomes too much. All of these characters and more – Marianne, the office receptionist, and all of Siri’s patients – are brought to life in careful detail. Grebe and Träff manage to evoke the question from the reader: is the murderer one of them? Each character is brought under suspicion, from Siri as well as the reader, while their friendliness is somehow still maintained, giving them an air of weightlessness on the scale of hero versus villain. It all culminates into a truly surprising finale that’s no less grim for all the what-ifs that spiral through the reader's mind through the novel.
I’m someone who hasn’t read a lot of thrillers and suspense novels, though I love a good mystery. I like that edge-of-your-seat feeling in a book, and Some Kind of Peace offers plenty of it. It’s a novel that’s impossible to put down. Siri’s world becomes ingrained into your own and you find yourself mesmerized by the mystery of it. Siri, too, becomes a quick friend in your literary life; I’m excited to follow her story as the series continues (to be published in English by Free Press next May). My final thoughts are that Some Kind of Peace is intensely atmospheric, highly engaging and wonderfully written with a story of genuine substance that will capture your imagination and keep you guessing until the end.