The Falling Detective
The Leo Junker Series #2
Translated by Michael Gallagher
The second instalment in the internationally bestselling Leo Junker series.
Leo Junker is back in the snake pit — aka the homicide unit — after a murder case where he was the intended victim. Still abusing prescription drugs and battling his inner demons, he’s doing his best to appear fit for duty.
Then a sociologist named Thomas Heber is found murdered. The only clues the police have to work with are Heber’s cryptic research notes, which indicate that someone else’s life is also under threat. But who?
Leo is put on the Heber case with his former nemesis Gabriel Birck, but when the case is abruptly reassigned to the Swedish Security Service, he realises this is no ordinary street mugging. Soon he finds himself entangled in a clash between a racist gang and their rivals, and enters a war that’s being waged on the streets, in the public eye, and in the shadows.
Clues like these…mean nothing in isolation, without the story that ties them all together. They are like road signs without symbols or letters. (p.39)
An interesting modern police procedural with relevant contemporary references to global social and political issues. It is also a domestic story about friendship, trust and betrayal and demonstrates just how easy it is for people to be manipulated by fear – of being exposed (for behaviours they do not wish made public or to be made accountable for) fear of rejection, of not belonging, of not living up to others expectations.
Carlsson offers many astute observations of life and society throughout the book, this one particular observation resonated with me: (of Michael and Christian p. 100) They were fifteen, and both believed that they understood everything. In fact they understood nothing.
Sociology and crime make for an interesting read, however I feel that as I missed reading the first book in this series I missed the connections between characters and didn’t have the background to understand some of the complicated relationships – I wanted to know what had happened to Leo, why he was taking medication, why he was hallucinating, showing obvious other signs of PTS (I knew it was to do with an incident relating to a shooting but little else). Whilst Carlsson provides some background information in this episode there is not enough for the new reader to be able to pick up the intricacies or nuances of relationships. I really wanted to know more about Leo and Grim, about Leo and Birck, about Leo and Sam. Regardless of my lack of history of some of the characters, this was still is an interesting look at some social political groups and situations that could easily become reality.
**The series will shortly be developed into a three season TV drama by StellNova Film.