The Invisible Man From Salem is a story of a broken police officer who has been targeted by an enemy from the past. While he suspects who is targeting him, he must find his enemy and understand their complex history in order to save himself and the people he cares about.

Leo Junker is a disgraced Internal Affairs detective on suspension after having shot another officer in a botched arms dealing sting. He is taking Serax™ for stress and seeing a psychiatrist while hoping to get back on the force after the New Year. Awoken by the flashing lights of police cars, he discovers a woman has been murdered in the hostel on the ground floor of his apartment building.

Being a cop through and through, he investigates, earning him a spot on the suspect list. He would have ended up on that list anyway since a necklace in the dead woman’s hands has his fingerprint on it. He recognizes the necklace, prompting memories of his high school best friend and his first love. The book alternates back and forth from his youth to the present investigation, both past and present have a sense of growing menace.

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I enjoyed The Invisible Man from Salem. It fits well with other Scandinavian Noir fiction, focusing on motive and psychological suspense over amazing feats, gun fights, and high-tech derring-do. It is about people and understanding their relationships, about investigation and procedure, not being tough. This is the first in a new series by a new author and establishes a complex back story for one of those flawed, but fascinating detectives we always love to follow.

First series mysteries can either be the best or the weakest. Somehow, I think The Invisible Man from Salem is the latter. The next in the series will surely depend less on flashbacks to childhood and will be more in the present, which I would prefer. It was clear where the backstory was heading, so it felt more intrusive than informative as it continued throughout the book.

I am eager to read the next in the series, The Falling Detective, though it’s not available in the US yet. I don’t know why, but most of the time Scandinavian Noir books get translated and published in the U.K. first. When I was working, I frequently jumped the line by ordering from amazon.co.uk instead of waiting. I wish they would allow Kindle sales from the UK to the US.

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