Introduction: Never End by Ake Edwardson
Never End by Ake Edwardson, a Swedish author, is a detective story set in Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden. Ake Edwardson has been a journalist, a press officer at the United Nations, and a professor at Sweden’s Gothenburg University.
The protagonist of Never End is 41 year old Chief Inspector Erik Winter, who cannot find peace because of that one unsolved rape and murder case, which is now five years old. Another young woman, 19 year old Jeannette Bielke, who recently graduated, is raped but not killed, in the same spot as Beatrice Wagner, five years ago. Chief Inspector Winter is determined to solve this case.
Detectives Fredrik Halders and Aneta Djanali interview Jeannette Bielke, but she is not being completely honest with them, she is holding something back from them, and they do not have any idea of what it is. Winter also interviews her as well, and she is not completely honest with him either. Although she has been recently victimized, Jeannette is empathetic when she learns that Halders’ ex-wife was killed in a hit-and-run incident.
Shortly after Jeannette is raped, two other girls are killed in the same spot. All the victims have something in common, they are all around the same age when they are victimized. Winter and his team of detectives are working diligently and methodically to solve the crime and they need a breakthrough. Winter keeps reading the old case notes hoping to discover something that he might have missed all these years, and he has kept in touch with Beatrice Wagner’s parents. He returns to her bedroom, and looks at her photos again, and this time notices a photo taken in a room with an unusual brick wall. The parents are unable to identify where the photo was taken.
There are multiple story lines in Never End by Ake Edwardson, which makes for a very interesting read. In addition to the methodical investigation of the crimes, the interaction between Chief Inspector Winter and his team of detectives makes for a more compelling read. The story is very human because the characters are very well-developed and are dealing with issues that are relatable.
For instance, although Erik Winter appears to be happily married with a young daughter, he is a chain smoker, who hasn’t been able to give up his nicotine addiction. Halders’ is grieving his ex-wife, and trying to come to terms with raising his two young children alone. He doesn’t want to take time off, so he goes back to work. There is also a romantic tension between Halders and Djanali.
One issue, which I was surprised by, was that of racism. When most people think of Sweden, they think blond, blue eyes, but the character Aneta Djanali is black, and her parents are from Africa. One of the victims is also black and adopted. The issue of racism appears in the book when blacks are referred to as “darkies” and taking over the place.
In this story, the key to solving the cases is found in the photographs of the murder victims – the people in the photos who shouldn’t be there, and the unusual brick wall that’s in the photos of the murder victims. Where can the detectives find that room with the unique wall, and who are those unidentified people? If you love detective stories, and live in North America, you will find this story a little different, the pace is a bit slower, which is not a bad thing. After having participated in the Virtual Literary World Tour, I am more accustomed to stories set in places around the world.
Some things got lost in translation in Never End, which was bothersome. Some of the translation of Never End, was too North American, which didn’t feel authentic to me. In one case, one of the victims was seven weeks pregnant when she was killed, and the detectives referred to her as having a bun in the oven. I do not have any Swedish friends, but that phrase to me is a Western one. I may be wrong, but it didn’t fit with the setting. And there were a few other instances where North American phrasing and slang were used.
Final Thoughts: Never End by Ake Edwardson
Trying to solve the cases while reading Never End: A Chief Inspector Erik Winter Novel (Chief Inspector Erik Winter Novels) by Ake Edwardson is a great opportunity to hone your problem solving skills. I recommend the book, because it’s a good story, and it’s great to expose yourself to different cultures.
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