For the Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

Over the past few years we’ve seen a surge in translated works from the Scandinavian countries and English readers now have an overwhelming selection of outstanding crime novels to choose from. Unfortunately the flooding of the Scandi-noir mass market also means that predictable plots and one-dimensional characters do seep through the cracks. For The Dead is not one of them. 

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She must find the truth about Francesca.
Before the past catches up with her...
Thirty years ago, the body of a teenage boy was found in Gullspång's lake, and his best friend vanished from her home. Paul Bergman's death was ruled a suicide; Francesca was never found.
Drawn back to Gullspång, Detective Inspector Charlie Lager is haunted by the strange house she knew as a child, and by the missing girl who once lived there. Convinced that the original investigation was flawed, Charlie is determined to uncover what really happened all those decades ago.
But her interest in Francesca's disappearance begins to stir up long-hidden resentments, and half-forgotten memories. And if the truth is revealed, what will it mean for the living - and FOR THE DEAD?

This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building that adds so much to the story.
Can't wait to read more of these.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Really enjoyed this book was so engrossed in it was on the edge of my seat will have to read the first one tho . Definitely recommend to others and give this a 4 stars
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I really enjoyed the first Charlie Lager book, For The Missing, so I was dead keen to read the follow up, For The Dead. This is a series where you will want to start from the beginning, so as not to miss anything about the character of Charline Lager.  Charlie is a Detective Inspector with the Stockholm Police and right now she is struggling. Thanks to the events of For the Missing, she is drinking too much and over medicating on anti-depressants.

As with the first book, this series is character driven and Charlie is front and centre of what is going on. Drawn back to her home town of Gullspång, Charlie has become fascinated a cold case from 1989.  Francesca Mild was only 17 when she disappeared from her home; police thought she may have been a runaway whilst others speculated that she was so distraught by the supposed suicide of her friend, Paul Bergstrom that she too may have taken her own life, though a body has never been found.

Journalist Johan Ro is also interested in this case and despite the fact that many in the police department think Charlie leaked information on a past case to him, the two decide to work together as Charlie takes time off to investigate outside of police auspices.

The story is told in a dual narrative, Charlie in the present day and Francesca in the past. Charlie becomes fascinated by Francesca, not least because she can’t remember anyone in Gullspång talking about this case when she was around investigating another missing girl case and she can’t understand why that would be.

Coming home to Gullspång causes emotional turmoil and the resurgence of many memories, not all of them pleasant for Charlie and as the book progresses it seems as if Charlie and Francesca’s lives have more than just Gullspång in common.

Not everyone is happy that Charlie and Johan are looking into Francesca’s death and those who are not are more than ready to show it.  The original police investigation begins to look very sloppy indeed with Francesca’s mental health frequently cited as the reason for her behaviour and no-one looking behind her actions to try and understand why she would behave as she did.

This is the strength of Lina Bengtsdotter’s writing. She is all about the psychology and depth of her characters, wanting the reader to understand what motivates them and why they are driven to act as they do. In investigating Francesca’s death, Charlie is also learning a lot about herself and her own upbringing. Once more she is confronted with ghosts from her past and fragments of memories of her mother keep popping into her head and will not go away. These are often things she would rather forget. But this sleepy village does not make that easy; this is a small place where everyone knows a bit of her history.

In Gullspång, there is also someone for whom the past is still very much alive; someone who is prepared to keep the truth hidden whatever the cost.

Verdict: The second in the Lager series lets the reader in to more of Charlie’s past and contains some surprising and shocking revelations that will undoubtedly impact on future books. The case is beautifully plotted and the atmosphere is delightfully tense with the disparate fragments coming together to tell a sad and intense story. Terrific writing and brilliantly drawn characters make this a compelling read. I do wish the translator was credited though – could not find that information anywhere.
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This is definitely a novel that needs to be read in sequence! Unfortunately I had not read the first in the series so found this one hard to get into because an awful lot of the story relates to the first in the series so I can't give the greatest review due to being utterly confused alot of the time.

On a positive note the story is written amazingly well and the atmosphere created is fantastic. The characters are likeable and relatable,  showing the strength of friendship and gut instinct.

I will go back and read the first novel and then reread this one before giving a full and honest review, so for now I won't be star rating it fully. For now i give 3*

Huge thanks to netgalley and Orion Publishing for the ARC.
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For the Dead is the second police procedural in the Detective Inspector Lager series and it reminds me exactly why I love Scandi noir with a passion. Stockholm Detective Charlie is drawn back to her hometown of Gullspång and becomes interested, thanks to journalist Johan bringing it to her attention, in a cold case from 1989 when seventeen-year-old Francesca Mild vanished from her home in a case which was never solved. Charlie decides she is going to investigate, ably assisted by friends, to try to bring the family some closure as to what happened to their daughter. As she begins to dig deeper she quickly comes to the realisation that the official investigation had been seriously flawed from the get-go. And when some of the townsfolk catch sight of her prying into the case many make their displeasure known. The original investigators appear to have assumed Francesca was a teen runaway and that her vanishing was precipitated by her friend Paul Bergman's apparent suicide. By all accounts, it seemed that the police couldn't close her case fast enough. But why? What is there to hide?

Francesca refused to believe that Paul committed suicide or drowned by accident; she thinks he was murdered and puts her investigative skills into action trying to uncover the truth. This possibly rubbed someone up the wrong way. Told from the perspective of Francesca in the past and Charlie’s investigation and what she uncovers in the present, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from both the victim and the seeker of justice. It made me incredibly sad that her disappearance was not taken seriously and her poor mental health was frequently cited as a get-out clause for the police. The atmosphere created was one of the standout aspects of the book where the ominous weather adds to the overall tension. It's a slow-burn, character-driven thriller yet this doesn't stop you being glued to the pages. It is an intricately plotted, intense and beautifully written piece of fiction. I look forward to the third instalment and being reacquainted with Charlie. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.
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Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
 #FortheDead #NetGalley

Lina Bengtsdotter absolutely deserves the title of the Swedish queen of crime fiction. This is Scandi-noir at its very best. There are no gimmicks in Bengtsdotter's books, just wonderfully, compelling stories. DI Lager, rightfully takes her place amongst the pantheon of Scandi-detectives, along with the great Wallander and Harry Hole. Then there is the plot.... This revolves around a cold-case from 1989, a disappearance and a murder. Told from the perspectives of Charlie and Francesca, the latter, best friends with the murdered boy, Paul, we gradually learn the secrets of the events of 1989. Whilst both are engaging narrators, there is a lot more going on between the pages of this book than is initially disclosed by the author. This is a twisty, impeccably plotted novel, to be sure, but it is the superbly detailed, character-driven, propelling force of the narrative that marks this one out as a first-class thriller. Written with pitch-perfect, hauntingly evocative prose, this novel encompasses all I love about Scandi-noir. A slow-burner, yes, but a literal page-turner, nevertheless.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for an advance copy of For the Dead, the second novel to feature Stockholm detective Charlie Lager, set in her home town of Gullspång.

Journalist Johan Ro interests Charlie in a missing person’s case from 1989 where 17 year old Francesca Mild disappeared from her home near Gullspång, never heard from again. On holiday in Gullspång Charlie decides to investigate unofficially with help from Johan and meets a wall of silence.

I really enjoyed For the Dead which is more character driven than fast paced action and not my usual fare. It is told alternately from Francesca and Charlie’s point of view so the reader has more information than the investigator but rather than make it boring it makes it more interesting as both have an interest in events and a completely different angle. 

Francesca is depressed after the death of her best friend, Paul, who drowned in the lake at their boarding school. An accident is the official explanation, suicide is the generally accepted solution and Francesca, alone, believes he was murdered and sets about investigating. Francesca, however, has a history of mental health issues so the reader never knows whether to believe what she says or not, her parents and doctor definitely don’t. She has a compelling story to tell and I found myself caught up in it, even though she wanders about her timeline over the course of her narrative. I guess it reinforces her fragility.

Charlie, on the other hand, is initially interested in the case because nobody mentioned Francesca when she was last in Gullspång looking for another missing teenager. She soon realises that her mother, Betty, has a role in Francesca’s story and that spurs her on. The novel is as much about her trying to reconcile her past and present to find some peace as it is about her investigation. I think she takes a few steps in the right direction in this novel but she’s still a troubled soul. I didn’t find her story as compelling as Francesca’s, perhaps because it’s mostly more mundane, but she’s certainly a more relatable character, making poor choices and trying to do better.

For the Dead is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
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I haven’t come across Lina Bengtsdotter before but I am now adding her previous DI Lager book on my list! 
This books is about Francesca, a girl who disappeared at the same time her friend was found dead in a lake. Drawn back to Gullspäng DI Lager finds herself looking into this disappearance, finding the original investigation flawed. DI lager wants to know what happened years ago, but her investigation starts stirring up the town and resentments and forgotten memories are beginning to surface. What will happen if the truth is revealed? 

Compelling writing with amazing descriptions, Lina Bengtsdotter really kept me hooked in this book. 
This book is more focused on the problematic relationships  and vulnerabilities of the characters, I personally am a bigger fan of fast paced mystery and thrillers but this book surprised me and I couldn’t put it down. 
The author sets the scenes perfectly and you start learning more about DI Lager as you read along.  
 I am aware there is a third book in the pipeline and I can’t wait to read it! The first one is also definitely on my list! 
Special thanks to #netgally and #orionbooks for the opportunity to read this book prior to its publishing date in exchange for an honest review.
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For the Dead is the second book in the Charlie Larger series. Having been able to read the first book at the beginning of 2019 and thoroughly enjoying it, I was really pleased to be able to start 2020 by tucking into book 2. At the time I got hold of a copy of the book I had not read any of the blurb, so actually had no idea what it was about and if I am totally honest that didn’t bother me one bit.
Still reeling from the revelations from the case that took her back to her hometown of Gullspång, Charlie finds herself drawn back there and to the unsolved case of a missing girl. The original investigations had Francesca down as a runaway after her best friend Paul Bergman had drowned in an apparent suicide. Intrigued why the case had never been mentioned when she was last in town and by how quick the original case had been closed Charlie starts doing some digging, a fact that is not very popular with quite a few people.
The book is told in part from Francesca’s viewpoint in the past and via Charlie’s investigations in the present. Whilst it took me a little time to get used to this as with each change of viewpoint there was also a change of pace, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. The more I read about Francesca’s life before she disappeared, the more I felt her frustration with her family and her school about how none of them believed her and put her down as being troubled and disruptive. These days her behaviour would probably be put down to something like ADHD and would be managed differently. 
This case also opens up more of Charlies past and she slowly starts to understand the dreams that have been plaguing her and she finds that she has links to the missing girl that will have repercussions in her future. You start to get a real insight into what makes her tick and the reasons behind some of her actions. The more she digs into the past the more she (along with me) has to find out why everyone is against her digging into the case. 
Normally I would say that most books could be read out of sequence in a series however in this case I would recommend that you read For the Missing before reading For the Dead as otherwise some references may not make sense and you may be left a little confused. Overall I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more about Charlie Lager in the future
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This was a dark and intense police procedural. I felt it was well written and had well drawn characters.
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