Kindle Edition, 384 pages, To be published on March 5th, 2019, by Atria Books
Mickel Cardell, an infirm ex-soldier and former guard, fishes out a mutilated corpse from the fetid lake of Stockholm. The corpse has no limbs, eyes, teeth, or tongue. The only thing that distinguishes it from a discarded carcass is his mass of golden hair. Cecil Winge is a brilliant consulting detective to the Stockholm police and is suffering from tuberculosis. Together, Winge and Cardell must race against time to discover the monster who ravaged this unidentifiable man. Meanwhile, Kristopher Blix—a joyful fellow—arrives in Stockholm from his village to become a doctor. His initial good fortunes soon take a turn for the worse. In another corner of the city, Anna Stina—a young woman—is unjustly imprisoned in a workhouse. She hopes to escape from the hellhole, but she should do it soon since she is the next target of a sadistic guard. The paths of these extraordinary characters collide in unexpected ways in The Wolf and the Watchman penned by Niklas Natt Och Dag.
The Wolf and the Watchman takes the reader on a fateful journey into late 18th century Stockholm. The city is abuzz with conspiracy rumors and is divided sharply between the haves and have-nots. Niklas deserves an applause for his descriptive skills. In his deft hands, Stockholm—with its golden colored majestic buildings—is a living, breathing creature. He skillfully juxtaposes poverty and squalor of the destitute with the decadence and corruption of the affluent. The rich, as usual, are blind to the conditions of the poor. Consequently, I could feel an undercurrent of an uprising throughout the novel. Amidst this charged atmosphere, Winge and Cardell must deliver justice.
I have seldom seen such fantastic character development in a thriller. The fully developed backstory of every character provides them depth and fit seamlessly into the narrative. Cardell with his enormous strength, cynical disposition, and tendency to be foul-mouthed at the drop of a hat is a perfect foil for the stoic and physically weak Cecil Winge. Anna Stina was a major revelation. Her story mesmerized me.
Niklas builds the tempo slowly, like a spider painstakingly spinning its web. Once I was caught, I couldn’t stop reading until I turned the last page. Moreover, the villain here is truly a monster, and Niklas provides a fascinating insight into his depraved mind.
The Wolf and the Watchman is a terrific historical thriller that deserves to be on the shelves of every historical fiction and thriller enthusiast. I relished reading about the seedy underbelly of Stockholm and loved the whodunit.
The author largely spares us the brutality of reading through all the ordeals that the victim faced. Nevertheless, this book is intended solely for a mature audience.
Fan of Historical Fiction? Check out The Revolutionist by Robert Tucker – a tale of political intrigue and revenge set during the early 1900s.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free ARC of this novel. I opted to provide an honest review of this book.
Image sourced from http://www.simonandschuster.com. This review is also posted on Goodreads.