Sacrifice by Tim Svart

Sacrifice by Tim Svart
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A hidden scheme. Suspiciously pat answers. Can one untested leader navigate the thin line between professional and personal justice?
Essen, Germany. Chief Inspector “Karre” Karrenberg has no appetite for overseeing a homicide squad. Still grieving over his ex-wife’s fatal car crash that left his daughter in a coma, the veteran detective’s gut tells him to ignore all the evidence that it was an accident. But he’s forced to put his own needs aside when a poor young woman’s lakeside adventure transforms her into an unidentified body.

Willing to make risky trades for more information, Karre discovers the mysterious female was a high-class escort. But his attempts to find the dead girl’s client are stonewalled by tight-lipped suspects, iron-clad alibis… and a growing number of bodies.

Will Karre’s private tragedies blind him to clues that could prevent another murder?

Chief Inspector Karre Karrenberg is reluctant to be the acting head of his murder investigations team. With the recent tragic car accident killing his ex-wife and leaving his teenage daughter in a precarious coma, Karre has plenty on his mind already. But when an unidentified woman’s body is found near the lakeside, clearly murdered and there’s no one talking and everyone seeming to have a strong alibi Karre realizes he needs all his effort to try and find justice for this lady – as well as his own family.

I mainly purchased this book because I don’t believe I have ever read a police murder mystery based in Germany. I was strongly intrigued and am very pleased with this book. With a complex mystery that circles around nicely and has plenty of depth and questions, I was also easily dragged in by the small number of very strong secondary characters. Karre’s team-mates as well as a few key forensic characters made an excellent group and they all retained my attention. The fact this plot also clearly linked somehow to the car accident that recently killed Karre’s ex-wife and put his teen daughter into a coma also intrigued me – because at a first glance I assumed the two scenarios were not linked at all.

I have read a number of British police procedural mysteries, as well as a few Scandinavian police mysteries and I would place the tone and voice of this German offering somewhere in between the two. I felt this wasn’t as cosy or rural as I find British police procedural books tend to be. This definitely had more of a city feel to it with a somewhat darker or gritter turn than many British mystery’s feel to me. That said I didn’t feel this was as bleak or dark as many Scandinavian mysteries appear to me. There was still a fair bit of emotion and hope to this book – whereas I often find the Scandi crime novels to be quite terse and often bleak.

I very much enjoyed both the setting, pace and tone of this book. I was easily hooked on the characters and found the mystery complex enough to retain my attention all through the book and I am definitely interested in purchasing the second book in this series. A good first novel and a set of characters I hope to explore further as I work my way through the series.

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