Blog Tour/Book Review: Motive X by Stefan Ahnhem

Motive X Blog Tour Poster

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Motive X by Stefan Ahnhem. Thanks to Vicky at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy.

Praise for Stefan Ahnhem

Stefan Ahnhem is more gripping than Jo Nesbo, blacker than Stieg Larsson and more bleakly human than Henning Mankell’ Tony Parsons

Motive XAbout the Book

He strikes at random. His motive unknown. No one is safe…

Helsingborg police must solve the unsolveable. A wave of apparently random homicides is sweeping through their idyllic seaside town. The murders have no pattern, no order, no reason. The perpetrator is immune to psychological profiling; forensically untraceable; utterly invulnerable to modern police techniques.

The body count is growing. But lead investigator Fabian Risk is distracted by his mission to expose a corrupt colleague, and his boss Astrid is spiralling back into addiction. As the hunt for the solution becoming ever more desperate, their tight-knit team begins to unravel…

Motive X is both an explosive, multi-layered thriller and a fearless exploration of the darkest side of human nature. To enter Stefan Ahnhem’s world, with its interwoven plotlines and sprawling cast of characters, is to put yourself in the hands of a master storyteller.

Format: Hardcover, ebook (552 pp.)    Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 2nd May 2019    Genre: Thriller, Crime

Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
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Find Motive X  on Goodreads

My Review

I don’t read a lot of crime thrillers, especially those involving serial killers and gruesome murders (unless they’re set in a historical time period). However,  you don’t need to be an expert in the genre to recognise an author who’s a master in the art of creating a gripping and skilfully plotted story. Such is the case with Motive X by Stefan Ahnhem, translated by Agnes Broome.

Motive X is the fourth in the series (if you count the prequel, The Ninth Grave) featuring Swedish police detective, Fabian Risk. I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series and, while Motive X can be read as a standalone, it appears to pick up almost seamlessly from the end of the previous book, Eighteen Below. (More on that subject later.) In addition, there are frequent references to events in that book and its predecessor, Victim Without A Face, so for those inclined to read the whole series, I’d say it’s essential to  start from the beginning otherwise you’re likely to feel as if you’ve come into the cinema part way through a movie.

In Motive X, private and professional lives overlap and collide as the investigations being conducted by Risk and his colleagues tip over into personal missions to expose wrongdoing. Of course, with that comes danger, possibly from unexpected directions. After all, investigating crime is a risky business. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that pun.)

The book weaves together multiple story lines and the short chapters create a feeling of pace throughout. The author is also adept at crafting a compelling last sentence of a chapter before switching the focus to a different story line, leaving the reader in a state of suspense. Throw in a serial killer whose next move may literally depend on nothing more than chance and you have a book that kept this reader turning the pages right to the end. Ah, the end. Well, you know what I said earlier about the book picking up seamlessly from its predecessor? So don’t expect everything to be neatly wrapped up at the end of this one.

Motive X sheds a light on an unexpectedly dark side of Swedish society: racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, far right extremism, Islamophobia and paedophilia.  At just under 560 pages, Motive X is a book to get your teeth into but which will more than repay the time investment. It’s a dark, enjoyably complex and gripping read.

Motive X is book 8 of my 20 Books of SummerI received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Head of Zeus.

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In three words: Fast-moving, complex, compelling

Try something similar…Killed by Thomas Enger or Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl (click on titles to read my review)

StefanAhnhemAbout the Author

STEFAN AHNHEM is the internationally bestselling author of the Fabian Risk thrillers. He has worked as a screenwriter on Mankell’s Kurt Wallender series and serves on the board of the Swedish Writers Guild. He lives in Copenhagen.

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