By Sara Blaedel
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Format:ebook (Digital original) $1.99 $2.99 CAD
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Journalist Camilla Lind gets a frantic phone call: her father has been assaulted. He’s the editor of a local newspaper in Skagen, and the brutal attack also left the paper’s newsroom in flames. Could it be a response to the hard-hitting series he’d been printing about a real-estate racket run by wealthy out-of-towners targeting the quaint seaside tourist town?
As Camilla takes over the newspaper while he recovers, she quickly discovers that there are those in Skagen who would kill to keep their secrets safe….
The blow landed with such violent force that he was slammed against the wall and momentarily lost his balance.
John Lind had been heading toward the printer to get his article. He had noticed that the door to the editorial office was open, but he had not heard any footsteps.
The club hit him again, and this time he felt his own blood dripping as pain exploded in the right side of his head. He instinctually attempted to protect himself with his hands, but they were knocked out of the way by the next blows.
Is it money you…
He didn’t have time to finish the question before he was kicked hard from behind, knocking him down. Then a barrage of punches and kicks hailed down on him, until his consciousness withdrew in a fog.
He made one last attempt to get up before the club came down on him again, connecting with his skull with a crunching sound. Then, the light faded.
* * *
As the smoke twisted lazily toward the ceiling, Camilla Lind let her gaze follow it while she emptied her beer. The Friday bar at the Danish daily Morgenavisen had evolved into an actual party when the sub-editor put out more beer and wine and the youngest intern in the newsroom connected a pair of loudspeakers to his computer, turning up the volume of the music.
Camilla glanced at her wristwatch and noted that it was almost nine o’clock. The alcohol had drawn out little beads of sweat on her upper lip, and by now it was several hours since she and a couple of the other “mid-forties journalists” from the culture section had decided to stop going to the yard every time they wanted a smoke. That had provoked some tart comments—mostly from some of the younger female journalists, who still exchanged glances every time a lighter was drawn.
Taking in the position of the hands of her watch, she realized that she’d lost track of time. She had said she would be home an hour ago, but one beer had led to another, and suddenly she’d forgotten all about David, who was back in the apartment with her son, Markus. Her boyfriend had even offered to go shopping and have dinner ready when she got home.
Camilla heaved a sigh while rummaging through her bag for her cell phone, thinking about a plausible excuse.
The others were discussing Bruce Springsteen and his upcoming performance as the main attraction at the Roskilde Festival.
“There’s a bottle of cognac in it for you, if you assign me to it,” Balder tried, draining his beer while straining to focus on the editor of the culture section.
“I’d rather spend an extended weekend with a mummy than forty-five minutes with the Boss,” the younger colleague assigned to cover the concert quipped.
* * *
“Shut up, kiddo,” Camilla interrupted. She was about to defend her old idol when she spotted the eight missed calls from David on her phone. And another four from Markus. She couldn’t deal with calling them and explaining. Instead, she sent a couple of short text messages and was about to turn off the phone when it rang in her palm.
She nodded when her colleagues asked if she wanted another beer and was fumbling around to reject the call when she noticed the area code on the screen. It wasn’t like her stepmom to call this late on a Friday night, so Camilla answered it, pushing past the others who were packed around the oblong editorial table.
“It’s your dad,” Eva Lind said as Camilla came out into the hallway. “He’s been assaulted. It’s very serious; it happened down at the paper.”
The words hurtled along without pause. Camilla’s parents had divorced when she was eight years old, but she’d been mature enough to decide that she wanted to live with her dad and stay in Skagen. The last time she’d seen him had been four months ago, when she was home and visiting him and the stepfamily. During her childhood years, they’d grown to feel almost like her own mom and siblings.
“He’s just been scanned at the hospital in Frederikshavn, and now they’re moving him to the neurosurgical ward in Aalborg. It’s his skull. They don’t know if he’ll survive.”
While Eva talked, Camilla let herself slide onto the floor. It hadn’t been more than a couple of hours since she’d spoken to her dad, and now she visualized him. John Lind, editor-in-chief, and owner of the small independent weekly SkagensPosten and, furthermore, proprietor of a reputable printing house specializing in exclusive art books.
“He was unconscious when the ambulance arrived,” Camilla heard her stepmom say. The beer was beginning to surge up her throat. She leaned her head against the wall in an attempt to regain some measure of control over herself.
“They think he was hit with a club or a bat. There was blood; a lot of blood. Michael is down there now.”
Michael Eskildsen had been the love of Camilla’s youth; they’d gone to school together. Now he was a detective at the small police station in Skagen. It was a long time since she had seen him. Visits to her childhood home were few and far between.
“You’d better come home. Michael has already booked a ticket for you on the late flight. He’ll make sure you’re picked up in Aalborg.”
* * *
The flight was scheduled to depart at 10:50 p.m. She asked the cab to wait while she hurried up to her apartment to pack a bag.
Markus had fallen asleep on the couch, and David was waiting for her in the hallway with the door open and a worried look on his face. Camilla had called him on the way from the paper. For a minute, she’d been relieved to have such a dramatic excuse to trump all of his reproaches and accusations. But none came. Instead, he helped her pack and watched as she went into the living room and kissed Markus on the cheek and pulled her fingers through his hair.
“I can move in here for a couple of days,” David suggested as they went down the stairs.
Camilla gratefully accepted the offer. She hadn’t even thought about what she was going to do with her son, and there was no one else to take care of him. After the cabdriver had taken her bag, she and David hastily kissed good-bye.
“Promise to call?” David wanted to hold her hand, but she withdrew it and got into the cab. She saw him wave but leaned her head back against the headrest. Right now, she couldn’t cope with anything but getting to Aalborg in a hell of a hurry. Before it was too late.
As she sat in the plane, more flashes of memory emerged. The last time she’d seen her dad, he had been full of energy. On Easter Saturday, he had arranged a special exhibition at Klitgaarden; he’d rounded up numerous Skagen paintings that were privately owned and had therefore never before been accessible to the public. It was typical of her dad to get access to things like that, Camilla thought. When he put his mind to something, there was no holding him back. She drank a cup of coffee on the plane and thought about the latest story that had attracted her father’s attention. It was about Danish straw men who bought up houses in Skagen for rich Norwegians, who then rented them out, making a killing.
Camilla had helped him confirm it, and she had several Norwegian sources who’d candidly admitted to owning houses in Skagen, even though it was illegal for foreigners to own and rent out property. Her dad had enough exposing articles to run a whole series and had carefully planned to run it now, at the verge of peak season. The first one had just been printed and outraged letters to the editor were pouring in, but maybe the whole thing would quiet down if the rest of the series didn’t see print.
It was half past midnight when she arrived at the hospital. The ambience in the deserted hallways felt heavy with the night and the muted lighting. They were all there: her stepmother and her two stepsiblings. Tina was the first to get up when Camilla came through the revolving doors to the neurosurgical ward, and without words, the two embraced. Just then, a doctor and a nurse emerged from the bay where John Lind lay.
- "Sara Blaedel knows how to reel in her readers and keep them utterly transfixed."—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of I Know a Secret
- "Crime-writer superstar Sara Blaedel's great skill is in weaving a heartbreaking social history into an edge-of-your-chair thriller while at the same time creating a detective who's as emotionally rich and real as a close friend."—Oprah.com
- "One of the best I've come across."—Michael Connelly
- "Sara Blaedel is a force to be reckoned with. She's a remarkable crime writer who time and again delivers a solid, engaging story that any reader in the world can enjoy."—Karin Slaughter
- "Sara Blædel is at the top of her game. Louise Rick is a character who will have readers coming back for more."—Camilla Läckberg
- "Another suspenseful, skillfully wrought entry."—Booklist on The Killing Forest
- "Engrossing...Blaedel nicely balances the twisted relationships of the cult members with the true friendships of Louise, Camilla, and their circle."—Publishers Weekly on The Killing Forest
- "Blaedel delivers another thrilling novel...Twists and turns will have readers on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next."—RT Book Reviews on The Killing Forest
- "Will push you to the edge of your seat [then] knock you right off....A smashing success."—BookReporter on The Killing Forest
- "Gripping."—Washington Post on The Forgotten Girls
- "Tautly suspenseful and sociologically fascinating."—BookPage on The Forgotten Girls
- "Tightly knit."—Kirkus Reviews on The Forgotten Girls
- "Chilling...[a] swiftly moving plot and engaging core characters."—Publishers Weekly on The Forgotten Girls
- On Sale
- Dec 4, 2018
- Page Count
- 128 pages
- Grand Central Publishing