FOR Swedish TV journalist Ellen Tamm, a few days at her family’s estate on a relatively isolated island about an hour’s drive outside Stockholm is supposed to form part of an emotional rehabilitation plan.
Crime reporter Tamm is still reeling from the after-effects of her entanglement in the disappearance and death of a young girl, Lycke (the subject and title of author Mikaela Bley’s debut novel), in the city earlier in the year and that case’s reawakening of memories of her own twin sister’s drowning when they were children.
For the past several months has been unable to work. In fact, she is barely holding her life together, leaving the rent on her apartment unpaid, eating poorly if at all and closing herself off from her friends and colleagues.
On her way to the island, however, Tamm drives straight into a tiny satellite community in upheaval. A woman’s body has been found in a vehicle that morning and police have an area of the roadway cordoned off.
Should Tamm continue on as scheduled to spend the allocated time being fussed over by her controlling mother, or should she instead give in to her professional instinct and start digging for information on this new victim? She is, after all, the first member of the media to have arrived on the scene, even if her presence there is due to sheer chance.
As details of motorist Liv’s identity are unravelled Tamm discovers a world of anti-social behaviour, unconventional relationships, public deception and personal betrayal that pushes her ever-deeper into the darkness of self-doubt, mistrust and fear. Has she made an error of judgement from which she will never be able to recover this time?
A psychological thriller with deeply disturbing themes at its heart, Liv inhabits the unseemly underbelly of the outwardly picture-perfect existence of middle-class Swedes.