The Wolf and the Watchman
Release date: March 5th, 2019
“Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty…. “
When I came across this book I was intrigued and it didn’t disappoint. Well-written, clever, intricately plotted with well rounded, characters it kept me immersed in the story…. however, I issue a word of caution to sensitive readers… this book is graphic.
For his debut novel, Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty, the distention between the classes and the depravity of the seedy underbelly of a divided Stockholm in 1793.
Mickel Cardell a watchman and ex-soldier, is haunted by his past and learning to deal with the loss of his arm. When Mickel is called upon to fish a body out of the water he is overwhelmed by what he finds. An unknown young male, missing all four limbs, his tongue and eyes appear to all removed surgically prior to his death. When Cecil Winge, an attorney and consultant for the Swedish Police asks for his assistance, being an amputee himself Cardell cannot help but feel a connection to this poor victim and agrees.
Winge and Cardell are just two of the characters we meet along the way. There are two others, Kristofer Blix and Anna-Stina Knapp who we watch struggle and survive.
Kristof, a teen and former medic’s assistant from the country heads to Stockholm with hopes of becoming an elite and attending medical school. When he finds it’s a lot harder than he thought he makes errs in judgement and in desperation he gets caught up in something so depraved it will haunt him for the rest of his life. A fatherless teen Anna-Stina raise in poverty and forced to struggle most of her life, loses the one person who means the most to her and is abandoned to a corrupt system. When she is falsely convicted of a crime and thrown into prison her situation becomes more perilous.
As the story unfolds and we get to the bottom of this horrendous crime the lives of these four become intertwined and we follow along on their journeys. The author’s portrayals are unique and add such depth to the story as does his descriptions of Stockholm which is written so vividly it almost becomes a character in its own right.
I have to say that this is perhaps the most difficult review I have had to write, I really feel the book was well-written and clever but it definitely had a darkness that at the end of it left you with a queasy feeling or as I call it the “Ich” factor. It kept me engrossed which in my mind is what reading is all about. Not for the faint of heart but I recommend it!