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Liselott Willén, Ingenstans under himlen (No Other Name Under Heaven)

Albert Bonniers förlag,  2010. ISBN: 9789100124526

Reviewed by Sarah Death in SBR 2011:2

Christian Weber MP cuts an elegant, assured figure in the media as he pilots his far from universally popular bill for a national DNA database towards success in the parliamentary vote. The emotional and physical trauma of his cancer diagnosis a few years before put severe strain on relations with his beautiful but judgmental wife and her severe clergyman father, but now he is in remission and moving on. One’s thoughts go initially to Arnaldur Indriðason’s Jar City, but the focus of that novel is on the homogeneity of the Icelandic gene pool, while Åland islander Willén is more concerned with the issue of potential miscarriage of justice through falsification of DNA evidence. A DNA sample Christian gives on live TV links him incontrovertibly - yet impossibly - to the unsolved murder of a 10-yearold girl called Louise, thirteen years earlier. He is arrested but released on bail, and disappears to seek information from Louise’s mother Anne Helene. Already scarred by the teenage rape of which Louise was the result, Anne Helene faked her own death and has been living at an isolated yard under the protection of a small-time criminal gang. She knows who killed Louise and knows he is looking for her, too. She is thrust into the company of Christian who is half hostage, half refugee at the yard; in this unlikely alliance of two victims of crime with very different agendas, a nervous intimacy develops. Will Christian discover how the forensic evidence was rigged, get his life back and forgive his wife for assuming he was guilty? Will Anne Helene overcome her destructive urge to confront her daughter’s killer? The tension is ratcheted up in this wellcrafted psychological drama, which is anything but a police procedural, and written in language with real savour. The title alludes to Acts 4:12: ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’

Also by Liselott Willén

  • Eldsmärket (The Birthmark). Reviewed by Laura A Wideburg in SBR 2003:2.

Other reviews by Sarah Death

Other reviews in SBR 2011:2

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