Shadow - Karin Alvtegen The book begins in 1975 when a four year old boy is discovered abandoned at an amusement park with a note asking for him to be looked after. Then the narrative jumps forward to the present day where a 92-year-old woman, Gerda Person, dies alone in her flat. She has no living relatives so Social Services administrator Marianne Folkesson is given the task of putting her affairs in order and organising the funeral.

Gerda Persson, turns out to be the former housekeeper of the highly respected Nobel Laureate Axel Ragnerfeldt and his family.

Axel Ragnerfeldt is now an old man and has suffered from a stroke and subsequently is unable to communicate except by moving his finger. Marianne therefore contacts Axel's son, Jan-Erik, who has made a living of giving talks and readings from his Father’s books. Marianne asks him to find a photograph of Gerda for the funeral and Jan-Erik begins to search his father’s old house. It is here that he uncovers a series of devastating family secrets that should have stayed hidden.

The author has written a compelling tale of the bleakness of humanity and the lengths that some will go to protect themselves and their reputation at whatever the cost. Alvtegen cunningly weaves layer upon layer of complicated and complex story threads told by the characters themselves. These stories twine and inter twine in a series of flashbacks and past histories that bring the all choices of the characters and the subsequent consequences together.

I really loved about this book is the fact that only the reader can see all the pieces

It is a slow burner but the final thrilling dénouements are relentless and left me feeling exhausted and rather shaken. At this point I remembered Halina’s fable and set to pondering on which one of the characters had committed the worst crime….I thought about it for days

A dark, dark read.