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In the final days of summer, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken disgraced ex-officer Leo Junker. Though suspended from the force, he can’t stay away for long. Bluffing his way onto the crime scene, he examines the dead woman and sees that she is clasping a cheap necklace — a necklace he instantly recog In the final days of summer, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken disgraced ex-officer Leo Junker. Though suspended from the force, he can’t stay away for long. Bluffing his way onto the crime scene, he examines the dead woman and sees that she is clasping a cheap necklace — a necklace he instantly recognises. As Leo sets out on a rogue investigation to catch the killer, a series of frightening connections emerge, linking the murder to his own troubled youth in Salem — a suburb of Stockholm where social and racial tensions run high — and forcing him to confront a long ago incident that changed his life forever. Now, in backstreets, shadowed alleyways, and decaying suburbs ruled by Stockholm’s criminal underground, the search for the young woman’s killer — and the truth about Leo’s past — begins.


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In the final days of summer, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken disgraced ex-officer Leo Junker. Though suspended from the force, he can’t stay away for long. Bluffing his way onto the crime scene, he examines the dead woman and sees that she is clasping a cheap necklace — a necklace he instantly recog In the final days of summer, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken disgraced ex-officer Leo Junker. Though suspended from the force, he can’t stay away for long. Bluffing his way onto the crime scene, he examines the dead woman and sees that she is clasping a cheap necklace — a necklace he instantly recognises. As Leo sets out on a rogue investigation to catch the killer, a series of frightening connections emerge, linking the murder to his own troubled youth in Salem — a suburb of Stockholm where social and racial tensions run high — and forcing him to confront a long ago incident that changed his life forever. Now, in backstreets, shadowed alleyways, and decaying suburbs ruled by Stockholm’s criminal underground, the search for the young woman’s killer — and the truth about Leo’s past — begins.

30 review for The Invisible Man from Salem

  1. 5 out of 5

    Raven

    The book introduces us to the world weary, disgraced Internal Affairs officer, Leo Junker. When a young woman is found murdered in Junker’s apartment block, he bluffs his way onto the crime scene, despite his current suspension from the force, and sees that she is clasping a necklace – a necklace he is all too familiar with. As Leo sets out on his own gung-ho investigation to catch the killer, a series of frightening connections emerge linking the dead woman to his own troubled youth in Salem, a The book introduces us to the world weary, disgraced Internal Affairs officer, Leo Junker. When a young woman is found murdered in Junker’s apartment block, he bluffs his way onto the crime scene, despite his current suspension from the force, and sees that she is clasping a necklace – a necklace he is all too familiar with. As Leo sets out on his own gung-ho investigation to catch the killer, a series of frightening connections emerge linking the dead woman to his own troubled youth in Salem, a Stockholm suburb where social deprivation and racial tension have a strong foothold. He’s forced to confront an incident long ago that changed his life forever. Leo finds himself absorbed back into the dangerous territory of his youth, desperately seeking a figure from his past, who is hell-bent on retribution and shrouded in mystery whilst also being seemingly impossible to track down. Leo Junker is an interesting character. He has risen above his humble roots to pursue a career in the force. When he was head-hunted for the Internal Affairs division, trouble ensued as he was asked to spy on fellow members of the department. After an ill-fated criminal operation he fell from grace. However, he retains a steely determination to insinuate himself back into the front-line, particularly with his personal connection to this new case. In some ways, Leo fits the typical portrait of fictional detectives. He’s desperately unlucky in love, and generally world weary. Whether this is due in part to the translation, there is no real vibrancy in him and little to make us empathise with him. He seems a little too self-absorbed throughout. When an ex-lover is drawn into the investigation, Leo comes across as just a bit too needy, and this is somewhat at odds with the picture that has been built up of him. Leo is harder to engage with than many other detectives in Scandinavian crime fiction. There are a few odd episodes in the book where Carlsson seemed to be channeling Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, through Junker’s personality and dialogue. However this is done inconsistently and confuses our perception of his character slightly with this tainted authorial voice. A stronger aspect of the book is the representation of Salem. Here Carlsson truly succeeds in painting a vivid picture of the estate where Leo grew up. There is a highly visual depiction of the layout and housing, and the attendant social problems of this run-down and deprived area. With some of the focus being on Junker’s school years and the alliances he formed there, Carlsson captures well the voice of rebellious youth, and the overarching importance that people attach to the actions of their teenage years when looking back on them. Obviously, there is one extremely important event in our hero’s early years that impinges on the present, but the folly of youth and misguided actions are exceptionally well-depicted, particularly in relation to the killer himself. The Invisible Man from Salem is a fairly satisfying read, with a couple of quibbles along the way. The author has a tendency to draw too heavily on some familiar tropes in crime fiction with the Marlow-esque narration sequences and some occasional anonymous narration by the killer himself. There’s a possible homage to Steig Larsson with a feisty tattooed girl too! Minor irritations aside, this is an enjoyable enough slice of Scandinavian noir for fans of the genre, and would not dissuade this reader from dabbling in the next in the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    It took me a while to get started on this one. The cover on my copy is the one with the black marker zebra stripes scoring out the author and the title on the out-sized cover. It's not a look that begs to be picked up. Junker turns out to be a bit of a train wreck, suspended from the force for a police op gone wrong and dragging a small mountain of emotional baggage around with him. Nordic noir does throw up some really miserable human beings and Junker seems to be a fine specimen of the type. W It took me a while to get started on this one. The cover on my copy is the one with the black marker zebra stripes scoring out the author and the title on the out-sized cover. It's not a look that begs to be picked up. Junker turns out to be a bit of a train wreck, suspended from the force for a police op gone wrong and dragging a small mountain of emotional baggage around with him. Nordic noir does throw up some really miserable human beings and Junker seems to be a fine specimen of the type. Wallander is almost cheery by comparison. A murder occurs close to home, which Junker bluffs his way into an early look at. He finds an item on the body that links with a friendship from his youth. While the official investigation treads water Junker relives his past which reads, in length, like a coming of age narrative. Carlsson writes well and his dialogue seems to survive the translation from the Swedish to English without having that stilted edge that you sometimes get in translated work. Themes touch on deal with dysfunctional families, bullying, responsibility, guilt, spiral violence, friendship, social invisibility and crime. Plenty to be going on with anyway. More Junker novels are on the way.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (knasentjej)

    Here you can read my review in Swedish: https://jennyjag.wordpress.com/2015/0... Here you can read my review in Swedish: https://jennyjag.wordpress.com/2015/0...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Past and present... Suspended cop, Leo Junker, is awakened by the flashing blue light of police cars parked outside his apartment block. A prostitute has been murdered in the hostel for down-and-outs situated on the ground floor. Leo sneaks past the cops guarding the entrance to have a look around before the police detectives arrive, and is shocked when he sees what the victim is clutching in her hand – a necklace Leo instantly recognises. There's quite a lot about this book that should have made Past and present... Suspended cop, Leo Junker, is awakened by the flashing blue light of police cars parked outside his apartment block. A prostitute has been murdered in the hostel for down-and-outs situated on the ground floor. Leo sneaks past the cops guarding the entrance to have a look around before the police detectives arrive, and is shocked when he sees what the victim is clutching in her hand – a necklace Leo instantly recognises. There's quite a lot about this book that should have made me dislike it. Leo is angst-ridden in the extreme – traumatised and disgraced after a fatal shooting incident, he pops tranquillisers constantly, often washing them down with absinthe. He's a maverick, working the case on his own even though he's on long-term sick-leave – a euphemism for suspension in his case, till his superiors can decide what to do with him. Some days the mix of drugs, alcohol and stress leave him barely conscious, much less functional. And part of the book is in the dreaded first person, present tense, which makes my hackles rise more and more as it continues its tediously ubiquitous hold over crime fiction. However, the quality of the writing and translation is high, and after a bit of a shaky start the story hooked me completely. It's another of these books, so prevalent at the moment, where the present day crime arises out of events in the past, and it is the strand from Leo's youth that raises the book well above standard. Blissfully this strand, which is actually the bulk of the book, is written in the past tense. Also, because Leo is young in it, he hasn't yet become the drunken, pill-popping mess he is in the present. Young Leo lives in Salem, a run-down area on the outskirts of Stockholm, a place where the youngsters grow up without much in the way of hope or aspiration. For years he has been the victim of two older bullies, but when he is around sixteen he meets up with another boy, John Grimberg, 'Grim', who's a bit of a loner and misfit, and the two quickly become friends. Grim has a younger sister, Julia, to whom Leo finds himself becoming attracted, despite knowing Grim is overly protective of her. This little triangle is the basis for the story in the past and for the events that will happen years later in the present. Leo's family is strong and quite supportive, but Grim and Julia aren't so lucky with their parents. The book gives a convincing picture of the way adolescents can live a separate life from their families even though they are still at home, dealing with their own problems as best they can. Bullying is a major feature of the story and again Carlsson handles it sensitively and believably. He also shows how easily young boys can find themselves drifting into a life of crime, when neither their families nor communities are there to give them the support and guidance they need. I found this whole section of the story entirely credible and absorbing to the point where I didn't want to put the book down. I could have lived with a bit less swearing and teenage sex, but both were consistent with the characters and relevant to the plot. The present day strand also kept me interested, even though I didn't find older Leo as sympathetic a character as his younger self. The solution becomes obvious pretty early on, so the bulk of this section is more about tracking the murderer than trying to work out whodunit. There is a thrillerish aspect to the story but it doesn't go wildly over the top. In fact, Leo's maverick tendencies lessen over the course of the story as he is gradually sucked more into the official investigation. Overall I thought this was an excellent read, and will be looking forward to reading more from the author in the future, with my fingers firmly crossed that Leo can put his troubled past behind him, along with the drink and drugs. Apparently the book was named Best Crime Novel of 2013 by the Swedish Crime Association – well-deserved, I think. I received this book free from the publisher, Scribe Publications. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  5. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    An entertaining police procedural that pits the protagonist, one who isn't an 'active policeman' rather a member of Internal Affairs against a killer linked to his past. Leo Junker, suspended following the events of a previous case he was involved in is still reeling from the outcome and being treated as a rat among his fellow officers by virtue of his position in IA, is rudely woken by the sounds of sirens and the smell of death in his apartment complex. Upon discovering police officers in the An entertaining police procedural that pits the protagonist, one who isn't an 'active policeman' rather a member of Internal Affairs against a killer linked to his past. Leo Junker, suspended following the events of a previous case he was involved in is still reeling from the outcome and being treated as a rat among his fellow officers by virtue of his position in IA, is rudely woken by the sounds of sirens and the smell of death in his apartment complex. Upon discovering police officers in the stairwell and lower levels, he soon wrangles his way into the crime scene to find a young woman murdered and the ghosts of his past alive an wailing at him; the murdered woman, having on her person, a trinket Leo's youth from a lost lover. There is a lot going on in this book; Leo's earlier case, his teenage past, and the present day murder in his apartment complex. Yet, the plot threads do converge and intertwine with one another as the story unfolds providing context to the present day narrative. Former friends during his adolescence form a large part of the story and push the criminal component to the side as Leo is reunited with his disturbing past. I found THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM to be an above average read. One the relies heavily on the protagonist, Leo Junker, to connect with readers - as the story largely revolves around him. Luckily for me, this was the case. I enjoyed reading about his past, the case where he was 'thrown to the wolves', and how the present day murder investigation tied in with his teenage friends. I highly recommend THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM for readers of crime fiction who are looking for character-centric read that still encompasses the core elements of the genre. This review first appeared on my blog: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sofie Strömvall

    Finally over! What a bad and meaningless little story. This is going in the recycling bin.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I'm now firmly of the opinion that it takes real skill to stuff up the order of a series to the extent that I seem to manage to do it. One day I'll find a use for that skill, but nowadays it just means I spend my life staring at piles of books thinking, oh buggeration, there's another one I should have read before... Thus THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM. Which is the first in the Leo Junker series, a series which I've read in the order THE FALLING DETECTIVE (#2); MASTER, LIAR, TRAITOR, FRIEND (#3) ( I'm now firmly of the opinion that it takes real skill to stuff up the order of a series to the extent that I seem to manage to do it. One day I'll find a use for that skill, but nowadays it just means I spend my life staring at piles of books thinking, oh buggeration, there's another one I should have read before... Thus THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM. Which is the first in the Leo Junker series, a series which I've read in the order THE FALLING DETECTIVE (#2); MASTER, LIAR, TRAITOR, FRIEND (#3) (so at least that was right), then THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM (#1) and now I've got THE THIN BLUE LINE (#4) to go. Fortunately, none of the mis-ordered reading mattered (exploration of this below). This is an excellent series, dark and very noirish in styling, set in Stockholm, featuring disgraced Internal Affairs officer Leo Junker. This case, that of a young woman murdered in a refuge on the ground floor of his apartment building, he bluffs / forces / inserts himself into the crime scene when sheer curiosity takes over from any possible police rules. The dead woman is clutching a necklace, one that turns out to be very intimately connected to him, and to his childhood, and one that he really didn't need to be anywhere near once it was found in the hands of a dead young woman. What started out as a seemingly random killing, or a domestic, or something connected to the drugs underworld, then takes Junker back to his troubled youth in the Stockholm suburb of Salem, back to a lurking presence from that past, and what seems like a very personal vendetta against his present. Having been mightily intrigued by THE FALLING DETECTIVE, and pretty well hooked by MASTER, LIAR, TRAITOR, FRIEND going back to book number one in the series definitely filled in some gaps in my understanding of the central character - Leo Junker - and made me think long and hard about how readers connect with a series overall. This opening salvo sets up the story of Junker in a very noirish manner. A lone wolf, world weary, disgraced, suspended police officer with a medical issue, he's repressed, self-absorbed, convinced of his own rightness, even when confronted with his wrongness and oddly determined to keep the world at bay, whilst never actually being able to leave well enough alone. Whether or not this would have been an opening to a series that would have grabbed my interest as hard as the first and second books did is hard to say. By the later books author Christoffer Carlsson had settled into a style - noir in flavour, Swedish in delivery that dodged some of the familiar tropes more evident in this first novel, although I did find the clever, forceful, tattooed ex-lover an interesting little hat tip. There's also something in this novel that suggests, subtly, that Junker actually couldn't give a monkey's what anyone thinks - including the reader, which is both slightly off-putting and mightily intriguing all at the same time. If you're coming to the Leo Junker series in the correct order, and you're feeling any of the slight quibbles I felt then I can only suggest that you press on with haste. If you're coming to the series in the correct order, and you've not experienced a single one of the slight quibbles, then I wouldn't be at all surprised about that either. I'm certainly intending to read novel number 4 as soon as I possibly can. This is a good series, which has the potential to be a great series indeed. https://www.austcrimefiction.org/revi...

  8. 5 out of 5

    DIEGO KEVIN

    *This comment has been written by a spanish speaker. If you see something wrong withthe use of English language, please, don´t hesitate in comment it. Thanks* *This comment may contain spoilers* The invisible man of Salem is a swedish novel that narrate the story of Leo Junker, who is a suspended police officer, when a woman is found dead in the block of departments where Leo lives. It´s a enjoyable novel with some interesting points and gives us a different point of view on Swedish society. In ad *This comment has been written by a spanish speaker. If you see something wrong withthe use of English language, please, don´t hesitate in comment it. Thanks* *This comment may contain spoilers* The invisible man of Salem is a swedish novel that narrate the story of Leo Junker, who is a suspended police officer, when a woman is found dead in the block of departments where Leo lives. It´s a enjoyable novel with some interesting points and gives us a different point of view on Swedish society. In addition, the story is narrated in different moments of the Junker´s life and -I think- the author makes good use of this technique. As we read the book, we know more about Leo Junke and the reasons of his present. Recently, he lost his job due to an unclear police operation in which he was involved. Shortly before -or after. It was not clear to me- he and his girlfriend had an accident and she lost her baby. This was the trigger for their breakup. As a result of all this, he´s an alcoholic and lonely man. However, I want to talk about the villain of the novel and, particularly about his motivations. Jhon Grimberg was a child who lives close to Junke during his childhood. Son of an alcoholic and passive-aggressive father and a mother with mental problems grew up in a broken house. It seems that his only hope is his little sister: Julia. He developed the ability of smell really well, so well that he could find money in the Leo´s house just because of the smell of money. Looks like this will be important in the conclusion of the novel, but lost a lot of meaning with the progress of the story. Grim -as Leo Junke called Jhon- begins in the criminal world by making false identifications. The fist time he did this was for himself: he changed his birth year from 1997 to 1998. He only added one year. I like this scene because it shows as a mischief -rather than a crime- and this is going to be really important in the Jhon’s future as a criminal. We must also point out the heavy society where they were growing: in addition to what they were going through in their homes, at school and on the street, they were victims or witnesses of harassment and abuses. So, it´s not difficult for us to understand the reasons why Grim will become in a criminal. What I don´t understand is the reason he gave to Leo for to overprotect his sister. He said he did it that because his sister was the only reasons why his family stayed together. But, consciously or unconsciously, he did many things for break his family, like be a criminal. At one point, I thought he did it because his family needed the money, but then we discovered that only at the end of his parent´s life he did use his own money for household expenses. In my opinion, this wasn´t a real reason for be overprotective with his sister and that’s really disappointing because the progress of the story was going very well, but that shows a plot error. Or maybe it´s part of the plot, because every what we thought about the characters most of the time is wrong. This is clear when what we thought about Leon being kind and only a victim of a corrupted society changes when we know the reason of Julia´s death. Maybe everything is a lie, even what the author wants us to know. In conclusion, it’s an entertained novel with nice characters and a simple but good story. There are some free moments, but in general I´d recommend this as a light reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katheryn Thompson

    Leo Junker is a suspended Internal Affairs officer, shaped by his childhood in Salem, a rough suburb of Stockholm, haunted by his failed relationship, and increasingly reliant on medication and alcohol. One night he is woken up by blue police lights outside his apartment block, and bluffs his way onto the crime scene of a murder, which he assumes to be a coincidence. But it soon becomes apparent that the rogue investigation that Leo embarks on, to catch the killer, is closely linked with himself Leo Junker is a suspended Internal Affairs officer, shaped by his childhood in Salem, a rough suburb of Stockholm, haunted by his failed relationship, and increasingly reliant on medication and alcohol. One night he is woken up by blue police lights outside his apartment block, and bluffs his way onto the crime scene of a murder, which he assumes to be a coincidence. But it soon becomes apparent that the rogue investigation that Leo embarks on, to catch the killer, is closely linked with himself and a past he has tried to leave behind. While the world-weary, rule-breaking police officer with a past which comes back to haunt them is something of a cliche, it can still make for an interesting and enjoyable protagonist, if done well. I found The Invisible Man From Salem to be a solid four stars in this respect; too original for three stars but not original enough for five. Leo's backstory is surprisingly emotive, and his childhood home of Salem very well portrayed, while his character could benefit from being distinguished by more than just this past. Hopefully that will be developed more in the second book in the series. Also, am I the only one who really likes this book cover?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Review: The Invisible Man (Leo Junker #1) by Christoffer Carlsson (author); Michael Gallagher (translator) Publisher: Scribe Publications; (14 July 2016)   ISBN-13: 978-1925228786   Source: Real Readers    Rating: 3*   Synopsis: When a young woman is shot dead in his apartment block, disgraced former police officer Leo Junker is one of the first on the scene. Examining the dead body, he notices that the woman is clasping a cheap necklace - a necklace he instantly recognises. Despite being warned off the Review: The Invisible Man (Leo Junker #1) by Christoffer Carlsson (author); Michael Gallagher (translator) Publisher: Scribe Publications; (14 July 2016)   ISBN-13: 978-1925228786   Source: Real Readers    Rating: 3*   Synopsis: When a young woman is shot dead in his apartment block, disgraced former police officer Leo Junker is one of the first on the scene. Examining the dead body, he notices that the woman is clasping a cheap necklace - a necklace he instantly recognises. Despite being warned off the case, Leo sets out on a rogue investigation to catch the killer, uncovering a series of frightening connections between the murder and his own troubled youth in Salem, and forcing him to confront a long ago incident that changed his life forever.   Review: After a rather rocky start, I decided to persevere with The Invisible Man From Salem, because I had heard such good things about the author, and the story had really appealed to me. The Leo Junker of the present day is in a sorry state. Suspended from the police force and with a penchant for knocking back tranquilizers with shots of absinthe, Leo is suddenly transported back in time when a piece of evidence ties him to this current case. Leo's teenage years are told in the present time and first person, which I an not usually a huge fan of, but the younger Leo is more optimistic, relatively sober, and not yet reliant on pharmaceuticals to get him through the day. He is also very well written, and nothing is lost in the translation. This is where the plot began to sink its claws in and I started wondering what the rest of this book held for the maverick cop.   All in all, this was an enjoyable read but, for me, the 'wow' factor was missing. Special thanks Scribe, Real Readers and the team at nudge for providing me with a copy of this book, in return for my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gretel

    Leo Junker has been suspended from his duties in the police force for taking the fall in a failed investigation. He returns to dreary Salem, where he grew up, where a woman is found murdered in the block of flats he lives in. He has to find redemption, not only for this murdered woman, but for himself and his illicit investigation takes him into the murky Salem underworld and his own dark past growing up in Salem. This is a very different type of crime novel. It has the components of many Nordic Leo Junker has been suspended from his duties in the police force for taking the fall in a failed investigation. He returns to dreary Salem, where he grew up, where a woman is found murdered in the block of flats he lives in. He has to find redemption, not only for this murdered woman, but for himself and his illicit investigation takes him into the murky Salem underworld and his own dark past growing up in Salem. This is a very different type of crime novel. It has the components of many Nordic crime books; a troubled police officer, a bleak setting, shady goings on in the force, but Leo's narrative really sets it apart. Unlike a lot of crime novels, it is told from Leo's (first person) perspective and because of this it feels very personal. In the novel Leo looks back to his teenage past, growing up in Salem and finding friendship and first love, and this means the novel also works as a coming-of-age tale, done surprisingly well. It's fresh and it works. Part of me thinks that Leo Junker has given away too much about himself; enough for a few novels, and it makes me wonder if Carlsson has enough backstory of Leo's to reveal in upcoming books. Either way, I'm excited to see what Carlsson does next.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I received my copy through Goodreads First Reads, and was absolutely delighted -Scandi noir is my new favourite genre, and this book more than lived up to the billing. Slower paced than the Millennium Trilogy or the gore-drenched Nesbo novels, The Invisible Man from Salem nevertheless had an intensity that sucks the reader in and keeps the pages turning. This is apparently only the fist book in a series, and I can already appreciate that there is a lot of mileage in the mysterious past and flaws I received my copy through Goodreads First Reads, and was absolutely delighted -Scandi noir is my new favourite genre, and this book more than lived up to the billing. Slower paced than the Millennium Trilogy or the gore-drenched Nesbo novels, The Invisible Man from Salem nevertheless had an intensity that sucks the reader in and keeps the pages turning. This is apparently only the fist book in a series, and I can already appreciate that there is a lot of mileage in the mysterious past and flaws of anti-hero Leo Juncker. I'll be looking out for the rest of the series with interest!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Niklas Pivic

    Simple sentences and not trying too hard - at creating interesting, complex characters and a good plot - made this book roll, and it was a very quick read. A step away from what's drab in bad, older crime novels, which can at times read like a blueprint of the innards of a prejudiced mind. This one was interesting until the end.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    The Invisible Man From Salem is a story of a broken police officer who has been targeted by an enemy from the past. While he suspects who is targeting him, he must find his enemy and understand their complex history in order to save himself and the people he cares about. Leo Junker is a disgraced Internal Affairs detective on suspension after having shot another officer in a botched arms dealing sting. He is taking Serax™ for stress and seeing a psychiatrist while hoping to get back on the force The Invisible Man From Salem is a story of a broken police officer who has been targeted by an enemy from the past. While he suspects who is targeting him, he must find his enemy and understand their complex history in order to save himself and the people he cares about. Leo Junker is a disgraced Internal Affairs detective on suspension after having shot another officer in a botched arms dealing sting. He is taking Serax™ for stress and seeing a psychiatrist while hoping to get back on the force after the New Year. Awoken by the flashing lights of police cars, he discovers a woman has been murdered in the hostel on the ground floor of his apartment building. Being a cop through and through, he investigates, earning him a spot on the suspect list. He would have ended up on that list anyway since a necklace in the dead woman’s hands has his fingerprint on it. He recognizes the necklace, prompting memories of his high school best friend and his first love. The book alternates back and forth from his youth to the present investigation, both past and present have a sense of growing menace. I enjoyed The Invisible Man from Salem. It fits well with other Scandinavian Noir fiction, focusing on motive and psychological suspense over amazing feats, gun fights, and high-tech derring-do. It is about people and understanding their relationships, about investigation and procedure, not being tough. This is the first in a new series by a new author and establishes a complex back story for one of those flawed, but fascinating detectives we always love to follow. First series mysteries can either be the best or the weakest. Somehow, I think The Invisible Man from Salem is the latter. The next in the series will surely depend less on flashbacks to childhood and will be more in the present, which I would prefer. It was clear where the backstory was heading, so it felt more intrusive than informative as it continued throughout the book. I am eager to read the next in the series, The Falling Detective, though it’s not available in the US yet. I don’t know why, but most of the time Scandinavian Noir books get translated and published in the U.K. first. When I was working, I frequently jumped the line by ordering from amazon.co.uk instead of waiting. I wish they would allow Kindle sales from the UK to the US. ★★★ http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpres...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heli

    Important take on bullying and the spiraling effect it has, but the plot feels quite simplistic and relies heavily on the main character Leo Junker. He is a cop with a tragic past (how unoriginal, though Carlsson describes his bleak childhood and first love masterfully) and his refusal to tell his superiors about his past works as a plot tool for Carlsson to slowly reveal to the readers what exactly has happened and why Leo's childhood friend wants revenge so badly. (Even though the friend himse Important take on bullying and the spiraling effect it has, but the plot feels quite simplistic and relies heavily on the main character Leo Junker. He is a cop with a tragic past (how unoriginal, though Carlsson describes his bleak childhood and first love masterfully) and his refusal to tell his superiors about his past works as a plot tool for Carlsson to slowly reveal to the readers what exactly has happened and why Leo's childhood friend wants revenge so badly. (Even though the friend himself sometimes seems to be unsure as to why he is so keen on getting his revenge; which might be exactly what Carlsson wants readers to think about: ordinary people who have messed up their lives so badly there's no turning back anymore = bleakness, hopelessness of dysfunctional families, where tragedies sum up and ruin your life and you might not be able to do anything to stop it...). If the main character spilled the beans right at the beginning there wouldn't be much substance for a novel... But as this is the first novel of a series, the following books might offer more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kim Russell

    I have just finished reading Christoffer Carlsson's The Invisible Man from Salem stave by stave with The Pigeonhole. It’s a dark Swedish thriller, with an unreliable narrator who happens to be a suspended detective living above a homeless shelter. He seems to be addicted to painkillers and doesn’t have much luck with relationships of any kind. The way Stockholm is described reminds me of Stieg Larssson's writing and the characters are just as broken and fallible. If you enjoy Scandi noir, this i I have just finished reading Christoffer Carlsson's The Invisible Man from Salem stave by stave with The Pigeonhole. It’s a dark Swedish thriller, with an unreliable narrator who happens to be a suspended detective living above a homeless shelter. He seems to be addicted to painkillers and doesn’t have much luck with relationships of any kind. The way Stockholm is described reminds me of Stieg Larssson's writing and the characters are just as broken and fallible. If you enjoy Scandi noir, this is one for you.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emma Balkin

    This book was certainly a page turner. I may even follow up with others in the series later on. A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read, a book by an author from a country you've never visited, a book with an unreliable narrator, a book set in two different time periods, the first book in a series you haven't read before a book from a genre/subgenre that you've never heard of (Scandinavian thriller), a book with an eccentric character.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Werner

    Dreadful, rambling, degenerate rubbish. That is to say, I have read many complex books and enjoyed them; likewise, books dealing with crime and drugs. But I really do have to warn potential readers, this book has no likable or sympathetic characters - in fact every character, without exception is either minor or loathsome -, a complex yet dull plot and goes nowhere. If this book reflects modern Sweden then it perhaps illustrates how that country is turning into such a shithole.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John Wiltshire

    A whole story about nothing very much. Something in the present kicks off memories for disgraced detective Leo Junker. A childhood incident is still being played out by someone he once knew. That's about it to be honest. It was quite nicely written. I did finish it, but I wasn't really interested in Leo or anyone else in this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I love Scandi crime novels but this one was a bit too slow-paced and predictable for me. It won’t put me off reading the next in the Leo Junker series but I won’t be rushing to buy that just yet. I’m hoping that the pace picks up in the next book and that it’s less predictable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephkay

    Enjoyable but not unforgettable. I think I've just read enough of the genre to be over the "person-from-rogue-investagor's-past-becomes-key-to-today's-crime" and "there's-always-alcohol-involved" plot points.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Engaging, quick read -- not massively unique or surprising, but enjoyable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    elena

    different

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I found the main character most irritating and the book a bit of a chore, would probably have given up on it had I not seen the author speak at Bloody Scotland.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I suspect this book may have a niche appeal - luckily for me I fit that niche. This story is hauntingly dark, but with a glorious bright bleakness too. It's an acquired taste I guess, but Scandinavians seem to have that skill down pat and this book delivers. The plot? Cop gone off the rails investigating a murder. We've seen it all before and the story unravels gently with no jolting reveals. It's solid, with the staples of drink and drugs, a questionable approach to the rules, and of course some I suspect this book may have a niche appeal - luckily for me I fit that niche. This story is hauntingly dark, but with a glorious bright bleakness too. It's an acquired taste I guess, but Scandinavians seem to have that skill down pat and this book delivers. The plot? Cop gone off the rails investigating a murder. We've seen it all before and the story unravels gently with no jolting reveals. It's solid, with the staples of drink and drugs, a questionable approach to the rules, and of course some shady characters and goings on. The author paints a picture of Swedish life on the edge, people who get by. It's done very subtly and my personal taste for the mental imagery helped me get sucked into this book. What is more universal is the pretty clever way of telling the story - we follow the investigation but we also learn about Leo Junker through a number of chapters exploring his past. How his career developed sets the scene but the trips to his childhood really push you towards understanding his how he's ended up here. Throw in small snippets of writing from a journal and you have these threads weaving together into a flowing narrative. It works for me. I was engrossed. I found Junker easy to follow - he's not always likable but he is interesting. The same is true for most of the characters actually. Some of the characters only appear briefly but when needed they deliver a lot in that short period. If you like your crime with more dramatic twists or action this probably won't prove as fascinating to you, although I think there would still be appeal in it. If you're more into a psychological read with a crime as a background I think this book would hit the mark. I know I hope to see more of Leo Junker. A complimentary copy of this book was supplied for review by the publisher as part of the "First Reads" program.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Leo Junker is a cop on suspension after a raid that went badly wrong, with him killing a colleague. One night, there is a murder in the building he lives in, and his curiosity leads him to enter the crime scene. The result is that he leaves traces at the scene, and suspicion falls on him. Although he has an explanation, it is a weak one that gets weaker as further evidence emerges that seems to implicate him. As the full glare of the investigation is turned on him, he receives an anonymous text t Leo Junker is a cop on suspension after a raid that went badly wrong, with him killing a colleague. One night, there is a murder in the building he lives in, and his curiosity leads him to enter the crime scene. The result is that he leaves traces at the scene, and suspicion falls on him. Although he has an explanation, it is a weak one that gets weaker as further evidence emerges that seems to implicate him. As the full glare of the investigation is turned on him, he receives an anonymous text that seems to be from the killer, baiting him. Leo digs, and starts to realise that this is all somehow connected to incidents in his troubled childhood in the tenements of Stockholm. The plot is pretty ordinary, with some overly-obvious developments and a bit of irrelevant silliness at the climax, that could have been edited out. Leo never really gets ahead of the criminal in this book, so it reads a bit like a straight-line procedural, with few satisfying twists. I liked Leo as a character though; he is comprehensively messed up, the way all Scandinavian cops should be. He's probably worth sticking with and reading the second book in the series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    "I received this book for free though Goodreads First Reads" Leo Junker is a cop that has been wrongfully suspended because he was secretly selected to take the fall when an investigation went wrong. During his suspension a young women is found murdered in his apartment bloke. Being the inquisitive cop that he is, he manages to bluff his way onto the crime scene. What he finds is a young women has been killed and on his closer inspection of the body Leo notices that she is holding a necklace in h "I received this book for free though Goodreads First Reads" Leo Junker is a cop that has been wrongfully suspended because he was secretly selected to take the fall when an investigation went wrong. During his suspension a young women is found murdered in his apartment bloke. Being the inquisitive cop that he is, he manages to bluff his way onto the crime scene. What he finds is a young women has been killed and on his closer inspection of the body Leo notices that she is holding a necklace in her hand which recognises instantly from his own past. Inadvertently Leo is forced to relive his past wrongs to find the person responsible, during his investigation he will have to come to terms that something he did in his youth has caused this young woman to be murdered. The story throughout switches between the current murder investigation, Leo’s teenage years and also includes snippets from the murder, all in all ‘The Invisible Man from Salem’ is a fairly satisfying easy to read story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarahkmartinuk

    I received this book as part of a goodreads giveaway. It begins with a dead body being found in Leo Junkers apartment block. At the time Leo is suspended from the police force following an operation that has gone wrong. I am afraid to say after persevering with this book I failed to read till the end. The book right from the start failed to hold my interest and I found I did not care less about who the body was or what significance it had to Leo Junker. Maybe I was the wrong person to review thi I received this book as part of a goodreads giveaway. It begins with a dead body being found in Leo Junkers apartment block. At the time Leo is suspended from the police force following an operation that has gone wrong. I am afraid to say after persevering with this book I failed to read till the end. The book right from the start failed to hold my interest and I found I did not care less about who the body was or what significance it had to Leo Junker. Maybe I was the wrong person to review this book and someone who is more into crime/police procedure books may take more pleasure in reading it. Sorry, I do not like to give bad reviews and feel that when I do give one it is probably more a reflection of a book being wrong for me rather than it being a bad book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Just_me

    For the first third of this book I struggled. I couldn't get into it, the story seemed haphazard jumping through time and I didn't understand the letters/diary entries. But I was determined not to give up (as I had been given this book free by goodreads first-reads in return for a honest review)and it all clicked into place and it metamorphasised into a gritty, fast-paced, crime detective novel that I really enjoyed and totally made sense. Carlsson has dug deep in an underground world of crime an For the first third of this book I struggled. I couldn't get into it, the story seemed haphazard jumping through time and I didn't understand the letters/diary entries. But I was determined not to give up (as I had been given this book free by goodreads first-reads in return for a honest review)and it all clicked into place and it metamorphasised into a gritty, fast-paced, crime detective novel that I really enjoyed and totally made sense. Carlsson has dug deep in an underground world of crime and poverty to produce both protagonist and antagonist with defining characteristics that I both understood and enjoyed.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Part detective novel, part bildungsroman. The characters are compelling, but it takes a lot of the plot shortcuts you find in thrillers (the hero is allowed to interrogate a suspect alone, but the cops don't record it surreptitiously, when they easily could have; the (suspended) hero cop is given a gun and a car to go off and confront the real bad guy by himself, etc). I wanted to read this book because it sounded gritty or whatever, but the bad guy is the Always Sunny Dolph Lundgren character w Part detective novel, part bildungsroman. The characters are compelling, but it takes a lot of the plot shortcuts you find in thrillers (the hero is allowed to interrogate a suspect alone, but the cops don't record it surreptitiously, when they easily could have; the (suspended) hero cop is given a gun and a car to go off and confront the real bad guy by himself, etc). I wanted to read this book because it sounded gritty or whatever, but the bad guy is the Always Sunny Dolph Lundgren character who can smell crime. It's kind of dumb. I've heard the second one is better, though, so I might give it a shot.

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