“The Swedish Girl” by Alex Gray #BookReview

The Swedish Girl

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 8 – February 12, 2018


The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can

When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Witness Impulse

Publication Date: January 9th 2018

Number of Pages: 368

ISBN: 9780062659255

Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (Stand Alone)

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | HarperCollins 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗 | Public 🔗

Read an excerpt:

From Chapter 9


Kirsty turned the key in the door and closed it behind her with a sigh. The hall was in darkness and there
was no sound coming from the living room. Her shoulders moved up and down in a shrug of resignation; she was alone in the flat again. Then she remembered. Wasn’t there some party that Eva had mentioned? They’d all be there, wouldn’t they? Pulling off her thin raincoat and hanging it on the old-fashioned wooden coat stand, Kirsty sauntered into the bedroom next to the front door, unbuttoning her jacket. It was fair handy having this big room to herself, especially when she was working late shift at the hotel. Nobody would be disturbed by her comings and goings. She took off her shoes and tossed her jacket, bag and mobile phone onto the bed. Oh, it was good to be home. A wee cup of hot chocolate and some of her own gingerbread would go down well, she thought, already imagining her teeth sinking into a thick slab of treacly cake.

She stopped for a moment, listening. There was a swish then a click as the front door opened and closed again. Then, nothing.

‘Colin? Is that you back already?’ Kirsty wandered out into the hall, her bare feet sinking into the pile of the hall carpet, still thick and soft despite all their winter boots tramping back and forth. Eva’s father had spared no expense in doing up this flat for his daughter and Kirsty Wilson was grateful for those small luxuries that were absent from most of her friends’ student flats.

Frowning slightly, Kirsty padded down the unlit corridor, one hand out ready to flick on the light switch as she reached the kitchen. But something made her turn left into the living room instead, just to see if anyone was at home after all.

At first she imagined the girl had fallen asleep, sprawled out in front of the television.


Kirsty moved forward and bent down, expecting the girl to sit up and yawn. One hand reached out to touch the back of her head but then she drew back as though guided by some inner instinct.

She stood up again and stepped around the recumbent figure, unaware that she was holding her breath.

Then, as Kirsty saw the expression in the dead girl’s eyes, the thin wail escaping from her open mouth turned into a scream of terror.

* * *

Detective Superintendent Lorimer crouched over the body, aware of the sounds of voices coming from the hall. The dead girl was lying on her back, one arm flung out, the fist curled tightly in the moment of death. Her head was bent to one side, blond hair partly obscuring her features, but Lorimer could see enough to make him wonder about the cause of death.

‘Manual strangulation?’ he asked, glancing up at the consultant pathologist who was kneeling on the other side of the girl’s body. The on-duty pathologist tonight was his friend, Dr Rosie Fergusson. He glanced at her with his usual admiration for her calm efficiency, knowing how different she could be at home as a doting mother and as the wife of Professor Brightman, an eminent psychologist and sometime criminal profiler who had worked with Lorimer in the past.

‘Looks like it,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands smoothing the hair from the victim’s face, letting Lorimer see for the first time what Kirsty Wilson had found earlier that night.

Eva Magnusson still had that ethereal quality in death that had captivated those who had gazed upon her: Lorimer saw the perfect oval face with flawless skin and bow-shaped lips that were slightly parted as though she had been taken by surprise. He watched as Rosie reached out to close the dead girl’s eyelids, seeing for the final time those pale blue Scandinavian eyes staring out at a world that had proved less than kind.


Excerpt from Swedish Girl by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Review by Chill and read

DCI Lorimer, now DS Lorimer, is back in his old division, only that he is now the boss. He has a team of capable officers working for him in the 10th installment of the series taking place in Scottish city of Glasgow.

Eva Magnusson is a beautiful Swedish student at the University. She is leaving in a newly owned flat, her father bought for her, in a poss district of the city. Her flatmates, all hand picked by her father, are four. Kirsty, a detective’s daughter and the only other girl in the flat, Colin, Roger and Gary. Two girls and three boys, what could go wrong?

Truth be told, the five of them make a very good company all together. Until one night, when Kirsty returns to the flat after work expecting to find it it empty, as all her mates were at a party, and she actually finds Eva, the Swedish girl. Only she is dead. Murdered actually. As one of her friends is accused with the murder and being locked up until the trial, Kirsty finds it difficult to believe that this kind boy would be capable of such an act, Therefore, she contacts DS Lorimer, who is now her father’s boss and ask for his help in finding the Eva’s killer.

To be honest here, this is the first of the Lorimer books I’ve ever read. However, I had no difficulty connecting the dots and following the Detective’s character along the book, neither that of any other character in the story. The author does a pretty good job displaying all the information to make the reader understand who is who and their characters, without having to go back in time to understand the very essence of their existence. Whenever there is reference to the past, it is done in such way that the abstract information is there and out for the reader, without implying any hidden stories.

Lorimer’s character is the series star, however, it seems that the whole investigation team as well as other characters play significant role into the narration, which is a very good thing actually. I loved the fact that he is not a detective with issues and that he does enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea through the book!

The story is told from different angles and we can see how the different characters are built, how the feel and what they think during the course of the story. There are a few suspects that could be responsible for the girl’s death and the author is taking us from one to the other by revealing every little detail that could be each one’s motive. There’s even a parallel case that the detective’s team is working on, on what turns out to be a serial killer, that could be connected to Eva’s case. It works as a hope for the girl and detective as well, so as to set free the poor boy they believe to be innocent.

One thing that I did not like about the book is a female character that played significant role in the boy’s arrest. Eva’s case is headed by DI Jo Grant, a beautiful, strong opinionated, tough female cop that dresses pretty fashionably and arrests people with very little evidence. How could a district attorney allow this arrest with only so little in hand? And even if this is not how things are done in Scotland, why should there be a female character making that mistake? It goes without saying that a cop’s job is harder for women, as they have to work twice hard as their male colleagues to prove themselves. I would not expect a female writer to support the idea that female cops don’t do a good job and jump into conclusions very easily. Even though, there were second thoughts from the DI’s side, no matter how she did not like the fact that her superior was investigating a case she considered closed, behind her back.

And that, is the background plot that adds to the story!

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

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4 thoughts on ““The Swedish Girl” by Alex Gray #BookReview

  1. Thanks for your comments on the story. I smiled at your annoyance over DI Jo Grant. You need to read all of my books to see I am fair and even handed with both male and female cops. There are good, bad and in between amongst them all which is how an equal police force should be. If you liked this book and like female cops then all the following stories with Kirsty Wilson should please you! Happy reading and best wishes,

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thanks for the response! I like to read that there is distribution of all kinds of officers in your books! Truth is, i haven’t rest the previous ones! However, I did enjoyed Kirsty as a character, so I may be following her in the future! 🙂

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