Review: Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekback


Published 12th February 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton

About the book:

A brilliantly written and gripping historical Nordic Noir thriller with all the intrigue and atmosphere of Burial Rites,the pent-up passion of The Piano and the suspense of The Tenderness of Wolves.

There are six homesteads on Blackåsen Mountain.

A day’s journey away lies the empty town. It comes to life just once, in winter, when the Church summons her people through the snows. Then, even the oldest enemies will gather.

But now it is summer, and new settlers are come.

It is their two young daughters who find the dead man, not half an hour’s walk from their cottage.

The father is away. And whether stubborn, or stupid, or scared for her girls, the mother will not let it rest.

To the wife who is not concerned when her husband does not come home for three days; to the man who laughs when he hears his brother is dead; to the priest who doesn’t care; she asks and asks her questions,
digging at the secrets of the mountain.

They say a wolf made those wounds. But what wild animal cuts a body so clean?

My thoughts

This is the perfect read for winter. Turn up the central heating, wear a thick woolly jumper and fall under the magical spell of ‘Wolf Winter’.

‘Wolf Winter’ is a murder story set in 1717 Lapland, a cold harsh setting where witchcraft accusations are taken seriously. This is a primitive hard way of life. Maija and her husband and daughters move to Blackasen mountain. A body is found and only Maija seems to find this a suspicious death. The chilly atmosphere permeates. Everybody seems to be hiding something. And no one appreciates Maija interfering.

I felt a cold chill as I was reading ‘Wolf Winter’. Ekback gets the atmosphere and tone of the novel just right. I found myself lost in the bleak superstitious world of Blackasen and not wanting to leave. I deliberately read slowly, taking in each word and image. I could not imagine anything worse than having to live through those winter conditions, with very little in the way of a community and the local priest acting as a detective and judge. The only thing that matters in this place is surviving, survival of the fittest.

I was most interested in Frederika, the daughter of Maija. She had a very strange way about her. I could not entirely make her out. From a modern day perspective, she would seem to be mentally unwell. Yet she seemed to have some kind of supernatural gifts.

This is a beautifully written dark and chilly read. It is part historical, part murder mystery, with a touch of the supernatural thrown in. I loved it. Recommended.

Thanks to Bookbridgr and Hodder and Stoughton for my review copy.



About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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5 Responses to Review: Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekback

  1. It’s a great winter read, isn’t it? I loved it, especially the slightly supernatural aspects.

  2. FictionFan says:

    Glad to see you’re recommending it! I think this will have to squeezed into the TBR somehow…

  3. This sounds beautiful. I think I’d love it. I like cold settings.

  4. crimeworm says:

    I’m still savouring this one – she’s a great writer, with a fantastic sense of place. I so agree with your review – it doesn’t seem like a life, just an existence. Hardcore..

  5. Pingback: Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekbäck | Novel Heights

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