Extract: Knock Knock by Anders Roslund
Knock Knock by Anders Roslund is a brand new novel perfect for fans of Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larsson and Samuel Bjork. Set over three explosive days, this is compulsive, heart-pounding storytelling that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Seventeen years ago, Inspector Ewert Grens was called to the scene of a brutal crime. A family had been murdered, with only their five-year-old daughter left behind. The girl was moved out and placed under witness protection, but while the case went cold, Grens is still haunted by the memory. When he learns that the apartment where the crime took place is now the scene of a mysterious break-in, Grens fears that someone is intent on silencing the only witness. He must race to find her – before they do.
Read on for an extract from Knock Knock by Anders Roslund!
He’s never liked summer.
Something that chafed at his skin, something he’d fought year after year until finally he stopped fighting it at all. That’s the way it is. The heat. The quiet city. People walking around in shorts, laughing too loud.
Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens lay on the brown corduroy sofa, its stripes long since worn away, his head cradled on the low armrest, his back sunk into cushions that had been far too soft for a long time. While that gentle music, his Siw Malmkvist who sang sixties songs just for him, flowed out of an ancient speaker crammed into his bookshelf between overflowing binders and thick investigation reports. Both of his windows stood wide open, but despite the early hour it was already a stiflingly warm twenty-seven degrees inside and out. He’d stopped fighting when he realised he was not alone. He wasn’t the only one who was changed by June, July, and August. But they didn’t fight the season – they fought people. That terrible heat crept into them, hunted them, played havoc with their boundaries, and it wasn’t just in prison corridors that the number of riots increased as the heat became more oppressive; also outside those walls reality shrank as heat pushed down from above. And when heart rates increase, so does violence, so does murder. He’d been a detective for most of his life, and it had been a long time since he could take a break when the pavements lacked any snow.
A stubborn knocking at his office door.
They could keep on if they wanted to.
His neck was stiff and tender, his leg aching like usual. The oldest detective on this dusty corridor, second oldest on the entire force. And there it was, less than six months away, that giant black hole that scared him even more than his bed at home, an abyss a man falls into headlong and then never stops falling. The one thing he didn’t want to think about, and the only thing he could think about.
That damned knocking. They weren’t giving up.
More than forty years. My god. He’d been so young when he first set foot in this building, already convinced he belonged here. So young he could never imagine the end arriving. Not because you want it, but because a society you never wanted to be a part of has decided the ending for you.
Now it wasn’t enough to just knock. Now someone was shouting through the keyhole.
‘I know you’re in there, Ewert. I’m coming in. No matter what you say.’
He was still lying on the worn corduroy sofa when the door opened. She glanced at him, then strode purposefully over to the cassette player and its off button. Siw fell silent. The songs of a much simpler time.
Perhaps the only person in the Kronoberg Police Station whom he couldn’t bend to his will, who always challenged him, and who had no clue how proud she made her boss when she did.
‘Breaking and entering, Ewert.’
Her office was at the far end of this hall. She’d started as a temp one summer, and he made sure she was taken on full-time despite the bureaucracy and the many applicants who seemed more qualified on paper. And he’d come to treasure her like the daughter he never had, how she’d put a steady hand on his arm when she spoke to him, how she demanded answers to questions he didn’t even want to hear, how she laughed at him, made him feel unsure of himself in the only context where he ever felt sure.
‘I want you to take a look at it. Now.’
He sat up on the edge of the sofa, stretching a little, and pointed to his desk and its mountains of paperwork.
‘I don’t work break-ins. Too many people dying in this town. And that, as you very well know, takes all of my time.’
She wouldn’t give up, he knew that.
‘Dala Street 74.’
She held out an envelope to him, and he stared at it but didn’t reach for it.
‘Is your office this stuffy too, Hermansson? The AC doesn’t seem to be working.’
She settled down next to him on the sofa; it was so worn out that they both sank to the floor.
‘A break- in, Ewert. But nothing was taken. So I put it aside. Since I too don’t have time.’
She nodded at his paperwork. He knew what her desk looked like. The piles even higher. And just as many on her floor.
‘I did what I always do, glanced at it, then put it back on top of the pile. Then I did a quick search in RAR to see if any other crimes were reported at nearby addresses in the last few years.’
Ewert Grens stretched a second time, but with no yawn. He wasn’t completely aware of it, but ever since she’d stormed in here, turned off his music, and started speaking to him in that demanding way she had, he’d been smiling.
RAR. The localised crime report for a specific address or area. He was the one who’d taught her to start there.
‘Nothing unusual. Just some burglaries. More domestic abuse than those expensive addresses might like us to think. Drug busts. And a few manslaughters.’
She leaned forward, the envelope in her hand, poked it into his chest until he took it.
‘But nothing I could connect to the break-in. Nothing that would explain why a person breaks into an inner city apartment in the middle of the day, walks around inside – and chooses to leave without taking anything with them.’
‘May I open the door to my office again, Officer Hermansson? Would that be okay with you? Maybe someone else has a window open and we can get a little draught flowing in here. It’s already twenty-seven degrees. And it’s supposed to hit thirty-two!’
‘I was about to log out of the system. Put the case aside again, deprioritise down to one of this county’s fifty-six thousand open cases. And in a few months, I’d recommend Wilson close it.’
Ewert Grens was fanning himself with the envelope now, his eyes closed, trying to herd some air onto his damp forehead – she ripped it out of his hand and pulled out a document, put it down on the rickety coffee table, and pointed impatiently to the first three lines.
‘Then I saw this. An annotation at the very bottom of the file. A red flag warning that there’s an older case filed away in the restricted archive, available only in paper form. A seventeen-year-old investigation at the same address, same floor, and according to the apartment number, even the same apartment. The kind of investigation you do – when people die in this city.’
He was listening now. But still didn’t know what she was talking about.
‘The note. The red flag.’
In the case of any report regarding Dala Street 74, regardless of the classification of the crime, please contact Detective Inspector Ewert Grens immediately.
‘You wrote that, Ewert. Signed it.’
The document lay on the table between them, her fingers still tapping on the lines she wanted him to look at.
Until he finally did.
‘Seventeen years ago?’
‘Yes. Or… rather, four murders. A mother. A father. A daughter. A son.’
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