I traded the long dark winters in Sweden for the sunshine in Cyprus. I have been working as a freelance writer, translator, and as a translator for the local police. I also worked in the tourist industry long before apps, GPS or Tripadvisor. It taught me how to navigate using street maps, searching for information in dusty book shops on narrow back streets. Something I now see as an advantage.
Music is my primary source of inspiration. I spend a great deal of my time doing thorough research by watching documentaries and reading books. I prefer to read horror and biographies, but I try to switch to different genres from time to time to develop my writing skills and broaden my horizon. A few British crime novels have recently found their way into my bookshelf. Although strange as it may seem, crime was never a genre I planned to write in as I rarely read it. During the work with my debut novel, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, and the book more or less wrote itself.
My debut novel, Eyes without a face, is a crime novel with two crime scene investigators as the main characters. The setting is the barren coastline of western Denmark where politicians are planning to destroy the unspoiled nature.
The book is available in Swedish as a paperback and as an e-book at Amazon.
EYES WITHOUT A FACE
A helicopter descends at the wind farm Horns Rev 1 in the North Sea. Two men are hoisted down. One is alive. One is dead. At the same time, a rescue helicopter disappears from its route in the same area. The Danish crime scene investigator Kea Langelund Raun and her colleagues are called out to retrieve a body that has been found tied up on the blade of a wind turbine.
At the same time, Fredrik Dahl, a Swedish crime scene investigator is in Blåvand, on the Danish west coast for a short break to recover from a shooting injury. Against his will, he gets tangled up in the criminal investigation. It turns out that the dead body belonged to a Swedish migratory bird researcher. Influential people plan to turn the Danish west coast into a cash cow, while environmental activists try to win the fight against the politicians about the unspoiled nature.
It turns out that anyone can be bought for money. The inhabitants of the sleepy coastal area are in for a shock when burglaries and nasty murders become a part of their daily routine. Both Fredrik and Kea start to doubt who they can trust. When doing wrong becomes right, and you have no choice to survive, would it be right to do wrong?
- Part of chapter one, translated from Swedish to English:
THE NORTH SEA
A helicopter descends at the wind farm Horns Rev 1 in the North Sea.
Two men are hoisted down. One is alive. One is dead.
The rotor blades tear the still night into razor-sharp pieces. A crescent moon attempts to cast a glimmer of light across the sea. None of the men feels the cold or the moisture in the October night. Swiftly the mission is completed. The man who is alive is pulled up.
The darkness swallows the helicopter as it makes a sharp turn to the right and disappears.
Sunday October 22
The sea and rescue team in Esbjerg received the call from the police just before half-past three on a Sunday morning. Simon Sherman, a security officer on platform three, had heard a helicopter hovering nearby. The safety level had been increased around the wind farms off the west coast of Denmark due to attempted sabotage recently. Through the binoculars, Simon saw that wind turbine twenty-two, which stood still for repair, appeared to have a body tied to one of the rotor blades.
At the same time, the Danish air traffic service sent an alert that a Maersk rescue helicopter which was in the same area disappeared from its route. The pilot did not respond to calls, and the helicopter quickly lost altitude.
Shortly after five o’clock on a Sunday morning, Kea Langelund Raun sat together with her colleagues, crime scene investigator Finn Storm and pathologist Karsten Hager in a sea rescue helicopter. The coast guard and the Danish Air Force were already out searching the area. One rescue boat, together with divers from the police, had arrived at wind turbine twenty-two.
Kea’s seatbelt was choking her, and she promised herself to do her best to hang on to the job for a maximum of three years. She had recently turned twenty-eight, making her one of the country’s youngest crime scene investigators. Despite this, the nights she was on-call became gruelling. The knowledge of being suddenly woken up by the phone made it difficult to fall asleep in the evening. She had no difficulties understanding her older colleagues, who had toddlers at home and tried to combine the job with family life. Despite that, she always got the same adrenaline rush when the phone rang. She was needed somewhere. The victims relied on her to speak on their behalf.
Finn sat quietly and looked out the window while his glasses slid down to the top of his nose. A grey mask hade exchanged his facial trademark-tan. Sleepless nights and stress had left dark traces underneath his eyes. In the bumpy helicopter, his polished façade crackled. His constant calmness seemed to have suffered a visible shake-up. Karsten, who sat opposite, reminded of a casual first-class businessman who waited for his breakfast tray. His strong hands rested in his lap. From time to time, Kea met his steady gaze.
They approached wind park Horns Rev 1, which was about twenty kilometres from land. A scent of moisture and PVC-material mixed with the sound of the rotor blades cutting the air above them. A gust of wind grabbed hold of the helicopter and tried to throw it off its course. Kea relaxed and allowed herself to follow the movements instead of trying to remain still. The windows got covered by ever-increasing water droplets.
One of the helicopter pilots started to talk enthusiastically about the three wind parks in the same area as if they were out on a guided day trip. Kea had rather enjoyed the short journey. Instead, she had to listen to dry facts regarding the number of turbines in each park; the rotor blades were around forty meters long and the turbines seventy meters tall. The pilot’s nasal blather cut the edge from the stillness she needed to soak up before reaching the crime scene. He was continually turning around to check that everyone heard what he said. The bushy black eyebrows were in dire need of plucking. His fleshy cheeks bore traces of teenage acne. When he smiled, his lower lip curled in a chilling way that resembled that of a child just about to cry.
There was a sharp hiss, followed by static and a deep male voice on the radio. One of the police divers on the rescue boat said: “The body appears to be covered with feathers and tied up with lashing straps around the rotor blade. We found nothing at the bottom, and we are ready to leave. ”
The helicopter’s searchlights sliced the rain. One after the other, they passed the vertical array of wind turbines that bore the reminiscence of gravestones. Despite that, there was something peaceful about the area. The feeling of being on the way to a crime scene never appeared to Kea. It was as if they hovered over a tranquil cemetery. Finn sat quietly with one hand in a firm grip on a handle.
Keas private phone vibrated in her pocket with a text message reading: B.A.U.
As usual, the number was unknown.
In the distance, she could see how one of the turbines looked different from the rest. At the far end of the white blade was something reminiscent that of a tumour. The rescue men Kent and Allan together with the winch operator, Alt made a final check of Keas equipment. Kent asked once again if she was okay with going down. He threw a glance at the Finn who shook his head while his knuckles turned white as he held on to the handle in the cabin.
Finally, Kea had a chance to show her colleagues and her boss that she was an equally skilled crime scene investigator as the rest in the group. Although Kea was young, she knew the moment she collected her badge that she had to earn her respect the hard way. She gave a thumbs-up to Kent, adjusted the body camera and tucked a smaller camera in her pocket. Finn made an attempted to smile.
The helicopter spun around the site and descended slowly. Kent made a hand signal for Kea to come closer. The door opened and the salty coarse air filled the cabin. A pair of hooks were attached to her harness. Kent remained close behind her as she approached the edge. The searchlight swivelled about one last time before stopping at the turbine. Kea took a leap from the helicopter while Alt poked the winch wire and she descended together with Kent.
As they came closer, a strong smell of death and wet feathers hung in the air. A man’s body of medium length with his head facing the sky was firmly tied up on one of the turbine’s rotor blades. The body seemed to be naked and covered with white feathers. His eyes were wide open as if he had made a final attempt to bring along as much life as he could. A dead bird was stuffed inside his mouth. Kea was grateful for Kent’s long work experience as a rescue man. He remained silent while she photographed the body.
“Closer,” she said, making a gesture with her hand. Kent gave the order to the pilot who moved the helicopter closer to the turbine. She picked up an evidence bag, snatched the bird from the man mouth and placed it in the bag. The body seemed to have been pre-packaged with blue and red lashing straps which were fastened with hooks in premade loops around the rotor blade. On one of the metallic buckles was a piece of a sticky note with a barcode. Kea pointed towards to buckle and Kent raised the flashlight.
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