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The Truth Behind the Lie    by Sara Lövestam order for
Truth Behind the Lie
by Sara Lövestam
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sara Lövestam's absorbing, quirky Swedish mystery, The Truth Behind the Lie (translated by Laura A. Wideburg), is very different from the usual fare. It centers on a private investigation, but in this case both the PI and the woman who hires him fly beneath society's radar. Each keeps their own secrets and neither is sure whether or not they can trust the other.

Pernilla's six-year-old daughter Julia has gone missing in Stockholm, and her mother has good reasons not to call on the police - she desperately searches for Julia; what can she do? Kouplan is an Iranian refugee, terrified of being caught and deported - he and his brother Nima had been involved with a radical newspaper.

Nima disappeared four years ago. Living hand to mouth, barely eating, Kouplan is desperate to find work - and to avoid the authorities. He posts an ad on a website that advertises super cheap cleaning services: 'Private detective. If the police can't help, call me!' Pernilla responds.

Kouplan investigates methodically, keeping Pernilla informed. She thinks he needs feeding and cooks him fish sticks. They share some of their secrets - her fear of Social Security and his of the Border Police. As we follow Kouplan's attempts to find Julia, the author shows us a captive child being groomed. A race against time begins.

This ends well, thanks to Kouplan, but the story twists sharply and shockingly a couple of times along the way. Don't miss this psychological mystery; it's one of the better ones!

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