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The Wolf and the Watchman: Journey

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Mickel Cardell, a crippled ex-soldier and former watchman, fishes out a mutilated corpse from the fetid lake of Stockholm. The corpse has no limbs, eyes, teeth, or tongue. The only thing that distinguishes it from a discarded carcass is his mass of golden hair. Cecil Winge is a brilliant consulting detective to the Stockholm police and is suffering from tuberculosis. Together, Winge and Cardell race against time to discover the monster who ravaged this unidentifiable man. Meanwhile, Kristopher Blix—a happy-go-lucky fellow—arrives in Stockholm from his village in hopes of becoming a doctor. His initial good fortunes soon take a turn for the worse. In another corner of the city, Anna Stina—a young woman—is unjustly imprisoned in a workhouse. She hopes to escape from the hellhole, but she will have to do it soon since she is the next target of a sadistic guard. The paths of these extraordinary characters collide in the most shocking of ways in The Wolf and the Watchman penned by Niklas Natt Och Dag.

The Wolf and the Watchman takes the reader on an fateful journey into 18th century Stockholm. The city is abuzz with conspiracy rumors and is divided sharply between the haves and have-nots. Niklas deserves an applause for his descriptive skills. In his deft hands, Stockholm—with its golden colored majestic buildings—is a living, breathing creature. He skillfully juxtaposes poverty and squalor of the destitute with the decadence and corruption of the opulent class. The rich, as usual, are blind to the conditions of the poor. Consequently, I could feel an undercurrent of an uprising throughout the novel. Amidst this charged atmosphere, Winge and Cardell must deliver justice.

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I have seldom seen such fantastic character development in a thriller. The backstory of every character is fully developed which made their adversities my own. Cardell with his enormous strength, cynical disposition, and tendency to be foul-mouthed at the drop of a hat is a perfect foil for the stoic and physically weak Cecil Winge. Anna Stina was a major revelation. Her story mesmerized me. Niklas builds the tempo slowly, like a spider painstakingly building its web. Once I was caught, I couldn’t stop reading until the last page was turned. Moreover, the villain here is truly a monster, and Niklas provides a fascinating insight into his depraved mind.

The Wolf and the Watchman is a terrific combination of historical fiction and thriller that deserves to be on the shelves of every fan of both these genres. I relished reading the grim portrait of the seedy underbelly of Stockholm and loved the whodunit. Except for the dismemberment of one organ, the author spares us the brutality of reading through all the ordeals that the victim faced. Hence, this book is intended solely for a mature audience.

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