The Collector

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Pub Date 01 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Feb 2023

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For fans of Katrine Engberg and Lars Kepler, the second chilling novel in Anne Mette Hancock’s #1 bestselling Danish crime series is a psychological whirlwind that explores the nature of truth and what it means when we can no longer trust what we know to be real.

Gripping, endearing, dark, and funny, Anne Mette Hancock has written the best series I've read this year. Kaldan and Schafer are my new favourite crime-solving duo. Highly recommended' - Harlan Coben

A boy has disappeared from his school. Heloise Kaldan heads over there to look into it. At the schoolyard she runs into her close friend Erik Schäfer, the outspoken investigator on this case. The boy, Lukas, doesn’t show up, but his phone does. It reveals that Lukas is obsessed with pareidolia: the psychological phenomenon that makes us see faces in random things. One particular photo of a barn door that looks like a face catches their attention. Is this where Lukas is?

Heloise is ordered to drop her current article, a controversial investigation into soldiers with PTSD, to cover the story of the missing boy. But when things that point to the traumatized soldiers appear in Lukas’ case, Schäfer will need Heloise’s help making heads or tails of this enormous jumble of clues...

For fans of Katrine Engberg and Lars Kepler, the second chilling novel in Anne Mette Hancock’s #1 bestselling Danish crime series is a psychological whirlwind that explores the nature of truth and...

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ISBN 9781800751514
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Featured Reviews

I would like to thank Netgalley and Swift Press for an advance copy of The Collector, the second novel to feature Detective Erik Schäfer of the Copenhagen Police and reporter Heloise Kaldan.

A ten year old boy, Lukas Bjarre, has disappeared. His dad dropped him off at school but he never made it to class. Lukas is quiet and smart, but his phone shows he has a strong interest in pareidolia, seeing faces in everyday objects. Is this related to his disappearance? Schäfer doesn’t know, but is determined to find out, while Kaldan is determined to help.

I enjoyed The Collector, which is a quirky read with some interesting twists. At the same time it can be frustrating with a few events that aren’t resolved satisfactorily and one or two that seem pointless. Overall, however, I found it to be a page turner.

In the first half of the novel Schäfer and his team assemble an odd assortment of clues that offer more questions than answers. This aroused my curiosity and got me turning the pages. The second half is where he starts to put it together and I must admit that I was surprised by what happens and how it turns out as it was so unexpected.

Schäfer and Kaldan are friends so the narrative is mostly split between them with other characters contributing as required. He is an effective investigator and it is he who solves the case. I’m not actually sure what she contributes to the investigation as she’s going through a few things and is a bit flaky. It’s fair to say that she has an eventful personal life.

The Collector is a good read that I can recommend.

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I read The Corpse Flower, quickly followed by The Collector. But now realise that you don’t need to have read the first novel to know what’s happening in the second. The author provides enough detail in the second novel and does it so it’s not repetitive of the first.

Both are page turners, easy to read and a slow build up for about 2/3 to 3/4 of the novel and then everything comes together. The psychological drama is well developed and the two protagonists, the homicide detective Erik Schafer and the investigative journalist, Heloise Kaldan are both likeable characters, and their respective stories provide a good balance to the crime story they’re both caught up in. I rated both 5 ⭐️ but enjoyed The Collector more. Look forward to book 3!!

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Kaldan and Schäfer #2

Journalist Heloise Kaldan attends an appointment with Doctor Bjerre when he receives an urgent call concerning his 10-year-old son Lukas who has been missing for the last eight hours. Lukas seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Erik Schäfer and his partner Lisa Augustin of the Violent Crimes Unit are sent to Nyholm school where Dr Bjerre has dropped Lukas that morning. The story unfolds via the alternating perspectives of Kaldan and Schäfer.

This is another fascinating cleverly connected and predictable plot with an ending I definitely don’t see coming! One of the most intriguing aspects which does focus the police investigation is Lukas’s obsession with pareidolia which is seeing faces and objects such as in a barn door, one of the last pictures he posted. This is very much a theme, what exactly have people seen? Does Kaldan really recognise the door as she believes? Are the things people have seen real or are they illusions? It mirrors what Schäfer is trying to do in the investigation too when he tries to extract patterns in an ever deepening mystery. There are possible connections to soldiers suffering PTSD and to Afghanistan but how is this connected to Lukas?

The characterisation of the two lead protagonists is excellent. Schäfer is methodical yet intuitive, Heloise struggles with a number of issues but Schäfer really gets her and I like the relationship between them.

The atmosphere the author creates is also very good, Copenhagen is utilised well and you feel as if you are there. You feel the chill too of a very cold winter which highlights the chill of the plot.

However, we do get a lot of superfluous detail which detracts from the excellent plot and it’s not the best translation in the world either with a number of clunky phrasings. I’m not entirely sure why it’s called The Collector either, does it refer to Lukas collection of pareidolia??

Overall though, it is a real page turner despite the above reservations and the short short chapters keep the focus as does the brisk pace. If you like Scandi Noir then this is definitely one for you.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Swift Press for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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I must admit that I struggled to get engaged in this book for a good few chapters! Once it got going though I was hooked. Really good ending as well.

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My thanks to Swift Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Collector’ by Anne Mette Hancock.It was originally published in Denmark in 2018 and has been translated from the Danish by Tara Chace. It is currently available in ebook with its U.K. paperback edition due to be published in June 2023.

This is Book 2 in this series featuring journalist Heloise Kaldan and police detective Erik Schäfer.

Like its predecessor, ‘The Corpse Flower’, this is a slow burn character-led crime novel. I feel that Hancock’s combination of journalistic fiction and police procedural works well and reminds me favourably of the Millennium Trilogy.

The plot involves the disappearance of 10-year-old Lukas Bjerre from his Copenhagen school. When Lukas’ blood-flecked jacket is found in the moat at Copenhagen’s Citadel there is DNA evidence that points the police towards a suspect. Yet the case quickly becomes more complicated. Erik Schäfer of the Danish Violent Crimes Unit is all too aware of how important it is to find the boy quickly.

Part of the case involves the discovery that Lucas is obsessed with pareidolia, a phenomenon where people see faces in random things. A photo is discovered on his phone that was posted online shortly before his disappearance showing an old barn door that resembles a face.

Investigative journalist Heloise Kaldan is convinced that she recognizes the barn but is uncertain from where. Could it hold a clue to Lukas’ whereabouts. Without regard to her personal safety, she seeks it out.

It’s great to see a journalist as a friend to a police detective rather than an adversary seeking to undermine their investigation in order to get a scoop.

With ‘The Collector’ Anne Mette Hancock again demonstrates a keen eye for detail, characterisation, and plotting and delivers an engaging work of Nordic Noir.

Book 3 has recently been published in Denmark and I look forward to its English translation in due course.

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When 10-year-old Lukas disappears from his Copenhagen school, police investigators discover that the boy had a peculiar obsession with pareidolia a phenomenon that makes him see faces in random things. A photo on his phone posted just hours before his disappearance shows an old barn door that resembles a face. Journalist Heloise Kaldan thinks she recognizes the barn but from where?

When Luke’s blood-flecked jacket is found in the moat at Copenhagen’s Citadel, DNA evidence points to Thomas Strand, an ex-soldier suffering from severe PTSD. But then Strand turns up dead in his apartment, shot in the head execution style.

What did the last person to see Lukas really witness that morning in the school yard? Was it really Lukas, or an optical illusion? Can you ever truly trust your eyes?

Really enjoyable read totally recommend
Thank you NetGalley and Swift Press
I just reviewed The Collector by Anne Mette Hancock. #TheCollector #NetGalley

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Heloise Kaldan is in the middle of an appointment with her Doctor, Jens Bjerre, when he receives a call from his son's school to say that Lukas hasn't turned up for his after school club. When it becomes clear that actually Lukas didn't attend school at all that day, Erik Schäfer and his partner Lisa Augustin from the Violent Crimes Unit are called in to investigate. According to all of his family, friends and teachers, Lukas is a quiet, intelligent and well-behaved boy so it is Lukas’s obsession with pareidolia (seeing faces and objects in everyday objects) which interests the police. Could some of the images Lukas has recently posted on his social media accounts hold clues to his disappearance, or provide information about any of the people who have been flagged in connected with the case?

The Corpse Flower was one of my 'Top 5' books last year and now, after reading The Collector, the Kaldan and Scháfer Mystery series has cemented itself as one of the best new Scandi Crime series I have read in recent years. In The Corpse Flower, I especially enjoyed the relationship between journalist Heloise Kaldan and Detective Erik Schäfer, and the contrast of their different investigative styles. There was quite a different approach in The Collector. This story focused less on Heloise as a journalist, and gave the perfect opportunity to learn more about her personal life and the effect that the events in the previous book had on her life and relationships.

The Collector is another fantastic example of a Scandi Police Procedural from Anne Mette Hancock, and this investigation actually had some pretty tense and chilling moments. I really enjoyed the seeing the development of the two main characters and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

Thanks to Swift Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This was a a nice easy read and I kept saying 'just one more chapter' meaning I read it quite quickly. The story is about the disappearance of 10-year-old Lukas.

There are lots of red herrings to lead the reader (and the police) down the wring track so when the case was solved it was unexpected.

It wasn't the best thriller I've read but it was a page turner and perfect for cold, dark nights.

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"The Collector" is gripping, tense and unpredictable. Anne Mette Hancock presents a range of characters who are inadvertently connected to the disappearance of a young boy, Lukas Bjarre. He is quiet, polite and loved by all. Why would a ten-year-old suddenly vanish? Is his interest in pareidolia an obsession? Leave it to an unlikely duo, Detective Erik Schäfer of the Copenhagen Police and reporter Heloise Kaldan to connect the missing pieces. The pacing of this book is well done, with the first half being a bit slow and the momentum picking up in the second half. While the character of Erik focuses primarily on solving the case, Heloise's character covers personal conflict and realisation. Brilliant is one word I would use to describe the ending. I could have never predicted it, but the final chapter shocked me. The author does an incredible job of creating a sense of suspicion, urgency, despair and connection. I know I will be going back for Book One.
I look forward to reading more books in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Swift Press for giving me an ARC. This honest review is left voluntarily.

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This is my first book by this author and the second in this series, but that did not hamper my enjoyment at all; rather I now want to read the first book. Heloise Kaldan is an investigative journalist and her friend, Detective Erik Schäfer is a police investigator in the Violent Crimes Unit. The book is set in Copenhagen where a young boy named Lukas has gone missing. The boy has a unique interest in pareidolia, which means that he sees faces in inanimate objects.

A reported sighting of a body in a frozen moat leads to the recovery of Lukas’ bloodstained jacket, allowing forensics to come into play and the finger of suspicion is pointed at someone, only for that route to be abruptly cut off.

But one clue stands out. Among Lukas’ possessions, is a photo of a barn door. Heloise is sure she has seen that door before, but can’t quite remember where. Perhaps that’s because she has troubles of her own. As Schäfer and Kaldan work out different and parallel investigative angles, they need also to deal with their own personal issues whilst pursuing the case.

I enjoyed this book and especially liked the relationship between Kaldan and Schäfer who are friends but who have to tread a wary path between being supportive and sharing some information, but nevertheless maintaining their own investigative paths. Kaldan can be there for Schafer while she deals with her own personal issues but that doesn’t mean that he’ll deal her in on the police investigation. Kalden however is willing to use her friends to help her get to know and understand Lukas a bit better. Kaldan has a hard edge to her when she is pursuing a story and that means she takes risks and has a tendency to rush in where fools fear to tread.

Hancock also builds in some additional characters of interest, not least of whom is the local supermarket worker Finn, whose penchant for handing out fruit to local children makes him the focus of suspicion for quite some time.

Hancock builds an intriguing and suspenseful police procedural with strong characters and some interesting misdirection which keeps the reader guessing.

Verdict: The Collector is a chilling police procedural that is both tense and sometimes frightening. It is also an engaging, enjoyable read.

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An enjoyable read. If you know Copenhagen there is an extra dimension in the familiarity. The translation is American and had a few bumps, but I will find the first book having read this one.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this copy.

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I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. It was so compelling and atmospheric. I hadn't read the first book in the series but felt it worked well as a standalone. I will be reading the first book now and can't wait for the next installment

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This is the first book I've read by Anne Mette Hancock and it won't be the last. It was a compelling story from start to finish. I lived in Copenhagen for six years and this book took me straight back there. I enjoyed her descriptions of Danish culture and the different areas of Copenhagen.
The characters are flawlessly developed and the book keeps moving at a fast pace. There are so many twists and turns in the plot but everything hangs together perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one.

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