The Wolf and the Watchman: A Novel (Hardcover)
I heard this billed as "The Alienist set in 18th century Sweden," and though not exactly wrong, it doesn't do justice to this multilayered tale. It's gritty and grotesque, more an exploration of humanity (and inhumanity) than a crime thriller. The setting highlights this as well, as both forensic science and psychology have a ways to go before they're considered commonplace at a crime scene. A dark, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying read! —Caitlin— From Staff Favorites List- Summer 2019
I can't remember how I originally heard about this one, but I was intrigued by a description that called it "The Alienist set in 18th century Sweden." It's similar in that the only clues to a gruesome crime are those left by the killer's temperament, but the detective in this case is working with a field in it's absolute infancy. He's in a race against a killer he can beat, but also one he can't. A historical Scandinavian mystery with characters that intrigue and repulse. —Caitlin M.— From The Most Brilliant Books of 2019
ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
“It’s early to be pegging the year’s best books, but The Wolf and the Watchman, Niklas Natt och Dag’s stunning debut, is sure to be one of them.” —The Washington Post
“What's better than an ornate period piece with style to spare? One that includes a murder mystery. Oh, and boy is it a riveting mystery....A bit of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume and a bit of Sherlock Holmes, this wolf has some bite to it.” —NPR
“Reads like a season of ‘True Detective’...anchored by a powerful sense of place and a memorable cast of characters....You won’t soon forget it.” —USA TODAY
Named Best Debut Novel of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers
One morning in the autumn of 1793, watchman Mikel Cardell is awakened from his drunken slumber with reports of a body seen floating in the Larder, once a pristine lake on Stockholm’s Southern Isle, now a rancid bog. Efforts to identify the bizarrely mutilated corpse are entrusted to incorruptible lawyer Cecil Winge, who enlists Cardell’s help to solve the case. But time is short: Winge’s health is failing, the monarchy is in shambles, and whispered conspiracies and paranoia abound.
Winge and Cardell become immersed in a brutal world of guttersnipes and thieves, mercenaries and madams. From a farmer’s son who is led down a treacherous path when he seeks his fortune in the capital to an orphan girl consigned to the workhouse by a pitiless parish priest, their gruesome investigation peels back layer upon layer of the city’s labyrinthine society. The rich and the poor, the pious and the fallen, the living and the dead—all collide and interconnect with the body pulled from the lake.
Breathtakingly bold and intricately constructed, The Wolf and the Watchman brings to life the crowded streets, gilded palaces, and dark corners of late-eighteenth-century Stockholm, offering a startling vision of the crimes we commit in the name of justice, and the sacrifices we make in order to survive.
About the Author
Niklas Natt och Dag (“Night and Day”) is a member of the oldest surviving noble family in Sweden. He enjoys playing the guitar, mandolin, violin, and the Japanese bamboo flute. The Wolf and the Watchman, his first novel, was named the Best Debut of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers and is being published in thirty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and their two sons.
"A tantalizing mystery, a foreboding, claustrophobic sense of place and a pair of unforgettable investigators."
“The Alienist set in eighteenth-century Stockholm: Brawny, bloody, intricate, enthralling—and the best historical thriller I’ve read in twenty years.”
— A.J. Finn, #1 bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“Thrilling, unnerving, clever, and beautiful.”
— Fredrik Backman, international bestselling author
“For Stieg Larsson fans, a new voice...a stunning debut...Like Umberto Eco’s novel [The Name of the Rose, this] is a cerebral, immersive page-turner [with] a moral heft reminiscent of works by Graham Greene...Plenty of twists to satisfy thrill-starved readers.”
— The Washington Post
“What's better than an ornate period piece with style to spare? One that includes a murder mystery. Oh, and boy is it a riveting mystery...A bit of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume and a bit of Sherlock Holmes, this wolf has some bite to it.”
“In his debut novel, Natt och Dag examines the effects of a brutal murder on those who investigate it—and explores the psychological causes for the crime...Chilling and thought-provoking. Relentless, well-written, and nearly impossible to put down.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Reads like a season of 'True Detective'...anchored by a powerful sense of place and a memorable cast of characters...you won't soon forget it."
— USA Today
"A remarkable debut novel."
— The Sunday Times
“[A] masterly first novel...The book’s structure, which includes flashbacks and multiple perspectives, will remind many of Iain Pear’s An Instance of the Fingerpost, and Natt och Dag uses this structure to heighten suspense and deepen characterization. The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers named this the bets debut novel of 2017, and U.S. readers will be likewise impressed.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A standout. The characterization is excellent, as is the evocation of eighteenth-century Stockholm, an uncommon historical setting that provides a vibrant backdrop for this unusual mystery. Natt och Dag's side-plots dovetail neatly, his pacing is skillful, and he explores with aplomb his novel's main theme, Homo homini lupus est —Man is wolf to man.”
"Calls to mind another auspicious debut murder mystery set in an unfamiliar place and time: Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. It’s been nearly 40 years since that foreign-language historical thriller captured the world’s imagination, thoroughly engrossing readers and propelling its author into international stardom. So we’re about due, and Natt och Dag is certainly a worthy candidate.”