Thirty-four years old, blond, single, divorced with a teenage daughter, Fors is the most driven superintendent who has ever worked on the police force in her small, isolated town. And the most talented. In her job, she is constantly moving through the borderland between life and death. Her path in life is violent and hazardous.
Linkping, Sweden, is surrounded by a landscape of plains and forestsa fault line on the edges of society where time seems to have stood still and where some people live entirely according to their own rules. In the early hours of a frigid night, during the coldest February anyone can remember, the bloody body of an obese man, stripped bare and horribly mutilated, is found hanging from a lone oak tree in the middle of a frozen, snow-covered, and windswept plain not far from town.
The young superintendent Malin Fors is assigned to the case. Together with her colleagues from the Investigation Section of Linkpings Crime Unit, she must track down the identity of the man in the tree and the reason why he ended up there. And at the same time they must follow in the frigid wake of a killer who has just begun his work. It is a manhunt that will take Malin into the darkest corners of the human heart where the sins of the past hidden awayall too often wreak havoc from one generation to the next.