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Michael Hjorth Books In Order

Publication Order of Sebastian Bergman Books

Sebastian Bergman (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Man Who Watched Women (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Man Who Wasn't There (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Silent Girl (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Michael Hjorth is a Swedish radio presenter, screenwriter, and author of mystery books popularly known for his Sebastian Bergman series. He is one of the founders and the owners of a prominent Tre Vanner, a production company creating films for both TV and the big screen. He co-wrote his Sebastian Bergman series with Hans Rosenfeldt. The series has been successful in different countries and has been adapted into a television series by Swedish Television.

Sebastian Bergman aka Dark Secrets

Dark Secrets is the first book in Sebastian Bergman series, a series given the exact name for good reason. The story introduces the reader to a Swedish police profiler and psychologist who also made his debut in the film world on BBC4 in 2012. He is self-important, cruel, rude, sex-obsessed, disloyal, and arrogant. From these descriptions, he is not a good friend to have. He is also one of the greatest creations by the two co-authors Michael and Hans.
The Swedish television series was based on this book, and so this isn’t some cheap TVspin-off. The novel is more textured and satisfying to the reader than the film. There is something quite fascinating about watching a person behave unbefitting over and over again with total disregard for others and their lives. Sebastian is the type of a man who sleeps with his witnesses; he is disloyal to his senior Torkel- the man who offers him a job. He looks down on anyone he dislikes and torments all the female detectives in Torkel’s team who can’t stand him.

What’s Sebastian’s problem? It’s revealed that Sebastian lost his family, wife, and daughter in 2004 in the Tsunami. This loss ruined both his life and career, sending him into a drinking spree. However, his rage against life began years before the Tsunami, rebelling against his parents whom he hasn’t seen for years and have now died. His mother’s death brought him back to his home in Vasteras. However, how cold his parents were towards him, the reader is left to ponder whether his hatred towards them and his bad behavior are entirely justified. While searching through the “crap” in her mother’s house, he discovers a letter that makes him believe he unknowingly fathered a child three decades earlier. Should he search for the child and the mother? Could this be a second chance to redeem himself?

And then someone gets killed. A teenage boy is brutally knifed, and his body dumped in the forest. Sebastian pretexts his way into the murder investigation to access the police computer and see if he can find the woman he no longer recalls, the mother to his child. As the homicide case unfolds, Sebastian warms up to Vanja and soon takes his work seriously.

Dark Secret is an engrossing book, a good mystery dominated by believable, convincing characters and a well-crafted storyline that hooks you right from the first page to the last. Besides the mystery, one of the dominating themes in the story is the joy, pain, and importance of parent and child bonds. A perfect example is that of Roger, who rejects his mother, and then there is detective Hanser who still mourns the death of his 14-year-old son, which ruined his marriage. There’s Vaja who has a good daughter-father relationship with her dad as well as Torkel who shows a good father-daughter relationship. All of which is concealed by Sebastian’s alienation with his parents and his short-lived union with his wife and child. Sebastian Bergman is one of those rare books you are sad to finish, full of humor, tenderness intrigue, darkness, and shit of a protagonist.

The Man Who Watched Women

In the second book in the series, Sebastian Bergman finds himself working with Sweden’s national police homicide department in Stockholm. He was a shining star convicting several serial killers. But after losing his wife and daughter, he becomes a shell of his former self. Plagued by nightmares and out of work, his conquests these days are the many women he pursues to have sex with.

Three young women have been killed, and the murder scenes are the replicas of Hindes victims. How could this be possible? Hinde, the ritualistic killer, is already in prison and has no access to the outside world. The crime scenes have plenty of evidence left behind, but Torkel and his crew only hit a dead end after the other. All the victims have nothing in connection, and with pressure increasing to have the murders solved, Torkel turns to Bergman for some professional assistance.

The Man Who Watched Women is a chilling and dark psychological thriller novel that pits two brave men against each other. There is a tension building that sneaks up to the reader. The characters in the story include some members of Riksmord. Ursula is a forensic expert who has some past with Torkel, Vanja is a brave investigator, and Billy is the IT guy. They are a good team that functions well, but after they solved the last case, none of them is willing to work with Sebastian Bergman again. Its easier to see why they detest him, from the descriptions in the first book, the reader can already see that Bergman is an opportunity offender. His lack of social graces and blunt speeches leaves a trail of angry people. He might have lost his family, but what survived after is an ego that constantly prevents him from being accountable to his actions.

The reader is aware of the characters personal lives. Tensions at home and with the case cause a small crack in the team as each member of the team deals with secrets that threaten to be unraveled by their current investigations. In other chapters, the reader is given a chance to travel with the killer and see how he executes his plans. There are some flashbacks from the killers, remembering his childhood that try to justify his twisted pathology. These are all well-developed characters, likable and flawed as well. As the story progresses not only will all the characters be deeply affected, but some won’t survive to the end.

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