Ever since my trip to Denmark earlier this spring, I’ve been absolutely dying to get my hands on a copy of Sara Blaedel’s forthcoming THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER (on sale 2/2018). This book will launch a whole new series for Blaedel: one that’s less police procedural-driven than her Louise Rick series, and more focused on the secrets that ordinary people can hide from one another.
Long story short: at this year’s BookExpo America (BEA), I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the US edition of THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER, which will release in the US in February 2018! I know - that’s a long way away. To help tide you over until then, I’m excited to share a little preview of the book: plot summary, about the author, and the top 3 elements of this book that I loved!
THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER - Plot Summary:
Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father--who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago--has died. And he's left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.
Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn't heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father's things--hoping for some insight into his new life in America--before preparing the business for a quick sale.
But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker's daughter realizes she might be in over her head . . .
About the Author:
Sara Blaedel is the author of the #1 international bestselling series featuring Detective Louise Rick. Her books are published in thirty-seven countries. In 2014 Sara was voted Denmark's most popular novelist for the fourth time. She is also a recipient of the Golden Laurel, Denmark's most prestigious literary award. She lives in New York City.
What to Love About THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER
First things first: the Undertaker’s Daughter series will have a very different tone from Blaedel’s Louise Rick series. Where the Louise Rick series was darker and more police investigation-oriented, the Undertaker’s Daughter series has a bit of a lighter tone, and focuses more on the hidden secrets of its characters. Readers looking for a dark and gritty investigation will be better suited to the Louise Rick books; readers looking for a lighter suspense story that delves into the inner lives of its characters will love meeting Ilka, main character of THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER.
There’s a whole lot to love about this new series: a totally new backdrop for Sara’s writing (this series is set in Racine, Wisconsin!), a totally new tone, and a brand-new main character for readers to get to know. But to narrow it down, here are the 3 key elements that I loved most about THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER!
1. Ordinary characters in extraordinary situations. This is one of my favorite kinds of mysteries: a mystery that throws a regular person into a very unusual situation. Blaedel has crafted exactly that kind of story in THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER—ordinary woman Ilka has to travel from Denmark to the US after her estranged father passes away, and in the process, she finds herself in the middle of an unsolved murder, a bankrupt business, and a whole lot more…Where the Louise Rick books dealt with heavier, more violent subject matter, the “ordinary person” angle of this story allows Blaedel’s charm and personality to truly shine through in the characters she writes. The characters in this story are endearing, quirky, and most of all, they feel like real people.
2. A vividly-researched setting. Blaedel has always been praised for her ability to write detail-oriented, well-researched police procedurals with her Louise Rick series. In THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER, she applies that same skill to a totally different world: the world of funeral homes. This book delves deep into the world of undertaking, and it’s evident how much research Blaedel has put into learning about this industry! From the embalming process to the regulations on crematoriums to the ins and outs of running a funeral home, Blaedel writes authentically and vividly about a world I’d never much considered before. I already have about a billion questions I'd like to ask her about researching this book.
3. A new twist on Scandinavian crime fiction. Main character Ilka is a Danish woman who comes from Copenhagen to the US to put her estranged father’s estate in order after he suddenly passes away. She finds herself in Racine, Wisconsin, a town with a large community of Danish immigrants. This is such a unique and fresh take on Nordic Noir: the book is still very much influenced by the main character’s Danish heritage, but the majority of the story plays out in the town of Racine. This will make THE UNDERTAKER'S DAUGHTER an excellent bridge for readers looking to test the Nordic Noir waters. Plus, I loved being inside Ilka's head as she encounters some American establishments for the first time! (Imagine this scene: a woman used to life in Copenhagen has to go coffin shopping in a Costco. It's real, and it's amazing.)
THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER is an engaging, engrossing start to a new and exciting series from Denmark’s Queen of Crime. This book will appeal to readers looking for a story of interpersonal intrigue, family secrets, and small-town life. Stay tuned for more coverage of THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER as we get closer to its February 2018 release date!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions my own.