Two things spring to mind about this book - Snapchat and slog.
The story opens with the build-up to a girl's chilling final moments from her perspective. How everyone finds out about her brutal experience is through the popular social media app, Snapchat, with the gruesome images sent to all her contacts. I liked this modern angle because frankly, this is how most teenaged folk spread the news of just about anything. So why not murder too? A great start.
Then comes the detective work from characters I now know are part of a series. One is a child psychologist and another is a police detective and between them, with the rest of the police team, they try to discover why the girl was bludgeoned to death.
And this is where the slog comes in.
Somehow it seems just as hard for the reader to troll through the school and parent interviews as it does for the police. We see the dreary, sad lives of the main protagonists in too much monotony. The pace is slow...until another boy goes missing. The police do not know at this stage that he is dead and so go through the slog of boring parental interviews. The intrigue concerns numbers under the bodies and the occasional murder's point of view.
The overriding theme of this book is bullying, with a bullying specialist called in and lots of examples of twenty-first century tactics used to intimidate school children. Thank goodness Facebook didn't exist when I was at school. Some of the responses to this from the child psychologist seem a little naive at this stage, perhaps. The bullying also affects the adults, as expected, and is alive and well in the workplace.
The 'whodunnit' is complex and therefore I didn't predict it, which is a bonus. This book has gore, horror and terror in small doses and deals with a topic all of us have witnessed at some point.
The Absolution is published by Hodder and Stoughton on 18 April 2019. This book is included in my recommendations for Nordic Noir.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.