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Twisty and brimming with the emotional power of beautifully drawn characters, the solo debut by the coauthor of The Boy in the Suitcase is a brooding and atmospheric thriller that sets a young mother on a collision course with her past in order to save her son's future.
Ella Nygaard, 27, has been a ward of the state since she was seven years old, the night her father murdered her mother. She doesn’t remember anything about that night or her childhood before it—but her body remembers. The PTSD-induced panic attacks she now suffers incapacitate her for hours at a time, sometimes days.
After one particularly bad episode lands Ella in a psych ward, she discovers her son, Alex, has been taken from her by the state and placed with a foster family. Desperate not to lose her son, Ella kidnaps Alex and flees to the seaside town in northern Denmark where she was born. Her grandmother’s abandoned house is in grave disrepair, but she can live there for free until she can figure out how to convince social services that despite everything, she is the best parent for her child.
But being back in the small town forces Ella to confront the demons of her childhood—the monsters her memory has tried so hard to obscure. What really happened that night her mother died? Was her grandmother right—was Ella’s father unjustly convicted? What other secrets were her parents hiding from each other? If Ella can start to remember, maybe her scars will begin to heal—or maybe the truth will put her in even greater danger.
About the Author
Agnete Friis has coauthored four novels in the award-winning New York Times bestselling Nina Borg series: The Boy in the Suitcase, Invisible Murder, Death of a Nightingale, and The Considerate Killer. She lives in Copenhagen. What My Body Remembers is her solo debut.
Praise for What My Body Remembers
"In this sensitive character study, Agnete Friis, who writes the Nina Borg mysteries with Lene Kaaberbøl, dares us to confront bad mothers and other outcasts."
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"The first solo novel by Friis, translated from the Danish by Lindy Falk van Rooyen, measures up to the best-selling Nordic noir novel The Boy in the Suitcase. Ella Nygaard, 27, is a flawed, memorable character."
—The BBC, Between the Lines
"A classic whodunit with a great up-to-date character and twist... An excellent character study of a woman in extreme crisis."
—The Globe and Mail
"I enjoyed The Boy in the Suitcase, co-written by Agnete Friis, and her first solo novel also is a winner."
—The News & Observer
"There's nothing quite like making a cheery place like the seashore feel full of danger and dread."
"A first-rate novel of psychological and emotional suspense . . . Ella is a fascinating, complex character... Highly recommended!"
—The Journal of Popular Culture
"Sparkling prose . . . A twisty plot, and the pages did keep turning . . . Book snobs, here’s your first unguilty beach read of spring."
—Words without Borders
"[A] must read . . . Better known as half of the duo who co-wrote the socially conscious Nina Borg series (along with Lene Kaaberbøl), Friis brings that same liberal political slant to this new thriller about love and violence in families."
"The skillfully calibrated atmospheric tension and Ella’s realistically awkward struggle toward redemption will appeal to fans of literary suspense like that of Jennifer McMahon and Karin Fossum."
—Booklist, Starred Review
"[Friis] expertly weaves Ella's current life with the days and weeks leading up to the crime . . . A deeply resonant tale about one woman's attempts to embrace her past while setting herself free."
"Devastating . . . Friis’s writing is propulsive, and the book’s twisty conclusion will shock and gratify."
"A dark, fast-paced, and compelling mystery that will fascinate aficionados of Nordic noir."
"[Friis] doesn't sugarcoat Ella's life; mental illness and poverty, plus notoriety in her hometown for being a murderer's daughter, add up to a bleak existence.... A memorable read."
"Breaks the mould . . . Friis had an uncanny ability with her prose to suck me in and make me lose track of time."
—Clues & Reviews
"[Friis] delivers a realistic, gritty thriller with a lot of heart. You will find yourself rooting for the angry, damaged underdog Ella who yearns to have a normal life with her son. This novel is hopeful and uplifting and while delivered in the sober tones characteristic of Nordic noir, you may still feel a hitch in your throat at it’s cathartic ending."
—Crime Fiction Lover
"Fans of Karin Fossum will feel right at home in Friis’ writing, from her measured pacing to her vividly-drawn characters . . . Totally satisfying, tense, and immersive."
—Crime by the Book
"Agnete Friis's storytelling haunts and grips and satisfies wildly. I love how she constructs palpable edge and suspense, but am especially captivated by the richness, depth, and organic quality of her amazingly vivid cast of characters. What My Body Remembers is a tense and riveting thrill ride. I devoured her visionary storytelling in one satisfying bite."
—Sara Blaedel, international bestselling author of The Forgotten Girls
"Nordic Noir with a special flair for tension and engaging, credible characters. This book will keep you up all night."
—Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, author of I Remember You
Praise for the Nina Borg thrillers
“Here’s something you don’t often see in Nordic noir fiction—a novel written by two women . . . compassionately told from a feminine perspective and featuring female characters you can believe in . . . It packs an almighty punch.”
—The New York Times Book Review, Notable Crime Book of the Year
“Sure to draw comparisons with a certain blockbuster trilogy (this is better), this story packs plenty of emotional suspense and interpersonal friction.”
“Terrific . . . What’s for sure is that, once you start reading, you can’t stop.”
—The Washington Post
“A seamless weaving of psychological depth and rocket-paced plotting, the story hooked me in and the strong, complicated, and fascinating women at its center kept me utterly riveted.”
—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of In the Blood
“A moving story . . . A socially conscious—and, at times, critical—tale.”