Review: Resin – Ane Riel

Ane Riel Resin Collage

Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

This way, Liv would be safe.

***

It is no surprise that Ane Riel’s Resin has already scooped up so many of Scandinavia’s most prestigious literary crime awards. The incredible story of Jens, Maria and Liv, a family marred by loss who live on an isolated stretch of land known as the Head, this is suspense writing as it should be — captivating, cruel and disconcerting.

I have never read about a child quite like Liv. She has never been to school but she knows how to read. She also knows how to set a trap, shoot a bow and arrow, tap trees for resin and steal without being seen. She is innocent and shrewd all at once, torn between her love for her father and a child’s instinctive awareness that something about him and her life is very wrong indeed. It’s clear that Jens loves Liv and Maria too, but tragedy and years of isolation have warped his understanding of love and his ability to express it, and he manipulates his family with chilling calm until all three are trapped.

Ane Riel’s descriptive writing is so good that you feel a real physical discomfort as Jens’ obsessive hoarding escalates and a bedbound Maria’s secret letters to Liv grow increasingly desperate. With each foreshadowing flashback and perfectly timed twist, the dread builds up to an acutely tense climax. I stayed up far too late to finish and was gripping the pages right through to the end. And about that last line: my jaw dropped. Resin is a dark but poignant gem that will be on my mind for a long time to come.

About the author
Ane Riel studied art history (but may have spent more time in jazz clubs than in class) and has published a number of books for children, including educational books on painting and architecture. She made her literary debut in 2013 with The Butcher of Liseleje, which was awarded the Danish Crime Academy’s Prize for the Best Debut. Resin has received many of Scandinavia’s most prestigious crime and suspense awards, including the Glass Key, the Golden Bullet in Norway, the Harald Mogensen in Denmark and from the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy.

Rating: 4.5/5
Big thank you to Alison Barrow at Transworld for sending me an advance copy of Resin. You can pre-order it here on Kindle or at your favourite indie bookshop.

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