When the body of a teenage girl is found, Inspector Louise Rick is called in to take the case. The girl is clearly from one of Denmark’s immigrant communities, and in the process of investigating her murder, Louise must face prejudices, including her own, in order to discover what really happened.
Only One Life is a crime fiction novel that sets itself apart from others for its deep examination of racism and the ways that prejudice can impact a homicide investigation. Immigrant communities don’t always receive the benefit of the doubt in Denmark; when this young Jordanian girl is found murdered, suspicion automatically falls on the family, an “honor killing.” Even Louise falls prey to her prejudices; she doesn’t realize it until another character points out to her that, if it had been a white, Danish teenager, the police would be looking at everyone except the family.
In the case of Only One Life, it doesn’t help that the murdered girl’s family clearly is hiding something; Though the story moves slowly, it’s certainly interesting. Blaedel makes some excellent points about law enforcement and racism through her storyline. Readers will only wish that more attention had been paid to the immigrant community, as it’s definitely the most interesting part of this crime novel.
A note: Please do not read the summary on the back of the book/dust jacket. It reveals events that happen well-through the novel, including one of the final twists. Trust me on this one.
Other books by Sara Blaedel: