The cover of this thriller caught my eye immediately. And the story behind it took me by surprise. The dynamic style, the incredible psychological finesse the plot shows, and the way how the author Malin Stehn describes the atmosphere and all the emotions – are fantastic. If you are a parent of a daughter, think twice if you want to read this thriller. Because the author is a mother of a daughter herself and uses knowledge in full for this plot.

Happy New Year*
by Malin Stehn
Translation Maria Poets
Original Title Ett Gott Nytt År
Publisher Fischer Scherz on October 12, 2021
Genre Thriller
Pages 462
Format Paperback
Source Fischer Scherz

Thick fog lies over the city: 17-year-old Jennifer disappears from a party. At the other end of town, her mother Lollo is toasting the New Year with her old friends Nina and Malena. They don't have much in common anymore, but the families' New Year's Eve celebrations are a tradition. When the parents wake up after an evening of too much alcohol and too little honesty, the nightmare is reality. Pure panic follows. Dark secrets come to the surface. How well do we know our friends and our loved ones? And what really happened on that New Year's Eve?
Smilla's best friend Jennifer disappears from the New Year's Eve party, plunging several families into a psychological abyss of fear, despair, and panic. But why does everyone react like this? And where exactly does the truth lie?

With an incredibly flowing reading pace, the pages just pass the reader by in a very dynamic way. The author hints at a lot that gives the impression that there is at least one big secret lurking hidden here. Its discovery causes a huge bang and irrevocably changes a character's life. I'm not sure I'm happy with the scene. Well, the psychological effect at the end is absolutely successful, but everything else?

Here, the typical worries and hardships of families who are friends are described who think they really know each other but then have to realize that they know nothing, absolutely nothing, about each other.

Like every man his age, Fredrik struggles with the seductive games played by his daughter Smilla's friend. His wife Nina doesn't like their behavior but can't do anything about it. Her friend Lollo, on the other hand, doesn't understand why her husband Max continues to pursue his real estate business while his daughter Jennifer has disappeared, and the family is going through a time of fear and panic.

A well-constructed thriller that makes for entertaining reading pleasure. The author presents the reader with some surprising twists that the reader absolutely does not see coming. In the end, I was surprised again. I can only recommend it.

Happy reading

*Fischer Scherz kindly provided me this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Mit einem unglaublich fließenden Lesetempo ziehen die Seiten am Leser auf sehr dynamische Weise nur so vorbei. Die Autorin deutet vieles an, was den Eindruck entstehen lässt, dass hier mindestens ein großes Geheimnis im Verborgenen lauert. Dessen Entdeckung sorgt dann auch für einen gewaltigen Knall und ändert das Leben von einer Figur unwiderruflich. Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob ich mit der Szene wirklich zufrieden bin. Gut, der psychologische Effekt am Ende ist absolut gelungen, aber alles andere?

Hier werden typische Sorgen und Nöte von befreundeten Familien geschildert, die meinen, sich wirklich zu kennen, dann aber erkennen müssen, dass sie nichts, aber auch gar nichts voneinander wissen.

Fredrik kämpft wie jeder Mann seines Alters mit den verführerischen Spielchen, die die Freundin seiner Tochter Smilla treibt. Seine Frau Nina mag deren Verhalten nicht, kann aber nichts dagegen tun. Ihre Freundin Lollo hingegen versteht nicht, warum ihr Mann Max seine Immobiliengeschäfte ungerührt weiterverfolgt, während seine Tochter Jennifer verschwunden ist und die Familie eine Zeit der Angst und Panik durchlebt.

Ein gut aufgebauter Thriller, der für unterhaltsames Lesevergnügen sorgt. Die Autorin präsentiert dem Leser einige überraschende Wendungen, die man als Leser absolut nicht kommen sieht. Am Ende war ich dann doch noch mal überrascht. Kann ich nur empfehlen.

*This book was published in English by Penguin on November 24, 2022.

Malin Stehn
Malin Stehn ©Emil Malmborg

Malin Stehn is fascinated by the complexity of interpersonal relationships. The Swedish author has received numerous awards for her extensive work. Her sophisticated psychological suspense novels “Happy New Year” and “Just a Lie” immediately hit the bestseller lists and are translated into many languages. Malin Stehn has two grown children and lives with her husband near Malmö.


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