A mother has missed getting back on her train, leaving her sleeping child alone onboard. Now someone has taken the child off of the train near Stockholm, snatched from under the nose of the train staff, who were supposed to be looking out for her. What caused the mother to leave the train for so long in the first place, and how could the staff have missed the girl leaving?
Frederika Bergman is relatively new to the Stockholm police force. She is an analyst who has joined the special investigative team of star detective Alex Recht. No one is sure if Frederika is cut out for police work, including Frederika herself. She doesn't quite fit in, as she is not a police officer. She is also the only one willing to think outside the box in her task force, which brings her no shortage of opportunities for her colleagues to cut her off, marginalize her participation, and further perpetuate their bias against her.
When the missing child's body is found outside a hospital, and another child disappears, the team is left scrambling. Frederika follows her own path. While she frequently questions her suitability for the job (as do her colleagues), her line of investigation ends up producing more progress than the rest of the team. By the end of the novel, Frederika has come to realize that she is, in fact, quite good at this job, which is a bonus for readers as there are three more titles in this series to date (Silenced, The Disappeared, and Hostage).
If you like Jo Nesbø and Jussi Adler-Olsen, give Kristina Ohlsson a try. Typical of Scandinavian noir, Unwanted features realistic characters and is a suspenseful police procedural mixed with a psychological thriller.