Some Kind of Peace: A Novel

Some Kind of Peace: A Novel


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“This powerful first in a new thriller series from Swedish sisters Grebe and Träff introduces a delightfully flawed heroine…The action moves swiftly to a surprising climax” (Publishers Weekly, starred review, Pick of the Week).


A thirty-four-year-old psychologist with a troubled past, Siri Bergman works in central Stockholm and lives alone in an isolated cottage outside the city. Terrified of the dark, she leaves all the lights on when she goes to bed—after having a few glasses of wine to calm her nerves—but she can’t shake the feeling that someone is spying on her through the blackened windows.

When the lifeless body of Sara Matteus—a young patient of Siri’s with a history of drug addiction and sexual abuse—is found floating in the water near the cottage, Siri can no longer deny that someone is out there, watching her and waiting. With the help of Markus, the young policeman investigating Sara’s death; Vijay, an old friend and psychology professor; and Aina, her best friend, Siri sets out to catch the murderer and finally put her past to rest. But as their investigation unfolds, virtually everyone Siri trusts will become a potential suspect.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594795773
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 314
Sales rank: 458,309
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Camilla Grebe is a graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics. She was a cofounder of Storyside, a Swedish audiobook publisher, where she was both CEO and publisher during the early 2000s. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Åsa Träff is a psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy. She runs a private practice with her husband. She lives in Älvsjö, Sweden.

Read an Excerpt

Some Kind of Peace

  • It seems so idyllic.

    An insidiously calm, dew-damp morning. The rays of the sun slowly but relentlessly take possession of the art nouveau building’s clean plaster façade, triumphantly embracing it with their indifferent heat and giving it a sheen the night had hidden.

    As if nothing had happened.

    As if this summer morning heralded a day like any other. A day full of life: sweaty bodies on bicycles; suppressed giggles in front of the ice cream stand by the harbor; steaming, sunburned shoulders; clumsy summer sex as light-blue twilight seamlessly turns to daybreak; the nauseating smell of white wine and lemonade in the pine needle–carpeted edge of the forest north of the pizzeria; the cold water of the lake against skinny child bodies with ribs that seem ready to burst out of their cages, through the soft, paper-thin, milk-white skin.

    Gawky teenage boys swim races to the island and back, outlined like pale frog people, amphibious sailing vessels, against the water’s saturated blue-brown darkness. They howl as they jump off the rock. The air is filled with the aroma of grilled meat and the sound of distant motorboats.

    Mosquitoes. Wasps. Insects with no name: in your hair, in your mouth, on bodies, itchy, sweaty bodies.

    As Swedish as it gets.

    A summer without end.

    As if nothing had happened.

    •  •  •

    Even the building appears indifferent. Heavy and listless, it sits in the lush garden, bedded in leafy, dew-covered greenery. Its massive three-story-high body reaches toward the blue of the brightening summer sky. The plaster has not flaked in a single spot. The gray-green paint that covers the windowsills and doors is fresh and still glossy. There are no cracks or dust in the leaded, stained windowpanes with their coiling organic flower patterns. The roof is covered with old emerald-green copper plate, the kind roofers no longer use.

    It seems so idyllic.

    But something is out of place.

    In the neatly raked gravel parking area is a dazzlingly clean black Jeep. The paint of the Jeep reflects a clematis with large pure white blossoms climbing up a knotted old apple tree. Someone is lying under the low trunk and crooked branches of the tree.

    A young woman, a girl.

    She is curled up in the grass like a bird, her red hair covered by a thin film of dew. Her slender, pale arms are thrown out along her sides, her palms turned upward in a gesture of resignation. The blood that has seeped from her body is congealed in reddish-brown patches on her jeans and in the grass. Her open eyes seem to be inspecting the crown of the apple tree.

    Up there, in the branches, there are small green apples. There are many: The tree will bear plenty of fruit in just a few months. Above the apple tree the swifts and gulls fly unaffected—what do they care about a dead human child?

    Under the body, the smallest inhabitants of the garden have already discovered what no person has yet seen. A small black beetle creeps between the waistband and the cold, pale skin in search of something edible; flies have set up camp in the lush red forest of hair; and microscopic creatures are moving slowly but steadily deeper and deeper into the windings of the ear.

    In a little while, the inhabitants of the house will wake up and look for the girl. When they don’t find her, they will search for her in the garden, where they will see her in the grass under the tree, her eyes gazing toward the sky.

    They will shake her as if trying to wake her from a deep sleep, and when that doesn’t work, one of them will slap her hard across the cheek, staining her face red with her own uncoagulated blood on his hand.

    They will take her in their arms and slowly rock her back and forth. One of them will whisper something in her ear, while the other one buries his face in her hair.

    •  •  •

    Later, the men who never knew her, who don’t even know her name, will come to get her. They will put their calloused hands around her slender, rigid wrists and ankles and lift her effortlessly onto a cold stretcher, cover her with plastic, and drive her far, far from home.

    She will be placed on a metal table, alongside the surgical instruments that will open her up and—hopefully—solve the mystery, explain the unexplainable, restore balance. Bring clarity to something no one understands.

    Create closure and perhaps peace as well.

    Some kind of peace.

  • What People are Saying About This

    From the Publisher

    “This powerful first in a new thriller series from Swedish sisters Grebe and Träff introduces a delightfully flawed heroine… The action moves swiftly to a surprising climax.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review, PW Pick of the Week)

    "Tense and chilling, this is a thriller for readers who also enjoyed Camilla Lackberg’s The Ice Princess." Booklist

    "Sisters Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff dig deep into the cold climes of the human heart in this sharp, atmospheric thriller. First rate writing and unusually absorbing characters. Loved this book.” Perri O'Shaughnessy, bestselling author of Unlucky in Law and Show No Fear

    "Some Kind of Peace is a fast-moving psychological thriller whose plot unfolds from the authors' expert and sensitive consideration of character. Dr. Siri Bergman, haunted by her own loss, finds herself in the midst of danger, the threat coming from a number of possible suspects. Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff spin a tantalizing story of menace and longing in this provocative and richly rendered novel."Lee Martin, author of Break the Skin and The Bright Forever

    “Grebe and Träff break new ground in the Scandinavian crime literature genre, and they do it brilliantly. Using unique insights and experiences from their own professional backgrounds, they tell a smooth-paced yet utterly intriguing story about man’s inability to let go of the past.” ­Kristina Ohlsson, author of Unwanted

    Reading Group Guide

    This reading group guide for Some Kind of Peace includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with authorCamilla Grebe & Åsa Träff. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


    Dr. Siri Bergman runs a private psychotherapy practice in central Stockholm with her best friend Aina. Since her husband’s death in a diving accident, Siri has lived alone in an isolated cottage outside the city. Terrified of the dark, she drinks wine to steady her nerves and leaves the lights on when she goes to bed, unable to shake the feeling that someone is watching through her windows. When the lifeless body of Sara Matteus, a young patient with borderline personality disorder and a tragic history, is found floating in the water near Siri’s cottage, Siri’s worst fears become reality. She knows that someone has been watching her—and he’s coming for Siri next. But she is not alone. With the help of a colleague and a young policeman, Siri starts her own investigation into the murder that will force her to question the motives of everyone around her.

    Topics & Questions for Discussion

    1. In the beginning of the novel, Siri describes working with her patient, Sara Matteus, is like “like walking a tightrope.” (p. 19) Why is Sara such a difficult patient? How does Siri approach her therapy? What do you learn about Siri as both a character and a psychologist from this interaction?

    2. On page 26, Siri reflects: “I can say that we are close, so close that I no longer notice when he arrives in the twilight.” (p. 26) Who or what is she talking about? Is Siri’s condition understandable? How does this “companion” affect Siri throughout Some Kind of Peace?

    3. Siri’s self-assessment is: “I’m a bad therapist, I’ve failed, I should have gotten over it, it’s in the past.” (p. 27) Do you think she is too hard on herself? Is she hanging on to her grief longer than she should? Why or why not?

    4. How would you characterize Siri and Stefan’s marriage? Was Stefan a good partner for Siri? What did he mean when he said, “Actions make us who we are.” (p. 45) Does Siri agree with this statement? Do you?

    5. Siri and her colleague Sven have a contentious relationship. What do you think of Sven? Should Siri learn “not to take everything so seriously” (p. 50), as Sven suggests?

    6. Some Kind of Peace is written by sisters Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff. Did the knowledge that Some Kind of Peace was written by two authors influence your reading experience in any other way?

    7. Discuss Siri’s end-of-summer crawfish party. What did you learn about Siri’s personal relationships from her description of the party? Do you think her perceptions of friends and colleagues are accurate? Why or why not? Do you think Siri’s profession influences her personal relationships? How did you react to Sven and Birgitta’s actions?

    8. Siri and Stefan shared a love of diving and Siri comments that she finally understood her husband after she went diving with him for the first time. This changes when she unexpectedly panics underwater. What happens to her? How is her reaction indicative of her larger fears?

    9. Charlotte is a patient of Siri’s who initially was being treated for an eating disorder. As the novel progresses, Charlotte’s life unravels. How does Charlotte’s crisis resemble Siri’s own issues? Does Siri provide good counsel for Charlotte? In what ways do Siri and Charlotte mirror each other?

    10. After Stefan and Siri lose their unborn baby to a birth defect, Stefan becomes withdrawn and depressed. Discuss the fight they have before Stefan finally agrees to take medication. Why does Siri upset him so much? Do you understand his reaction?

    11. On page 246, Markus says: “You pull on a thread at one end, and someone drops down dead on the other. It’s not anyone’s fault, or maybe it’s everyone’s? But to me the intent is more important than the cause.” What is Markus referring to? Do you agree with Markus’ view? How does this statement relate to Siri’s character?

    12. Throughout the novel, different characters discuss the nature of evil and evil actions, including Vijay, a professor of psychology and an old friend of Siri. Do you agree with Vijay’s assertion that in order to be evil, there has to be a conscious choice involved? How does this compare with Markus’ opinion on evil?

    13. Discuss Siri and Aina’s relationship. How does each woman view her friend? Do you think they see each other accurately? How do the authors portray Aina? Do you think your view of her was influenced by Siri’s own judgment?

    14. How is the murderer’s story presented to the reader? Is the reader given a chance to understand the killer? Did the discussion of evil in the novel influence your opinion of the killer and his motives?

    15. At the end of Some Kind of Peace, Siri is in therapy. How has she changed or progressed as a character since the first chapter? Do you think she’s still afraid of the dark? Discuss your answer.

    Enhance Your Book Club

    1. Learn more about Stockholm and the surrounding countryside where Siri lives.

    Visit the official Stockholm city website at for pictures, travel tips, attractions.

    2. Siri admits she isn’t a very good cook or interested in eating good food. However, don’t let that stop you from cooking a Swedish meal for your next book club meeting! For recipes and ideas, visit

    3. Siri is both a psychologist and an amateur detective. As a fun comparison, watch the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie Spellbound—starring the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman—about a psychoanalyst who gets involved in a murder with your book club. Discuss the use of suspense in both Spellbound and Some Kind of Peace with your group.

    A Conversation with Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff

    It’s unusual to see siblings collaborating on a novel. Why did you want to write a novel together? Who had the idea first?

    We’re both absolutely fascinated by thriller/crime literature. We grew up together in a house filled with books and started reading early. Our parents read a lot of classical Swedish crime-literature, such as Sjöwall-Wahlöö (a husband-and-wife team of detective writers who wrote a series of ten novels about the exploits of detectives from the special homicide commission in Stockholm in the 70’s. They started a trend of realistic crime-novels, written from a social democratic viewpoint.) As soon as we started to read, we entered the world of crime/thriller fiction and never stopped. In 2004 [Camilla] had the idea of writing a thriller with a female therapist as the main character. Camilla e-mailed the first chapter to Åsa and said, “Let’s write a book. Here’s the first chapter – now you write the next one!” At that point in time, it was something we did entirely for fun. We enjoyed our little game tremendously, but never thought about the possibility of actually being published. Much to our surprise (and great joy, of course), we got excellent reviews for Some Kind of Peace. Since this was our first book, we were kind of anxious about being published and could hardly read the reviews to start with. Then, everything happened very fast. The book was sold to a number of countries within a short period of time (Norway, Denmark, Holland, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Poland, Rumania, the US, the UK – just to mention a few).

    You both work in very different fields. What did you each contribute to the writing of Some Kind of Peace? Did you find you had unexpected areas of expertise?

    Many readers believe Åsa writes all the therapy sessions since she is a psychologist. However, we both wrote all kinds of scenes/chapters. But, naturally, since Åsa is an expert in psychology, she makes sure the facts are correct when it comes to describing Siri’s profession.

    What drew you both to write crime fiction? How did you create Siri’s character, with all her quirky traits, such as her fear of the dark?

    The desire to write crime fiction is due to our love of the genre. Using a therapist as our main character opens up a number of fantastic opportunities. First of all, you get to dive into the really important (emotional) issues immediately. For instance: A patient enters the room for his first therapy session. He takes off his coat, sits down and starts talking about the most difficult issues in his life. Now, where else would this happen? There are so many good detective novels around. We wanted to write something different and unique that combined the best elements of crime fiction with real psychological insight.

    Siri is sensitive, stubborn and empathetic. Although she’s an expert in relieving her patients’ suffering, she is incapable of helping herself. We wanted to make her strong, yet vulnerable – hence all the quirky traits. She is insightful when it comes to her patients, and yet can’t understand her own feelings. It is this contrast that makes her complex, and therefore interesting.

    Åsa, as a trained psychologist, your experience in the field no doubt provided extensive background for the novel. What would you like your readers to understand about your profession?

    I tried to describe the profession with both its pros and cons. It’s an interesting and fascinating profession, and hopefully you can make a difference in a person’s life. But it’s also very difficult and sometimes hard to get through. It was also important to me to show how painful a psychiatric diagnosis can be, and how brave the patients are, trying to deal with their problems.

    Siri, Aina, and Sven have an unusual working relationship. Why did you decide to structure their office and the characters in this way?

    It’s quite common for psychologists in Sweden to have small clinics like this (without the receptionist/secretary, though). When we wrote Some Kind of Peace, I didn’t have my own practice, and I guess what we described was in a way my own dream scenario - a small practice together with a really good a friend and a more experienced, wise colleague.

    Late in the book, Siri makes a distinction between her patients who are ill with neuroses and those with the capacity to kill. How did you craft the killer in the novel? Did you draw upon your own knowledge and experiences or was it entirely a fictitious creation?

    The killer in the book is entirely fictitious. Our experience of killers is very limited (luckily), and comes from what we read and see in the news.

    Despite the aid and support Siri gets from her friends and colleagues, she’s basically alone for most of the book, left on her own to solve the mystery. Why did you decide to isolate Siri in the way that you did?

    Isolation in a remote location is a classical way of creating suspense (think The Shining). We wanted to create a claustrophobic atmosphere where Siri is confined to her small, lit-up house with large glass windows (much like an aquarium). Everyone can see her from the outside, but she herself cannot see intruders hiding outside – only her own reflection in the dark windows.

    Do you think your characters have particularly Swedish attributes that your English-language readers may not be aware of?

    If so, we’re not aware of them either …

    How does your joint writing process work? Do you both have different writing styles? If so, how do you blend the styles together?

    Initially, we discuss the story, the characters and the setting in detail. After that we start writing - but we rarely do the actual writing together. Instead we e-mail chapters to each other. While writing, we have an intense dialogue; we call each other several times a day to discuss different options and solve creative issues. Our styles might have been a little different to start with, but after working together for a year or so, we believe we have developed a common style - a "third voice" - neither Camilla's nor Åsa's, but rather a mixture of the two.

    Are there any books that were an inspiration for you both when it came to writing Some Kind of Peace? Do you both read crime fiction? If so, who are your favorite authors?

    While we both read a lot of crime fiction, Åsa is the most "pathological" reader. She reads at least 2-3 novels/week (get a life, Åsa!), and almost exclusively crime fiction. There are many great crime writers in Scandinavia and elsewhere. Among others, we like: Dennis Lehane, Tana French, Denise Mina and Swedish writer Johan Theorin. And, last, but not least - the classical Swedish crime-writing duo Sjöwall-Wahlöö.

    Customer Reviews

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    Some Kind of Peace 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
    The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
    Is it the dark you fear or what is lurking in it? Siri by day is a strong, successful therapist able to cope with whatever her patients bring to her doorstep. At night she cowers in the corner, afraid of the dark wondering why she is able to help others and not herself. Siri's husband created a beautiful home for them only to die and leave her lonely and afraid to live. When her perceived nightmare becomes a reality based fact Siri is forced to confront her demons. A patient is murdered and left on her property raising questions as to whether this was a crime intended to affect Siri. It is at this point that Siri has to realize and admit that the noise she heard was not the house settling, the footprints in her room were made by another, and the threats are real not over exaggerated. Day into night the troubles escalate and the violence increases. One too many suspects appear and patients become threats while friend turn into treacherous foes. Whom do you trust when it appears no one is telling you the truth? If you are looking for a story that will scare you and keep you entertained KEEPING THE PEACE is the one for you. The authors really know how to shake the demons out of the trees and bring them to life with vivid and terrifying detail. Do not miss this book but read it during the day!
    shayrp76 More than 1 year ago
    *advanced readers copy* Psychologist Siri Bergman’s life starts to unravel after one of her patients is discovered murdered on her property. Siri has already suffered tragic events in her life, including her husband’s death, which has left her with fears that she would help others to overcome. So when clues begin to surface that the killer is really targeting her she begins to question those people within her intimate circle of friends and colleagues who know her weaknesses and how to exploit them. This is on my list of best reads so far this year. Once I got the time to really sit down and focus on it I didn’t want to put it down. There was a desire to know what happens but also a reluctance to let go of the characters. I like a mystery that stumps me, which is becoming increasingly harder to find. The pace was incredible and the characters were vividly realistic. I felt like I got to know them and enjoyed each one for their good and bad sides. I cannot wait to read their next novel. This one comes highly recommended!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book hooks you until you finish to the end. Lots of great action. Recommend this book to anyone who loves action and thrilling events!!
    l_manning More than 1 year ago
    Siri Bergman is a psychologist who is trying to deal with her own tragic past. The death of her husband several years ago has left her scared and scarred, leaving her unable to be alone in the dark of her remote country home. When the body of one of her patients is found near her home, Siri finds herself involved in something even more frightening then she had imagined. Someone is after Siri, and they are using her patients to get to her. They have an intimate knowledge of her life and practice, and Siri cannot think of why someone would do this. With the help of her colleagues and friends, Siri must use all the knowledge she has to try and figure out who is after her before it is too late. I found this book very intriguing. I could tell reading it that the authors knew a lot about psychology, and I thought this made for a more thrilling book. This book was quite scary for me. I think that I feel for Siri living alone out in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to just pack her up somewhere with more people. Not knowing what would happen next was frightening. Luckily it wasn't too scary. I probably wouldn't read it at night alone, but the mystery of trying to figure out who was doing it and why did distract me from the terror a bit. I will admit to some quickened heartbeats though. I don't do well with creepy stuff though. For me, the payoff was truly in the end. It was just so frightening yet real to me that this could happen. There were some random things dropped to throw you off the trail of the real killer though that were never explained. This kind of left me hanging. I wanted to know why the characters acted the way they did, but I never got that. That was kind of a let down. Overall though, this was a psychological thriller at its best. If you like mysteries and creepy psychological thrillers, you will definitely enjoy this book. Book provided for review.
    RavenswoodPublishing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Book Title: "Some Kind of Peace¿Author: Camilla Grebe & Asa TraffPublished By: Free PressAge Recommended: 18+Reviewed By: Kitty BullardRaven Rating: 5Review: Every now and again I find myself in the mood for a good murder mystery and when it involves a stalker and obsession it¿s even better! The writing team of Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff are no less than amazing. The setting and plot for this story is perfection and I immediately found myself deeply immersed barely coming up for air. Dr. Siri Bergman is a psychologist dealing with dual loss and fears of her own while trying to provide comfort and help to others that have issues deeply rooted into their psyche. When she begins to get disturbing letters and other indications that she is being watched everyone becomes a suspect and she is tossed unwillingly into a psychological nightmare that threatens to jerk her from the fragile sanity of her quiet sanctuary. This novel is one on par with some of the best thrillers past and present. A true teeth-clenching, heart-stopping work of fiction you do not want to miss!
    shayrp76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    *advanced readers copy*Psychologist Siri Bergman¿s life starts to unravel after one of her patients is discovered murdered on her property. Siri has already suffered tragic events in her life, including her husband¿s death, which has left her with fears that she would help others to overcome. So when clues begin to surface that the killer is really targeting her she begins to question those people within her intimate circle of friends and colleagues who know her weaknesses and how to exploit them. This is on my list of best reads so far this year. Once I got the time to really sit down and focus on it I didn¿t want to put it down. There was a desire to know what happens but also a reluctance to let go of the characters. I like a mystery that stumps me, which is becoming increasingly harder to find. The pace was incredible and the characters were vividly realistic. I felt like I got to know them and enjoyed each one for their good and bad sides. I cannot wait to read their next novel. This one comes highly recommended from me.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Wonderful, well-paced, well-developed, insightful, believable, engrossing.
    tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
    This novel can’t make up its mind whether it is a mystery/thriller or a clinical psychology textbook. One of the authors is a psychologist specializing in behavioral therapy, as is the book’s protagonist, Siri Bergman, who treats patients for various mental problems, but seems in need of help herself. She recently lost her husband in a diving accident, but still lives in their isolated house, talking to him and feeling his touch, afraid of the dark, keeping all the lights in the house on through the night (among other problems she has). One of her patients, a young woman named Sara, is found murdered on Siri’s property. Siri also has the feeling that someone is watching her, often looking at her through the window (of course with the lights on it’s easy). Then she receives a photo of herself in the mail, with a note confirming she is being watched. The receptionist of the office Siri shares with two colleagues is the victim of a hit-and-run, just as she was going to tell Siri something. Despite all these coincidences, the police make no progress in solving the case. Naturally, Siri looks to her various patients for a possible perpetrator when it becomes obvious she is being targeted. The problem is that half the book is filled with clinical notes on a variety of patients having nothing to do with the main plot, except for one patient. And to the novel’s detriment, the conclusion comes out of left field. Some judicious editing and tightening could have improved the novel from just a run-of-the-mill effort to a much better read. Apparently this first effort has a sequel. Let’s hope it includes those characteristics.
    Anna_Sophie More than 1 year ago
    if you are a true scandinavian crime fiction reader, you will find this book to be overly wordy and not engaging at all. it takes way too long to develop and the main character's actions are both unbelievable and irritating. the authors did not do a good job of creating suspense, developing the plot, or making you care about this woman. i say check it out from the library.
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