remarkable debut novel... Gradually and skilfully, the author pulls together the disparate strands of his tale and brings it to a bleakly ironic conclusion... Like most interesting fiction, The Wolf and the Watchman resists easy categorisation. At times it reads like a Nordic noir thriller transported back to the late 18th century, but there is much more to its narrative than the solution of a murder mystery... The unrelenting harshness of Natt och Dag’s vision might be off-putting to some... However, there is no mistaking the intensity and imagination with which he summons up a society mired in corruption and inequality.
As a crime novel, Niklas Natt och Dag’s debut offers conventional fare... The investigation, however, is itself something of a red herring: Natt och Dag is far more interested in exploring Swedish society in the late 18th century... Vividly written, The Wolf and the Watchman is a superbly detailed historical mystery that delivers an uncommonly bleak variation on the genre’s pursuit of truth and justice.
Cecil Winge and Mickel Cardell, an engaging investigative double act, set out to find out who would do such a thing... What the two men uncover is stomach-churningly horrible. The author paints an unflinching portrait of history’s victims — the poor, the diseased and the abused. There is grinding poverty, sexual slavery and venereal disease. The book’s flaw is a tendency to clunky exposition. Admittedly, my knowledge of Enlightenment-era Stockholm is not what it could be, but characters telling each other historical facts is irksome. That aside, The Wolf and the Watchman is a gripping, shocking read.