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Max Seeck | Exclusive Excerpt: THE LAST GRUDGE

The Last Grudge
Max Seeck




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A Ghosts of the Past Novel #3

February 2023
On Sale: February 7, 2023
Featuring: Eliel Zetterborg; Jessica Niemi
400 pages
ISBN: 0593438841
EAN: 9780593438848
Kindle: B09ZS78ZFK
Trade Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Max Seeck:
Ghost Island, March 2024
Add to review list
The Last Grudge, February 2023
The Ice Coven, October 2021
The Witch Hunter, November 2020


Detective Sergeant Jessica Niemi watches a squirrel scamper across the road in its self-grown winter coat, then climb a fat tree trunk with surprising speed. Nature’s little miracles, like the agility of the gravity-defying rodent, have never ceased to amaze her. With the passing years, she seems to yearn for nature more and more, perhaps to create distance between herself and the tragedies and horrific fates she encounters on the job.

However, her love of nature isn’t the reason Jessica has ventured into Helsinki’s Central Park on this gloomy January evening.

The squirrel disappears, but Jessica can hear its tiny claws scrabble against the bark and see branches sway high up in the tree.

The path running through the dense forest is dark, and the icy drizzle has kept all but a few fitness enthusiasts inside. Jessica brought a flashlight, but so far she has managed with the lamps spaced sparsely at intervals along the path.

She zips up her windbreaker with the fingers of her left hand. Her right arm still dangles in a sling—not because it’s necessary in terms of recovery, but because her arm muscles throb every time the wrist she injured in mid-December isn’t supported.

A little over a month ago, a sledgehammer wielded by a young woman did a number not only on Jessica’s wrist, but on the base of her thumb. It crushed the trapezium, and it was only the virtuosic performance of the operating surgeon that ensured the thumb had even a moderate chance of functioning again someday. Despite the successful surgery, Jessica is facing a patience-trying rehabilitative process that will continue for some time. A conservative guess puts Jessica wrapping her hand around a firearm at the police shooting range in summer at the earliest, maybe even autumn.

If she wants to go back, that is. Right now there’s no guarantee.

The idea of taking a leave of absence caught Jessica off guard: she and her boss, Hellu, had agreed she could continue at the unit as long as she left the fieldwork, which requires a functioning hand, to others. And for a while Jessica felt like she wanted to get back. Despite everything Hellu had learned about Jessica and her past, Jessica had been given a second chance. Hellu had thrown her a life preserver, and for a fleeting moment, Jessica had clung to it. But then . . .

Jessica stops abruptly and gazes at the soaked sawdust on the surface of the path. The puddles there haven’t frozen yet, and the wind is setting the water skittering.

This is where it happened, in this exact spot: last November, a drunk assaulted Jessica. After knocking her to the ground, he repeated a phrase in her ear, over and over: Christmas Eve.

And only fifty yards from the path, in the middle of the woods, the charred body of a man was discovered on Christmas Eve.

A gust of wind sets the leafless branches swinging in the darkness. Jessica is roused from her reverie when she hears someone approaching rapidly. A few seconds later, a cyclist in Lycra zooms past

and vanishes as quickly as she appeared.

A cold wave washes over Jessica. She doesn’t believe in coincidence. She knows something is going on. Something she needs to get to the bottom of—alone.

She remembers looking out her apartment window on Christmas Eve.

She remembers what she saw. Horned figures. Witches. All a part of that insane cabal that murdered numerous people a year ago and ultimately threatened her life too.

But even so, she cannot completely trust her perceptions. It’s perfectly possible her mind has mingled two worlds, only one of which is real.

This is why she must dig into the matter alone; otherwise she will never be at peace.

Jessica brings up her phone’s camera, turns on her flashlight, and steps off the path, making for the place where a burned body was found on Christmas Eve.


Excerpted from THE LAST GRUDGE by Max Seeck published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2023 by Max Seeck


A Ghosts of the Past Novel #3

The Last Grudge

While her colleagues investigate the brutal murder of a prominent businessman, Jessica Niemi must battle demons from her past in this terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch Hunter.

Powerful executive Eliel Zetterborg has been found murdered in his upscale Helsinki home. What at first seems like a straightforward case soon proves to be anything but when it becomes clear the murderer has other targets. The only clue the police have is a photo of Zetterborg with three men whose faces have all been scratched off.

Detective Jessica Niemi has taken some time off from her work with the Helsinki police to track down the coven that nearly killed her, and her partner, Yusuf, is assigned to lead the investigation. But as Yusuf delves into the case, he realizes he needs Jessica’s help. And as they dig deeper, they realize that the evil they’ve been hunting all along has returned and is lying in wait for the right moment to strike.


Horror [Berkley, On Sale: February 7, 2023, Trade Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593438848 / eISBN: 9780593438855]

Buy THE LAST GRUDGE: | Kindle | | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | | Book Depository | | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Max Seeck

Max Seeck

Max Seeck devotes his time to writing professionally. An avid reader of Nordic noir for personal pleasure, he listens to film scores as he writes. His accolades include the Finnish Whodunit Society's Debut Thriller of the Year Award 2016. Max Seeck has a background in sales and marketing and loves to promote his works, and is fluent in English and German.

Jessica Niemi





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