by Thomas Enger (Faber & Faber)
I’ve often mentioned that I really like Scandinavian crime fiction. Henning
Mankell, Lars Keplar, Peter Hoeg and of course, Stieg Larsson. Now I can add
Thomas Enger to this list.
In this debut novel the reader is
introduced to Henning Juul, an investigative reporter with a talent for getting
himself into very hot water, and a tragic past that he is only beginning to
After a fire in Henning’s flat left him
with a dead son, an estranged wife, and terrible physical scars he finally
decides to go back to work.
On the very first day the body of a young woman is discovered, buried waist
deep in the ground, whipped, and stoned to death. At first this looks like the
work of Islamist fanatics but Juul is unwilling to accept this at face value.
He has to deal with colleagues that dislike
him (most prominently his ex-wife’s new boyfriend), police politics, reluctant
witnesses and his own physical and emotional scars.
The book is set in Oslo, Norway and flits
from the newsroom of an internet news agency to a university campus to the
underground ganglands of Oslo, to a couple of grisly discoveries, but mostly,
to the bleak inside of Henning’s tortured mind.
Yet, the book is weirdly upbeat and
positive. As always there are a few issues with the translation – I’m coming to
think that the Scandinavian languages are perhaps just a bit colder than
English – but this actually contributed to the atmosphere of the book.
The book was both subtle and fast-paced and
the twist at the end will definitely surprise you.
Keen on reading this book? Buy your copy now.
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