10 August 2010

Don't Look Back

Author Karin Fossum has come to be known as the Norwegian Queen of Crime! Don't Look Back is one book in her Inspector Konrad Sejer series - all are criminal detective novels and had I realized her claim to fame, I would have begun my adventures with Inspector Sejer by reading the first in the series, Eve's Eye. (Of course there is the small problem that it is not yet published in English)! I read Don't Look Back as my final book for the Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by The Black Sheep Dances. If you would like to participate, visit her blog.

Ragnhild Album lives in a small village in Norway nestled beneath the Kollen Mountains. On a normal day in this average village, Ragnhild goes missing. Joined by the local police captain, Inspector Sejer is sent to help find the very young girl. Just as suddenly as she vanished, Ragnhild returns. Relieved, the two policemen returned to the station only to receive a phone call from Mrs. Album - Ragnhild saw a girl by the lake, a girl who was naked and not moving at all. So begins the real mystery. Who killed Annie Holland?

Fossum takes the reader on a wild ride - visiting everyone in the small village - characters that leap off the page; surely you know someone just like each one of them. Inspector Sejer, assisted by his younger assistant Jacob Skarre, seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to investigating. But his talent is in getting the villagers to share the secrets they have hidden from their neighbors who thought they knew everything about everyone. But it seems Annie was one of the few who knew things that fermented just below the surface of the town's apparent normalcy. Getting to know who Annie had been before she was murdered, Sejer finds hints of teenage angst, a girl who turned surly almost overnight, abuse, and love. Annie's boyfriend Halvor knew that Annie kept a diary on the computer in his room and he also knew that if he could figure out the password he could help solve the murder. Or was he trying to hide what he knew? Just as I thought I had it all figured out, the answer changed. And that is, of course, the mark of a good detective novel.

Here are links to my other five reviews for the Scandinavian Challenge:

Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
The Beatles by Lars Saabye Christensen

I am thankful that the Stieg Larsson books were so popular here in the US. Without them, and the Black Sheep Dances Challenge, I probably would not have been introduced to these wonderful authors and books.

TITLE: Don't Look Back
AUTHOR: Karin Fossum
TRANSLATOR: Felicity David
COPYRIGHT: 2002 (English translation), original 2002
PAGES: 295
TYPE: fiction
RECOMMEND: This was a book for a thinking person - not a thriller, but a slowly building criminal investigation. I enjoyed it.
AWARDS: Riverton Prize, 1996; Glass Key Award, 1997

1 comment:

caite said...

I have not read this one, but I have read two other Fossum books and loved them both. I love when you think you have it figured out and then the author throws in that final twist!!