Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.
I’m so pleased to welcome you to my stop on the Cursed blog tour today! I’m sharing today with Never Imitate so please visit there as well.
This is the fourth book in Enger’s Henning Juul series but my first book and man do I want to go back and catch up now! I wasn’t confused by jumping in at this point, but the characterization was so great in this book that I just know I’m missing out by not reading the first three.
Henning is the ultimate flawed protagonist with so much baggage. He’s currently on leave from his job as a journalist and he’s haunted by the death of his six year old son, Jonas. My worst fear is losing one of my children, I just cannot imagine it, so seeing him so desperately searching for answers as to who set the fire that killed his son was something I could completely understand and respect. The only thing that keeps him going most days is that he’s getting so close to getting justice for Jonas. As he continues to follow leads, he’s dealing with his ex wife and Jonas’ mother, Nora. These two broke my heart, their grief is heavy and palpable and their relationship is so complex. Nora is also a journalist and she’s investigating the disappearance of Hedda, an old friend from school. When their two separate investigations collide, shocking betrayals and secrets are revealed.
There were several threads running throughout this book and I was hard pressed to see how they would all fit together, but Enger brilliantly weaves them together in the end. I’ve come to love the gloominess and oppressive feelings associated with Nordic Noir and Enger hits on both levels. The pacing here was fantastic, it wasn’t too fast or too slow, it kept me engaged and turning pages like a maniac. The tension kept mounting and mounting until things all came to a head in a spectacular conclusion. Then there was the very end, I’m talking about the last line, oh my God did that throw me for a loop!! I’m frantic for the next book, well done.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.
About the Author:
Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndod) in 2009, which became aninternational sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.