Kristine M. (Marion, IL)
Mystery that will appeal to History fans
I really enjoyed reading Where Monster's Dwell. I don't usually read murder mysteries because I prefer Historical Fiction. But Where Monster's Dwell was a good mystery blended with history and travel. I visited Trondheim with my family when I was 10 and could imagine the city with the view of Munkholmen Island. I found the murders pretty gruesome, but the mystery was intriguing and the characters were believable. I got very caught up with the two story lines and suspected all the wrong people – but that's OK because I like to be surprised! While I usually don't recommend murder mysteries as book club books, I think there were multiple topics that could lead to lively discussions.
Judith S. (Binghamton, NY)
monsters dwell in the libraries!
The novel "Where Monsters Dwell" is a masterfully written tale. The author skillfully transports the reader back and forth through time and continents while weaving a 'just intricate enough' crime investigation. The historical fiction aspects are immensely interesting without detracting from the quick step pace of the story. Somewhat reminiscent to Steig Larssen's writing style but less raw and more elegant. Look forward to more from Mr. Brekke.
Carol G. (Little Egg Harbor, NJ)
Where Monsters Dwell
Wow -Another Scandinavian author I am going to follow - an impressive debut novel!
Characters are complex, which I love, intricate plot which I love, and a satisfying ending.
With so many characters in this novel, not all received justice. Translation was acceptable and since I am used to reading this genre - Scandinavian mystery. I was ok with some of the translation faults. I look forward to the next installment. Kudos to the author.
Monica G. (San Antonio, TX)
Definitely Not For the Squeamish
Two gruesome murders of an almost identical nature that occur almost simultaneously would normally lead a good investigator to the belief that only one killer is responsible, but what happens when the two murders occur in two vastly different locations? Can the same killer be responsible for both? This is the premise of Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke.
Homicide detective Felicia Stone from Virgina and Odd Singsaker from Trondheim, Norway, eventually come together to unravel the mystery of the murders and find not only similarities in the killings, but a common theme to both murders involving a rare book from the 1500's.
The novel is written in two different narratives, one set in the 1500's and one set in the current time and the reader moves back and forth between circumstances in the 1500's that shed light on why these murders may be connected now.
The first part of the book was a little hard to get through for me but about a third of the way in, the story picked up and moved easily from there.
Characters are well formed, if a little clunky, and the story is well thought out. I think the translation was commendable and helped keep the storyline flowing well between periods.
There are lots of red herrings but I think it's pretty easy to figure out "who done it", maybe not so easy to figure out why. Overall, this is a solid mystery with a solid plotline and likeable characters. I hope detectives Stone and Singsaker continue to work together in future novels. On a side note, if 1/2 stars were available, I would rate this book at 3 and a 1/2 stars.
Judy W. (Tucker, GA)
Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke
This book is, indeed, a thriller! It is dark and at times, creepy, but also, very readable and will keep the reader engaged throughout the story (actually three mysteries within one book). The historical information was most interesting. Brekke's writing style reminds me of another Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo, whom I recently discovered. The beginning of the story is a little slow moving, but soon begins to captivate the reader. As with many books, the romantic involvement of the two detectives, one from Norway and one from the USA, is rather unrealistic. But authors always have to include romance of sorts to "hook" the majority of readers.
All in all, a first rate mystery thriller--I would rate it better than "The Da Vinci Code".
Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)
A Tale of Evil
Two intriguing mysteries, seperated by centuries, but connected. Grisly descriptions. Author employes far too many 'tricks of the trade,' like skipping back and forth from character to character, century to century, end before beginning, when the stories were more than adequate to capture readers. I awarded the one star for the breadth of the undertaking rather than the execution.
Mary G. (Purcellville, VA)
Small wonder "Where the Monsters Are" is already an international best seller. It is fascinating, fast-paced, and downright creepy. It is fitting that the book starts with a macabre murder at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum because this book is an homage to Poe.
Author Brekke does a masterful job of maintaining three separate story lines while still managing to give his central characters well-developed back stories and personalities. You would think Brekke would need an 800-page opus to properly develop his story and characters but he manages to wrap everything up quite satisfactorily in under 400 pages.
The pacing was so quick, in fact, that it wasn't until I finished the book that I realized how macabre and tragic it really is. I also did not expect the wealth of fascinating historical information on the controversy surrounding Poe's death as well as on the early practice of autopsies for medical knowledge.