Where Monsters Dwell: Book summary and reviews of Where Monsters Dwell by Jørgen Brekke

Where Monsters Dwell

By Jørgen Brekke

Where Monsters Dwell
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2014,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

An international bestseller - A brutal murder in Norway, a murder in Virginia - both connected to sixteenth century palimpsest of a serial murderer's confession.

A murder at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, bears a close resemblance to one in Trondheim, Norway. The corpse of the museum curator in Virginia is found flayed in his office by the cleaning staff; the corpse of an archivist at the library in Norway, is found inside a locked vault used to store delicate and rare books. Richmond homicide detective Felicia Stone and Trondheim police inspector Odd Singsaker find themselves working on similar murder cases, committed the same way, but half a world away. And both murders are somehow connected to a sixteenth century palimpsest book - The Book of John - which appears to be a journal of a serial murderer back in 1529 Norway, a book bound in human skin.

A runaway bestseller in Norway, Where Monsters Dwell has since sold to over fourteen countries. Where Monsters Dwell is the most awaited English language crime fiction debut in years.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Almost impossible to put down… Everyone should run and buy this!" – Kulturspeilet

"Here Jørgen Brekke largely created the perfect novel." - Gjengangeren (Norwegian newspaper)

"Crime fans may enjoy Brekke's in-jokes, such as naming minor characters after real-life serial killers, but they will quickly tire of the lagging plot." - Publishers Weekly

"With grisly murders investigated by likable detectives, this mystery is perfectly grim without being bleak and is a welcome addition to the popular "Nordic noir" sub genre." - Library Journal

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by 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.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by 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.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by 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.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by 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.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by 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".

Rated 1 of 5 of 5 by 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.

...18 more reader reviews

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Jorgen Brekke was born in Horten, Norway. After completing his studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he settled in Trondheim, where he currently lives with his wife and three children. Brekke taught education for some years, but recently has worked as a freelance journalist. His debut novel, Where Monsters Dwell has been sold to fifteen countries.

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