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
    Genre: Thrillers

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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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Reader Reviews

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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.

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".

Mary G. (Purcellville, VA)

Macabre page-turner
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.

Peggy K. (Long Beach, CA)

Mystery Within a Mystery
This was one of the most unsusual mysteries I've read this year. First off you have two murders seemingly committed by the same person in two different countries related to another murder committed hundreds of years ago. Then you have a cast of characters who aren't your ordinary sort of folk. One might say they are all rather odd ones but fascinating to study. Woven throughout all of this is the life and books of Edgar Allan Poe so you have a little bit of something for everyone. All in all it makes for a great read for ages 17 and up and for anyone who loves a true mystery. Book clubs should love it as it will generate discussions about characterization, bookmaking and the life and times of Edgar Allan Poe.

Cheryl K. (East Aurora, NY)

Where Monsters Dwell
Quoting directly from this novel, "Many people think that the point is to reveal the murderer, while what's actually important is to reveal the author." Having read this wonderful mystery from Jorgen Brekke, my enjoyment of Scandinavian crime fiction has increased.
Although moving between the 16th and 21st centuries, and from Norway to Richmond, Va this reader enjoyed a suspense-filled journey.
The characters, with all their flaws, were interesting and driven. I was riveted to the story and spent well into the night trying to determine the identity of the serial killer. It perhaps was a bit rushed at the end, but overall was a great read and I look forward to the next Brekke mystery.

Mary R. (San Jose, CA)

Monsters Dwell Everywhere
When you read 'Where Monsters Dwell' plan on blocking out sufficient time to read it in one sitting before you even start it. It is more edgy than Camilla Lackberg's mysteries, and as smart and intellectual as Stieg Larssen's books, but easier to follow. The literature angle is inspired and fascinating in itself, and the ending is incredible – it will have you wondering about how we see ancient artifacts and their meanings forever. And, don't get complacent; the ending is not when you think it is.

...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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