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Mary H. (Phoenix, AZ)
Current day monsters still exist.
This book is a good mystery in all respects. There is a lot going on trying to juggle two timelines, many characters and some gruesome situations, but as the story progresses you really want to read through to the end. I enjoyed the way the author tied two similar stories together and chose personalities of very different detectives to create a solid story.
Peggy K. (Long Beach, CA)
Mystery Within a Mystery
This book would be perfect for a book club that likes mysteries. There are more than enough details to discuss concerning each character and the 'whodonnit?' and the why?
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.
Diane P. (Deer Park, WA)
Where Monsters Dwell
Where Monsters Dwell is a strong debut novel from Norwegian author Jorgen Brekke.
Diana C. (Delray Beach, FL)
Norwegian Murder Mystery
Alternating between the sixteenth and present day. Berrke weaves a story of the practice of medieval anatomy with the present day fascination with a rare book The Book of Johannes, which appears to be written by a medieval serial murder.
In the present two murders occurs, one at the Edgar Allan Poe museum and one at a famous library in Trondheim, Norway. A connection between the two murders is made and American homicide detective Felicia Stone travels to Trondheim where she meets police inspector Odd Singsaker.
Together, Stone and Singsaker follow the clues to find a serial murderer, who is using The Book of Johannes as a guide murder his victims.
What I liked about this book was everyone is a suspect. Brekke presents well defined characters and a gripping but rather slow paced tale of both serial murderers. For me there was a sense of suspense that kept me reading. While the book is gruesome, I found the characters to be more upbeat than in some the other Scandinavian mysteries. If you enjoyed this book you would probably like James Thompson's Inspector Kari Vaara series.
Two murders, one in Virginia and one in Norway, are seemingly connected and two detectives embark on the quest to solve the crimes complete with flashbacks to the 16th century. While I am not a fan of present day murder mysteries, the addition of the 16th century flashbacks intrigued me. The story moves at a good pace keeping the reader interested, but as with some books translated from the author's original language, the dialogue is stilted and forced in parts. I imagine this book will do well on general best-seller lists.
Marcy C. (Minneapolis, MN)
Where Monsters Dwell
I was unimpressed by this book. I found it to be far more macabre than suspenseful. Much of the dialogue was very unnatural and the language was very redundant - words like, laugh or laughter must have been used well over 500 times and the subject was not in the least funny. I didn't care for the characters, especially the females, Felicia, and Silvia - they were not believable characters. And the crime committed against the murder's wife didn't seem possible to execute (literally) based on the logistics of the setting where the crime was committed. Although I thought this was a very mediocre book, it might appeal to those who enjoyed "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - it is not as compelling of a story but it would may be of interest to those who like suspenseful novels. I would not recommend it for my book club to read - it was not that thought provoking.
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.
Lisa R. (Salem, OR)
Not for the Faint of Heart
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.
This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. It includes graphic violence, but the mystery was good, and the story kept me attentive. I did have an idea who the killer was, but the author did a good job of not really making it apparent, and in tying the pieces all together for the finish. I would recommend it to hardcore police procedural fans. There were definitely some odd characters in this book. I'm not sure I've read a book in my recent memory where there were some many flawed characters, or those with physical problems. This story felt very true to life in it's setting, although I personally felt that the romantic aspect of the story was a little overdone and unrealistic. It didn't really add to the story itself in my opinion.
Nona F. (Evanston, IL)
I really wanted to like this more
I really was eager to read this book because the premise of related historical/contemporary crimes is one of my favorite narrative devices, and to have it revolve around a book was like hot fudge on top of a sundae. Things seemed very promising since the book starts with one of the most exciting openings that I have read in the recent past. However, the narrative is extremely choppy with two contemporary story lines as well as the historical one, and there are time shifts within each of the 3 narrative lines. The pacing of the book is also uneven, slow and drawn-out in the first 200 pages or so, then rushed in the last parts. Characters are presented rather than developed; the most interesting character is peripheral to the narrative. Some good ideas, but clearly a first time author in terms of execution.