In spare, incisive prose Fossum turns a conventional police procedural into a sensitive examination of troubled minds and a disturbing look at the way society views them.
Inspector Sejer is hard at work again, investigating the brutal murder of a
woman who lived alone in the middle of the woods. The chief suspect is another
loner, a schizophrenic recently escaped from a mental institution. The only
witness is a twelve-year-old boy, overweight, obsessed with archery, and a
resident at a home for delinquents. When a demented man robs a nearby bank and
accidentally takes the suspect hostage, the three misfits are drawn into an
Shrewdly, patiently, as is his way, Inspector Sejer confronts a case where the strangeness of the crime is matched only by the strangeness of the criminals, and where small-town prejudices warp every piece of information he tries to collect. Fossum once again provides extraordinary insight into marginalized lives and richly evokes the atmosphere she captured so brilliantly in Don't Look Back.
A dazzling ray of light slanted in through the trees.
The shock brought him up short. He wasn't ready. He got out of bed, made his way slowly through the dark house, still half-asleep, and came out onto the front steps. And there he encountered the sun.
It struck his eyes like an awl. He raised his hands to his eyes, but the light kept coming, penetrating cartilage and bone, all the way into the dark of his skull. Everything turned blindingly white inside. His thoughts fled in all directions, shattered into atoms. He wanted to scream, but he never screamed because to do so was beneath his dignity. Instead he clenched his teeth and stood as still as he could on the steps. Something was happening. The skin on his head began to tighten; a tingling sensation that was getting stronger. Trembling, he stood with his hands on his face. He felt his eyes being pulled apart as his nostrils flared, growing as big as keyholes. He whimpered faintly and tried to resist, but he ...
Fossum leverages her series above the pack of conventional police procedurals by, firstly, taking us deep into the minds of her troubled characters, and secondly, by causing us to ask ourselves difficult questions - such as how society as a whole views those who don't fit the norm - without feeling the need to provide us with answers, easy or otherwise. Strongly recommended to all who like their police procedurals on the cerebral side.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Karin Fossum, sometimes dubbed Norway's Queen of Crime, is
the author of many novels, two collections of short
stories, one book of poetry and
one non-crime novel. She made
her literary debut in Norway
with a collection of poetry in
1974. Her crime novels
featuring Inspector Sejer have
been translated into sixteen
Don't Look Back was the
first to be published in the
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