For fans of Paul Auster, Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene comes this bold, prize-winning literary thriller.
A car is found on a deserted beach on the Spanish island of Fuerteventura. On the back seat lies a cardboard box containing the body of a small boy buried in newspaper cuttings. No one knows his name, and there is no trace of a driver. The last thing an ailing tourist resort needs is a murder, and the police are desperate to close the case.
The island is rife with rumours about the reclusive Erhard. Two decades of self-imposed exile from his wife and children have left him alienated and alone, whiling away his days in a drunken haze, driving an old taxi to get by. This unlikeliest of detectives determines to solve the crime himself and he has nothing to lose. But how can one old man, cut off from the modern world, solve a murder whose dangerous web of deceit stretches far beyond the small island? And what if the killer forces Erhard to confront his own long-buried past?
Eighteen minutes to go. On the back wall of the bar the TV's showing images from Times Square, fireworks over Sydney Harbour, Big Ben's long hands approaching XII. The bartender shouts Are you ready for the new year? It sounds so promising, so simple. As if one leaves behind all the old, bringing only the new into the new year. But new means nothing to him. He's not new. He doesn't need new. He doesn't want new. He just wants the old to behave properly. Seventeen minutes. He can still ring the doorbell and wish her a happy new year. Maybe she's wearing a negligee or whatever it's called. She's been sitting there drinking white wine and watching reruns of 7 Vidas, which everyone loves. Her hair is wet, she's taken a cool bath.
A crowd of people moves to exit onto the street. He's nearly pushed off his stool. He pays with a bill and remembers why he doesn't frequent tourist traps: it costs more than twenty euros...
If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of balmy Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, you’re in for a treat. Rydahl’s debut is just that, complete with a complicated, anguished sexagenarian Danish transplant named Erhard Jørgensen, plus a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and a couple of goats named Laurel and Hardy.
(Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
Full Review (678 words).
In Thomas Rydahl's The Hermit, protagonist Erhard Jørgensen displays an obsessive personality. He is mildly obsessed with the finger he is missing on one hand and so obsessed with having ten fingers he resorts to a rather unconventional solution. Additionally, he develops an unhealthy obsession with prolonging a young woman's life. But finally, it is his obsession with solving the murder of an infant that impels him to follow every lead, use every resource, and stick to the goal in order to find and bring the murderer to justice.
Obsession is not to be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder ...
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