Summary and book reviews of American by Day by Derek Miller

American by Day

by Derek B. Miller

American by Day by Derek B. Miller X
American by Day by Derek B. Miller
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  • Published:
    Apr 2018, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

A gripping and timely novel that follows Sigrid - the dry-witted detective from Derek B. Miller's best-selling debut Norwegian by Night - from Oslo to the United States on a quest to find her missing brother.

SHE KNEW IT WAS A WEIRD PLACE. She'd heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there; to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. AMERICA.

Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life. Working with - or, if necessary, against - the police, she must negotiate the local political minefields and navigate the backwoods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further.

Refreshingly funny, slyly perceptive, American by Day secures Derek B. Miller's place as one of our most imaginative and entertaining novelists.

Excerpt
American by Day

Sigrid Ødegård's hands rest on the unopened blue folder as she stares out the window of her office. The seal of the Politi is embossed on the front in gold, red and black, meaning that someone decided to break out the good stationery for this one. It displays no author or title but she knows what it contains and she is in no rush to read it. Only two short months ago, in June, the entire city of Oslo, Norway, was trimmed with lilacs. Sigrid's father had once told her that the early summer flowers were her mother's favorite, and when the season was at its peak in Hedmark, their farmhouse was filled with them: a bouquet in each bathroom, a vase on the kitchen table. Their errant petals, he said, would drift through the house after her family as they journeyed its hallways stirring them up and scattering them in their wake. This collective movement - this collective memory - however, was thirty-five years ago. Sigrid was five years old when...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In his latest crime novel, Derek B. Miller delivers what could be a mosh pit style collision of cultures as a minuet — Norway versus America, Norwegian law enforcement philosophy versus American police practice, male versus female, white people versus people of color, religiosity versus secularism, and more. Thus, this is not a quick-read whodunnit but is, instead, a dance around the edges of a crime in three-quarter-time, paying due respect to the complexities of convention.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Like his acclaimed debut, Norwegian by Night, Miller's highly enjoyable new book is a solid mystery wrapped up in musings about individuality and freedom, grief and sadness.

Publishers Weekly

Starred and Boxed Review. [An] outstanding crime novel...Leavened throughout with Miller's wry reflections on Norway's 'chronic sense of discontentment,' this incandescent exposé of European and American mores profoundly entertains and provokes disturbing questions about personal and societal values.

Booklist

Starred Review. Miller offers a slightly different spin on Scandinavia-set crime fiction, wrapping a thriller plot around the character-driven substance of literary fiction to produce a hybrid that is compelling from any angle.

Author Blurb Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls and Everybody's Fool
Sure Derek Miller's novels are smart and full of heart and savvy and hilarious, but even more than all of this, he's fun. He's as dedicated as any writer I know to the proposition that readers should enjoy themselves, should delight in the experience of life and language. If our hearts get broken along the way, so much the better.

Reader Reviews

lani

a quirky erudite gem
A piercing commentary on America seen through Norwegian eyes makes this novel one of the best of the year. I found myself relishing this book, rolling each word over my tongue, tasting it, digesting it and oh so appreciating it. Take one smart ass ...   Read More

Cloggie Downunder

funny, moving and thought-provoking novel is a brilliant sequel to Norwegian By Night.
American By Day is the second novel by award winning American-born author Derek B. Miller which features Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård of the Oslo Politi. Sigrid first appears in Miller’s debut novel, Norwegian By Night (another excellent read!). ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

The Unarmed Police Force of Norway

Norwegian Police Officer in 2011In Derek B Miller's American by Day, which takes place in 2008, Oslo Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård doesn't carry a gun. She is a member of Norway's unarmed police force, one of nineteen countries worldwide with cops who don't carry guns. This is despite the fact that Norway falls eleventh among first world countries of per capita gun ownership; there are 30 registered per one hundred citizens. The United States is number one with a reported 32-42% of the population owning guns.

Even after the 2011 mass shooting attack on a youth camp by right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, Norwegian police officers remained unarmed. They carry weapons locked in their cars but not on their persons. This briefly ...

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