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I plan on giving all of my Karin Fossum reviews the same statement because I don t even want the hint of a spoiler on this woman s fantastic work Fossum s writing gave me my love of Scandanavian mystery writers and I seek those writings out Hands down,though, Fossum s work is the best nordic noir I have come across so far. I won t summarize the story, that s already been done I enjoyed this book, although not as much as I wanted to Since Stieg Larsson, everyone is looking for the next Scandinavian powerhouse This author is one that has been touted as such, but I have to disagree The story was compelling, a girl is murdered who seems like the least likely to suffer such a fate and very few clues are found Still, rather early on I figured out who the murder was The red herrings were so obvious I never once considered them I also found the writing itself to be less than hoped for There were many indications that a good editor was needed The point of view changes abruptly with no warning One paragraph it is from the perspective of one character and the next with no section break it is another character s perspective What makes this confusing is that the characters are usually the same sex, so there is no switch in pronoun Additionally, a name is rarely used You figure it out from context which can take a few sentences as you become confused I can see this being used intentionally for effect, but that isn t the case here Many times, the dialogue from separate characters are contained in the same sentence or paragraph, a few times even within the same quotation marks Again, this is done without warning There are no phrases such as he replied, he answered, he retorted Take this example I don t like it that you re all alone, she said I have Kollberg, you know The portion after she said is from another character in response to the first quoted portion The location occasionally changes abruptly as well Characters go from an interview room to the street with no indication until several sentences later when something like stopped the car is used All in all, I enjoyed the characters, who were well rounded and real The mystery wasn t mysterious, but I liked watching the characters figure it out The writing problems never confused me for long, but did bump me out of the narrative An easy weekend read. I recently read my first Karin Fossum novel, the eighth of the series, which introduced me to Inspector Konrad Sejer and his junior sidekick, Jacob Skarre At The Water s Edge impressed me, largely because of its striking difference to the majority of crime fiction and indeed Nordic noir Emotionally resonant, Fossum s novels not only deal with the whodunnit element but concentrates on the whydunnit, the motives behind each and every crime, the emotions that drive them and the guilt and regrets that remain.Due to being translated out of order this was the first Karin Fossum novel to be published in the UK but in actual fact it is the second novel in the Inspector Sejer series The serious and determined Inspector Konrad Sejer reminds me of J rn Lier Horst s William Wisting easy to work alongside, encouraging to colleagues and possessing excellent interpersonal skills which mean he is able to differentiate his approach to the characters he is interviewing In common with Wisting, Sejer is a father to daughter, Ingrid and a grandfather and as a widowed man his settled and pleasantly mundane home life is pivotal to his ordered way of thinking Sejer s enigmatic persona helps to squeeze the often unexpected details from those he speaks with and his unwavering belief that understanding the victim can only serve to enlighten his pursuit of the perpetrator is central to his character.Karin Fossum takes readers to the small community of Krystallen where neighbours know each other and a pleasant sense of harmony pervades and introduces Irene Album, mother of six year old Ragnhild, who was seen leaving her friends home but is now missing Readers see Ragnhild accompanying Raymond L ke, a Down s syndrome man on a short drive and from there many will feel they can write the script for Don t Look Back The readers deep seated prejudices race to the seemingly obvious conclusion, only for Ragnhild to return home safe and sound and with residents telling Sejer that anything untoward would never have crossed Raymond s mind Just as Sejer is thinking of taking a few days off, a call from Ragnhild s mother the following day reveals that the little village could be holding other secrets Ragnhild told her mother that when L ke was walking her home they saw the dead body of a young woman laid on the banks of Serpent Lake Found amid a remarkably non violent crime scene they discover her body covered by a blue anorak and she is swiftly identified as popular local student, Annie Holland Struck by the distinct lack of disorder at the crime scene, Konrad Sejer is at first unable to decide what has become of this girl, a suicide or cry for help or a cold blooded murder or something in between When it becomes clear that Annie drowned and the motive wasn t sexual the waters muddy further and Sejer thinks that the perpetrator is trying to mislead him into assuming their was a sexual element to the crime.The first tentative steps in the investigative process of tracking down little Ragnhild Album are a clever way of introducing readers to the neighbourhood with an irrevocable shattering of the peace Sejer s low key style slowly pays dividends as the seemingly close knit community gradually learns that perhaps all of the neighbours held their own secrets very close to their chests Pretty soon readers will realise that appearances are deceptive and that many of the seemingly respectable families in the community have kept their own counsel As it emerges that S lvi is in fact the half sister of Annie, that Annie s handball coach has a previous conviction for rape and her boyfriend, Halvor, has kept quiet about his own troubled history, further questions are raised, until Sejer and Skarre pin down exactly what happened to cause an outgoing and cheerful Annie to withdraw into her shell in the months preceding her demise.The majority of the action takes the form of continued interviewing of those in the community, and Fossum allows her readers to see and hear her detectives and the community at close quarters Sejer is a master at reading people and his questions lead into different areas and often reveal something enlightening His interviewing style owes to unplanned casual conversation than structured questions as people open up to him Resilient and doggishly determined, the key for solving any crime is straightforward for Sejer, specifically a thorough understanding of the victim and the motives for a particular crime I appreciated the way Karin Fossum lets her readers see the same facts as her investigators and make their own judgements rather than proscribe to her readers how she expects them to feel The resounding feeling that has remained with me after now reading two of her novels is one of sympathy for all parties and a sadness for what a society has lost, rather than an overwhelming loathing of the perpetrator.I was gratified that in what formed the introduction to the English readership, Fossum supplies details about both Sejer and Skarre and I felt a growing familiarity and sympathy for both men, from Sejer s fondness for his dog, Kollberg to the multitude of jobs that Skarre has previously turned his hand to, including taxi driving is Oslo However the most endearing discovery was undoubtedly that widowed Konrad Sejer s wedding band is made from the welding together of his and his wife s original rings Sejer is a man who appreciates order and routine and whilst it is common to see antipathy for any form of bureaucracy in crime fiction, he appreciates the value of a different set of eyes being able to go back to police matters with an often different interpretation Karin Fossum also provides a perspective on the case of Annie Holland, sketchily quantifying the crime statistics of Norway and the investigative capacity of the small community of Krystallen.Some readers may find the head hopping and swiftly changing perspectives disconcerting, as Fossum moves between the minds of her characters at will, however I found her transitions very intuitive Do beware though, within chapters and even paragraphs, the characters point of view that readers are privy to can differ This makes it sound like a complex read instead of the sheer pleasure it was for the most part it seamlessly occurs and it only strikes the reader afterwards Don t Look Back was an utterly fascinating view of the tranquility and calm within a small and friendly neighbourhood being shattered and the arduous task of making inroads could only have been achieved by somebody as tenacious as Inspector Konrad Sejer. I bought this book on sale for the Kindle back when it seemed like Norwegian crime fiction was a thing Is it still a thing I don t know, but it was a thing, right Anyway, I thought it was a thing and so I bought this and in retrospect a silly number of other Karin Fossum books when they were on sale, and I remember thinking, Boy, I hope these don t suck, as I clicked through and kept buying Click Click Click.I m reading 52 books in 52 weeks for 2013, and I ve weighted my reading list toward crime fiction and so I thought this would be a good one to work in early on because if I liked Karin Fossum s books, I d have something to look forward to when the next one came up on the list a month or so later Alternately, if I didn t like, I d have time to swap out the other books for something I would like.Fortunately, I quite liked Don t Look Back In fact, I can probably say I loved it I mean, was I eager to dive back into the book whenever I had a free moment I was Did I feel affection toward the main characters I did Did I get that delicious aching tension that happens approximately two thirds of the way through a book you re really enjoying, where you re torn between ripping through the remaining pages because you really want to know what will happen and lingering on each page so you can stay in the world of the book I got that So, yeah, let s say I loved Don t Look Back and give me another month or three to figure out if I m not just flush with the pleasure of reading a very good book or not.The review Did you want the review I guess that s what we do here, right Give you the synopsis, the opinion, the telling detail, the almost too apt closing line Well, even if so, I m going to skip the synopsis and you ll thank me for it later Let s just say a police detective and his partner are investigating a crime in a small Norwegian town Everyone in the town knows one another, has opinions about one another in their own semi taciturn way As the pair investigate, the omniscient narrator moves easily from the inside of one person s head to the next with a stylistic confidence I found exciting Fossum has than one chapter start inside the head of a villager and then, as soon as the policemen are on the scene, she leaps right inside their POV But once in their heads, Fossum hangs about not to plant clues for the reader but to illuminate the delicate processes of grief, loss, and shock In a way, the book is about the reverberations left in the wake of death A glib elevator pitch for Don t Look Back might be it s like if Ross MacDonald had written a novelization of the Twin Peaks pilot Even if that allows you to guess at the contours of the plot and perhaps a certain amount of the theme, it doesn t give Fossum her due Her work seduces you with its understated empathy for every character in the book Even as much as I came to enjoy the interplay between kindly Inspector Sejer and his young assistant Skarre, you feel Fossum has no affection for them than she does for all the other characters That seems to me to be a rarity in the field of mystery fiction, where the investigator has an MVP status among the writer or if it becomes a series the readers, or both Although such maturity and poise is to be appreciated in its own right, it actually helps heighten the themes of Don t Look Back because no character is too slight, no death goes unfelteven as its aftershocks are impossible to predict Don t Look Back is an enjoyable, touching, thoughtful read I can t wait to get to the next. A five year old girl goes missing in a small Norwegian village and witnesses report seeing her get into acar with Raymond, a local recluse who has Down s syndrome Just when the police are about to publicly concede that she has been murdered, she walks out of the woods into her back yard She is unharmed.Later that same day, her mother calls the police with a strange story Little Ragnhild says that when she and Raymond were up at a mountaintop lake near the village, they saw a womanwith nothing on but a windbreaker, slee ping in the water near shore The police are soon baf fled and flummoxed Inspector Sejer persists, though and by huge amounts of slog work and even inordinately detetermined patience, they solve the case DON T LOOK BACK introduced Norwegian Inspector Konrad Sejer to America He s tough and serious, but fair and, when you get to know him, possessed of a great store of good humor Along with him, we meet a whole imagined world of fellow officers, ordinary citizens and criminals Fossum writes carefully crafted police procedural myste ries in which the tension ratchets up step by step, ever so slowly, ever so methodically, until it bursts and the case is closed While she is equally adept and brilliant at writing fast paced action scenes that have your adre naline pumping overtime, they are not what Fossum relies on to carry her story along By the time you finish, it feels as if you have crawled inside the heads of every single character in the book Much of what you found is disquieting some of that, deeply disturbing, but you understand it Fossum s books could be called psycholo gical thrillers like those of P.D James and Ruth Ren dell In contrast with Ms James,though, I think that she writes a leaner, sparer, streamlined story If James s books are street legal corvettes, then Fossum s are highly customized racing motorcycles And in con trast with Ms Rendell s, non Inspector Wexford books, Ms Fosum s don t completely freak me out with the minutely detailed depravity of their villains. Second in the Sejer series, this book was better than the first Sejer and Skarre were front and center in this book, and as they became closer friends, I got to know them better The plot involved the murder of a young girl, and the various people who might have done it I had suspicions that kept changing and had lingering doubts almost to the end Halvor and Raymond were two likable characters that I hope to see of in future books, but that remains to be seen. |Free E-pub ☪ Se Deg Ikke Tilbake! ⚇ Meet Inspector Sejer Smart And Enigmatic, Tough But Fair At The Foot Of The Imposing Kollen Mountain Lies A Small, Idyllic Village, Where Neighbors Know Neighbors And Children Play Happily In The Streets But When The Body Of A Teenage Girl Is Found By The Lake At The Mountaintop, The Town S Tranquility Is Shattered Forever Annie Was Strong, Intelligent, And Loved By Everyone What Went So Terribly Wrong Doggedly, Yet Subtly, Inspector Sejer Uncovers Layer Upon Layer Of Distrust And Lies Beneath The Town S Seemingly Perfect Fa AdeCritically Acclaimed Across Europe, Karin Fossum S Inspector Sejer Novels Are Masterfully Constructed, Psychologically Convincing, And Compulsively Readable They Evoke A World That Is At Once Profoundly Disturbing And Terrifyingly Familiar DON T LOOK BACK, by Karen Fossum, is a really good book, and it is made even better by the journey it took for me to read it I picked up her novel BAD INTENTIONS It s the 7th in the Konrad Sejer detective series I went back and found this book, the first in the series, to get a little back ground, and found myself captured by the riveting mystery of a murdered teenager This novel was written in 1995, translated to English some 9 years later, and only now have I heard about it There are so many great authors out there that I ll never hear about, so I m glad when I find one.This is tight story Nothing is wasted While I got confused at times over locations and the multiple Norweigian names, I breezed through each chapter as Det Sejer workes his way through the mystery of who killed Annie Holland Annie was an athletic 15 year old who loved baby sitting the kids in her neighborhood When her murdered body is found by a lake by a mentally challenged man, Sejer and partner Jacob Skarre are faced with making sense of many suspects in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone, and many secrets are hidden behind the veneer of respectability.This novel is easy to read, and has little bad language, violence, sex or intense scenes Still, it is at times creepy, and the haunting conclusion will stay with you for awhile.This 16 year old novel by a Norweigian author is a must read I m so glad I found this title and can t wait to read the rest of Fossum s works. I ve read good things about Karin Fossum s novels I m happy to say I concur with the many positives I came to expect.The characters are a diverse group, but each one comes to life in a realistic way The story s momentum is steady and forward moving the suspense likewise All in all, a great reading experience. There is a certain joy experienced by a mystery lover who has just discovered a brand new to her series that she knows she will become a favorite There is a certain glee born of finding that the series already has about eight books to it, and that there will be no waiting one to two years for the next installmentwhen she can devour them at her leisure Mwahahahahaha I loved this book The head detective is a gentle man, yet passionate about police work There were moments of sheer poetry in this book and curious little detours that added texture and provided a sense of changing pace that I found delectable.I also have a thing for Scandinavia, Norway in particular, and enjoyed the cultural feel of the small town characters as described by the author.How to know if you ll like it too I m a huge fan of PBS Mystery, Inspector Morse s replacement and the new protegedang it, what are their names Ah, Inspector Lewis and DS Hathaway I like them better than Morse actually Lewis Predecessor But I digress I also enjoyed Wallander played by Keneth Branagh but couldn t get into Aurelio Zen.My point is, this series by Karin Fossum stars Inspector Sejer, widowed, introspective and committed He adopts the young officer Skarre, also multilayered, as a protege and finds a friend in spite of himself.This series is made to be developed into a series for PBS, and as such is sort of a cross between Wallander and Lewis.Enjoy