What secret would you kill to protect?
When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.
Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.
If you’ve been following my blog and reviews, then you know that I am cursed myself by a little something I call Dee-Logic, which dictates I start a series from the very beginning. So why did I now start in the middle, you ask? Well, I will tell you. First of all, because I’d seen this book around so much that I got too curious for my own good. And secondly, I didn’t actually know the previous ones had been translated to English. It’s okay, you may laugh.
This one actually reads pretty well as a stand-alone as you get a lot of information from events that happened in the previous books. Nevertheless, I did buy the other books and will be reading those at some point too. It’ll be another thing I’ve never done before, go backwards in a series. I’m obviously all about broadening my horizons these days.
What I really enjoyed was the fact that the main characters are journalists. It made a nice change from having detectives investigating cases.
Henning Juul’s job as a crime reporter has led to devastating consequences. He lost his son in an arson attack and he and his wife have gone their separate ways. Juul is determined to find out who was responsible.
Meanwhile, Nora is approached by the husband of an old friend. She’s gone missing and the police aren’t much help. Nora sets out to investigate and quickly realises her friend’s husband may not have known her as well as he thought he did.
I didn’t know what to expect but I was hooked from the first page. This is one brilliantly constructed plot with various threads and layers that will keep you gripped right until the end. Thomas Enger has a beautifully descriptive writing style. I’ve never been to Norway but I could visualise it without a problem. The characters are truly realistic and believable, flaws and all. There’s also a reference to events in European history that I knew very little about.
It’s fair to say my first introduction to Scandi-Noir went well and I see another book in this genre in my near future. I should also mention that I don’t normally read translated books as I always have this feeling some things get lost in translation, but that wasn’t the case here at all.
And so now, I shall rather impatiently await book 5. Can’t wait! Although, hopefully I’ll have enough time to read the other ones first.
Cursed by Thomas Enger was published in January 2017.