The Camera Killer by Thomas Glavinic

The Camera Killer
by Thomas Glavinic
translated by John Brownjohn
Amazon Crossing, 2012
First published in Austria, 2002

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 2 star, Austria, Award winner, Books, Crime fiction, Domestic, Europe, Psychology, Satire, Social comment, Translated | Leave a comment

Season of the Witch by Arni Thorarinsson

Season of the Witch
by Arni Thorarinsson
translated by Anna Yates
Amazon Crossing, 2012
first published in Iceland as Tími nornarinnar (The Witching Hour), 2005
Einar #4

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 3 star, Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Humour, Iceland, Journalism, Mystery, Series, Social comment, Translated | Leave a comment

Sebastian Bergman by Hjorth Rosenfeldt

Sebastian Bergman
by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt
translated by Marlaine Delargy
Trapdoor/Little, Brown 2012
first published in Sweden 2010
Sebastian Bergman #1

Reviewed at Petrona,  August 2012.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Police procedural, Psychology, Series, Social comment, Sweden, Translated | Leave a comment

The Wandering Soul Murders by Gail Bowen

The Wandering Soul Murders
by Gail Bowen
McClelland and Stewart 2004
first published 1992
Joanne Kilbourn #3

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Books, Canada, Crime fiction, Domestic, Mystery, North America, Political, Series, Social comment | Leave a comment

In The Darkness by Karin Fossum

In the Darkness
by Karin Fossum
translated by James Anderson
Harvill Secker/Vintage, 2012
first published in Norway in 1995
Inspector Konrad Sejer #1

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 4 star, Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Norway, Police procedural, Psychology, Series, Social comment, Translated | Leave a comment

Another Time, Another Life by Leif K W Persson

Another Time, Another Life
by Leif G W Persson
translated by Paul Norlen
Doubleday/Transworld 2012
First published in Sweden 2003
Johansson/Jarnebring trilogy #2

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 5 star, Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Police procedural, Political, Series, Social comment, Sweden, Translated | Leave a comment

Sail of Stone by Ake Edwardson

Sail of Stone
by Åke Edwardson
translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles
Simon & Schuster, 2012 (US edition)
First published in Sweden, 2002.
Chief Inspector Erik Winter #6

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 3 star, Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Mystery, Police procedural, Scotland, Series, Social comment, Sweden, Translated | Leave a comment

Killer’s Island by Anna Jansson

Killer’s Island
by Anna Jansson
translated by Enar Henning Koch
Stockholm Text (e-book) 2012
First published as Drömmen Förde dig Vilse (The Dream Led You Astray), 2010
Maria Wern #11

Reviewed at Petrona, August 2012.

Posted in 2.5 stars, Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Mystery, Police procedural, Series, Sweden, Translated | Leave a comment

The Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

Holt, Anne – ‘The Blind Goddess’ (translated by Tom Geddes) 
Trade Paperback: 352 pages (July 2012) Publisher: Atlantic Books ISBN: 1848876076

THE BLIND GODDESS is the first in an eight-book series about Oslo detective inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen, originally published in 1993 and here published in English for the first time. Despite the fact that the book is nearly 20 years old, it remains fresh and engaging; I highly recommend it.

Karen Borg is a rich, successful lawyer who one night stumbles across a body in the woods. She’s nauseated by her find, but calls the police. Some hours later, a young man is found sitting in the middle of the road, covered in blood. Hanne and her colleagues, of course, suspect him of the crime, but he won’t speak, other than to insist that he’s kept in a cell at the police station rather than being transferred to prison. He does, however, ask to see Karen. Despite the fact that she practices commercial law, he wants her to represent him in court.

The book is a traditional procedural account of the investigation that follows, as carried out mainly by three characters: Hanne, Karen and police attorney Håkon Sand. As well as working with Hanne to coordinate the investigation, Håkon knows Karen of old as they were students together: compared with her, he’s diffident and far less successful career-wise. These three characters are all extremely well-depicted, being vivid and convincing on the page. Hanne is something of an enigma at first, but we get to know this confident woman a little better by the end of the book. The story of Karen and Håkon provides a moving background to the case as it gradually plays out.

As well as the good guys, there are of course the bad guys, some of whom are identified to the reader and others are more shadowy. They are all lawyers, bureaucrats or politicians. Through their eyes, we see a little of how the apparently simple crime is in fact the tip of an iceberg. The juxtaposition of the perspectives of the investigation team with that of the criminals provides the book with tension as the police team gradually tries not just to piece together the story (involving some great sequences with Hanne and her friend Billy T from the drug squad), but to create a case that will hold up in court – an apparently formidable task given that concrete evidence is hard to come by and, as the book’s title implies, justice is blind.

As well as being a well-constructed crime story with some memorable characters, other pluses of this novel are the author’s first-hand knowledge of the Norwegian criminal justice system and her refusal to resort to genre stereotypes or plot cliches. I enjoyed THE BLIND GODDESS much more than 1222, the eighth in the series and the only other one to have been translated so far. In the later book, Hanne is a cynical and damaged woman: it will be fascinating to see how the independent, bright character from THE BLIND GODDESS arrives at this point in her life-journey. (Hanne appears as a relatively minor character in some novels in the Vik/Stubo series by the same author, which has been translated into English.)

Review first published at Euro Crime, July 2012.

Posted in 4 star, Books, Crime fiction, Debut, Eurocrime, Europe, Legal, Norway, Police procedural, Political, Series, Social comment, Translated | Leave a comment

A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller

A Killing in the Hills
by Julia Keller
Headline, 2012

Reviewed at Petrona, July 2012.

Posted in 4 star, Books, Crime fiction, Debut, Legal, Mystery, North America, Police procedural, Social comment, USA | Leave a comment