In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1) - Karin Fossum

Why did I read it? Because it was by an author listed in the Scandinavian and Nordic Crime Fiction group at another booksite, and it was on offer from Amazon's ARC programme.


What's it a about? This is the first Inspector Sejer book by Karin Fossum set in a small town in Norway.  Eva and her daughter, Emma, are out walking along the river when a body appears in the water. Eva appears to recognise the shoes on the body. She tells her daughter she will ring the police and drags her to a telephone box, but instead Eva calls another number before whisking Emma to McDonalds. The body turns out to be that of a man who has been missing for months, having disappeared around the same time a prostitute died, a crime which remains unsolved. Inspector Konrad Sejer investigates both, as it's unusual for two murders to occur in the town.


What did I enjoy? The book, actually the story is tightly edited. There is no excessive anything; and it's sharp with a mystery so brilliantly conceived, I truly struggled to see the connections until the reveal. I particularly enjoyed Karin Fossum's organisation of the story: the first part set in the present, then it travels back in time with a whole section revealing how events unfolded in one long narrative, before coming back to the present and tidying up. It was a great format, though it may not sound like it from my description. It really made the story flow, and provided a real sense of suspense as I struggled to see the connection between events past and present.


Descriptions seem minimal, but everything that is needed for a good story is there. There is an absence of long, gory details about bodies, or murders, no autopsy, or long forensic scenes, which I found refreshing. The fact it is translated into English doesn't seem to have impacted on the style, or format at all.  Only the main characters are fully formed, the ones on the periphery remain a little blurred. I imagine these characters will be developed further as the series continues.


What didn't I like? Strange, but I can't think of anything I disliked about "In the Darkness".


Would I recommend it? Yes. I'll definitely be reading more of Karin Fossum's book, especially in the Inspector Konrad Sejer series. I may have issued four stars, but it's closer to five.


Why not five stars then? I didn't enjoy ""In the Darkness" as much as I would have expected, given how well it's written and presented, but that it my own fault; I read "In the Darkness" over a long time period in between reading another crime fiction book. I feel had I sat down and read it over a shorter period, i.e. one sitting, and without another mystery to distract me, I would have appreciated it much more.