Four stars (of five)
Another English translation of a Horst novel leaves the reader eager to dive into the action. After being ordered to take some time away from the job, Inspector William Wisting makes use of a recently inherited cottage in the Norwegian countryside. The off-season is just beginning, sure to leave him much peace and quiet. Ove Bakkerud likely had the same hopes, which are shattered when he discovers his own cottage has been ransacked and a dead body lies next door. Wisting begins his investigation back in Oslo, while his daughter, Line, chooses to use his cottage to regroup after some personal issues. Wisting’s investigation turns up more bodies in the area and no clear motive. Meanwhile, birds begin turning up dead, literally falling from the sky, and Wisting must ponder if there is a connection. Line’s issues might be key to a larger crime taking place, which leads Wisting to Lithuania to solve his case before Line’s personal life collapses in on her. A wonderful crime that sheds a little more light on Wisting’s backstory and the importance that Line plays therein. Wonderful addition to any mystery reader’s ‘newly discovered’ list.
Horst has made his mark in Scandinavian crime writer circles, but is only recently emerging on the English-language scene. This is unfortunate, as the very brief summary offered up ahead of the novel tries to put the characters in their place and catch readers up. There is surely much development to be had and Horst has a rich ability to offer insights and commentary missing from much of the English-language writers of the day. I am eager to read more and praise the well-founded work that Horst puts on offer.
Kudos, Mr. Horst for this wonderfully crafted novel. I wish someone would purchase the rights to all the novels and churn out English versions.