He Who Fears the Wolf, Karin Fossum
Translator: Felicity David
Series: Konrad Sejer, 3
People say that when Errki Johrma is around bad things tend to happen. He’s like a bad omen. No one wants to be around him and people keep their distance. Twenty-six year old Errki was involuntarily committed to an asylum. When the story opens, he escapes out of the asylum through a window and disappears into the nearby woods. Soon after, a local woman, in her 70′s is found dead on the footsteps of her house. She was brutally murdered. A kid with his bow & arrow runs and tells the sheriff that he saw Errki in the woods of the dead woman’s house. Inspector Konrad Sejer gets called in to investigate.
Meanwhile the story takes a surprising turn when Sejer is walking to work one morning and senses trouble before it starts. A bank is robbed and the robber takes off with the money and takes a hostage. Konrad suspects the hostage to be a woman working in cahoots with the suspect. The local sheriff tells Konrad that the robber will be in for a rude awakening when he learns who he has with him. I guess you can say that the suspense part of the story is what will happen with the two unlikeliest pair– a murder suspect and a bank robber– trying to stay one step ahead of the law. Continue reading
Blessed Are the Dead (2012)
Series: Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper, #3
Category: Police Procedural
Setting: South Africa (Apartheid)
A beautiful young Zulu girl is found murdered in the foothills of the Drakenberg Mountains. The daughter of a Zulu Chief, Amahle Matebula was a dreamer. She worked as a servant for an aristocratic family but was secretly making plans to runaway to a better life. Amahle was loved, protected and blessed. To quote from the book:
Amahle had been blessed but with every blessing came a shadow.
Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and his partner, Zulu native police Constable Samuel Shabalala leave Durban to go to the white farming community of Roselet to investigate Amahle Matebula’s death. What they find when they arrive is a white station commander unconcerned about a homicide in his territory. Throughout the book Emmanuel and Shabalala search for the truth behind Amahle’s death and find all kinds of obstacles before them in a country divided by Apartheid.
Death Without Company (2006)
Series: Walt Longmire, #2
Category: Police Procedural
“[A] life without friends means death without company.” -Basquos proverb
Sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself looking into the death of an elderly Basque woman living in a nursing home in Absaroka County. His former boss and mentor, Lucian Connally, tells Walt that Mari Baroja was murdered and asks him to bring in the medical examiner. Lucian once knew Mari and the two have a history that spans about five decades. Lucian describes Mari as being very beautiful when he first met her. The family –her uncles –didn’t approve of their relationship. There’s some sordid stuff that goes on. Into the investigation it’s found that Mari’s relationship with her children was strained. She also had a life filled with domestic abuse. The medical examiner eventually signs off on her death certificate, saying it is indeed a homicide. The motive is not very inventive and has to do with the greenback and the methane boom.
I lost track of Dianne Emley. I read her debut novel, The First Cut(2006) several years ago and thought it was very good but violent but not gratuitously so. Still reads well today after a quick re-read. Engaging voice with an immediate hook into the story about a vice cop lured to the dark side and then goes missing.
This is a police procedural set in California that follows Pasadena PD officer, Nanette Vining. She returns to work after a year’s absence. She survived a brutal assault on the job where she flat-lined for two minutes and then “jolted awake.” The experience left her with panic attacks and gave her the added, unwelcome psychic ability to hear the dead speak. The author uses those scenes sparingly and managed to make it creepy. Continue reading
I am on an Åsa Larsson reading spree. Her novels, described by others, are said to be more traditional crime thrillers than police procedurals and how she structures her story, told in third person narrative, works very well for me. Some of the themes in her novels have been interesting too. The novels are all set in northern Sweden, 150Km north of the Arctic Circle. So far these are entertaining reads with two strong female protagonists.
Having enjoyed THE BLOOD SPLIT so much, I thought I would dive right in to THE BLACK PATH, the third book in the series. Rebecka Martinsson has quit her job as a junior attorney at Sweden’s top business law firm, Meijer & Ditzinger in Stockholm and has taken up residence in her childhood home in the mining community of Kiruna after so many years in exile. After the devastating events in the last book that put her in mortal danger, she does a stint in a psychiatric clinic and is prescribed anti-depressants. Rebecka, over time, in the book it says 18 months, recovers and takes up residence in her grandmother’s home in Kurravaara.
The weather is still blistering cold and the wind is up. A fisherman finds a woman’s body in an ark a few miles outside the tourist station of Abisko. Detectives Anna-Maria Mella and Sven-Erik Stålnacke investigate the case with the help of the newly appointed prosecutor, Rebecka Martinsson. She was snapped up by the chief prosecutor in Kiruna because he thinks she would be good at the job (plus she’s a workaholic) and she is.
The victim is a woman in her forties who held a important position in Kallis Mining, a company that is a major player in the mining industry. She was an information specialist. There are very few clues in Inna Wattrang’s death. The victim’s brother, Diddi Wattrang arrives to identify her body along with their boss, Mauri Kallis, an overseas investor who heads Kallis Mining. He brings along his security team. The two men are upset at Inna Wattrang’s death but manage to remain guarded and tight lipped to the police. Neither of them claim to know Inna Wattrang’s whereabouts before her death and offer the police very little in helping them track down this opportunistic killer. Continue reading