Translated by Megan Turney
His colleague is dead. His daughter may be next. It’s time to do things his way…
Two of Nordic Noir’s most accomplished writers return with the explosive, staggeringly complex and unbearably emotive third instalment in the international bestselling Blix & Ramm series.
When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix, before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the
killer’s next victim.
Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.
As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust, and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…
I’m not going to repeat how much I love Scandi Noir or why. You can look back at my previous posts. I particularly like Nordic Noir, but as I couldn’t explain my reasons, I thought I’d look it up and this is what I found:
- Brutal crimes, often in quiet and/or safe communities. Tick
- A bleak setting, whether on city streets or a remote fjord. Tick
- A tortured protagonist, typically a detective with a mysterious or painful past. Tick
- A strong plot, with multiple complex threads and a few twists. Definitely tick
Unhinged has all this plus Police Officer Alexander Blix’s partner-in-crime (solving that is) Emma Ramm. But she’s not another jaded copper with a painful past – she’s a journalist with a painful past, or more precisely a crime blogger. Bit like being a book blogger only I don’t actually walk in on crime scenes and put my life at risk.
This is such an exciting story, a ‘strong plot with multiple complex threads and a few twists’. Well more than a few in fact. I did get a bit lost at times but not because I haven’t read the other books in the series, but because we, the readers, are trying to work out the links in the same way that Blix and Emma are. We can only follow them and try to guess (which to be fair I did in spite of the red herrings).
The book begins with the brutal murder of police investigator Sofia Kovic in the flat she shared with Blix’s daughter Iselin. Who killed her, attacked Iselin, and then managed to get away?
In the first half of the book Blix and Emma are being interrogated about the sequence of events that led up to the shooting and killing of a man by Blix. Each time they begin to tell their side of the story, we jump back in time to what actually happened. It’s a very interesting plot device and one which I enjoyed reading.
So was Kovic close to uncovering a connection between several Oslo cases? Is that why she was killed and who else might be implicated? Just before her murder she had attempted to contact Blix, before involving anyone else in the department. So many threads, so many possibilities. A brilliantly exciting novel.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours
About the Author
Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is a journalist-turned-author whose trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller, closely followed by Smoke Screen, and the series has sold more than two million copies worldwide, outselling Jo Nesbo in their native Norway, Sweden and Germany.
Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.