Medusa – Torkil Damhaug

Sometimes as a reader I find that my main problem is, when I find an author I enjoy, that they can’t write them as fast as I can read them. Now, I could just say that authors should write faster (and I know quite a few George R R Martin fans who’d agree with me there) but I know it is not as simple as that. I have author friends and I know how hard they have to work to get a book written – research, writing, editing, more editing, a brief period of despair filled with cake and/or alcohol and, finally, a book. Which then leads to more work promoting said book. Honestly, just reading and selling them is so much easier….Sometimes when you discover a new author you find them fully fledged, with a nice big backlist to keep you going, but on other occasions you stumble over a writer at the start of a series and realise you’ll have to wait for ages until their next book.This is the case with Torkil Damhaug. medusaMedusa came out at the end of October and the next in the Oslo Crime Files series isn’t due until May next year. Which is a long time to wait when there are so many other books to snare your attention. On the evidence of this first novel, however, it could very well be worth the wait – particularly for fans of Jo Nesbo, Camilla Lackberg and other Nordic Noir authors.

The plot is fairly typical of the genre – murders of a fairly grisly nature, a police force with enough quirks and issues to keep an entire conference of psychiatrists busy and a central character who keeps you guessing. The murders appear to involve bear attacks but occur in relatively urban areas with no bears; the police are not characters you warm to and their main role seems to be to hound the central character, their main suspect, Doctor Axel Glenne. Throughout you are teased by Axel’s references to his disturbed twin brother Brede and yet, like the police, you start to worry about the fact that this elusive brother hasn’t been in touch for years. So long, in fact, that Axel’s wife and children have never met him. What I enjoyed most about the book was the way you are drawn to sympathise with the central character but find, as you progress through the book, that you, like the police, begin to suspect that things are not as they seem in the Glenne family.

Worth a read then. And, hopefully, like me you will be guessing who the killer is most of the way through (and be wrong for a large amount of the time). And, if you are a fan of dark Scandinavian crime fiction it is always worth adding another author to the list to fill in those pesky gaps in the publishing schedules…

Jane

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