Book review: Another thriller by Horst
Christine Foster Meloni
Jorn Lier Horst has written nine crime novels in his very successful Inspector William Wisting series. Closed for Winter is the seventh novel in this series and the second to be translated into English. (Dregs, the sixth in the series, was the first to be translated.)
Horst worked as a policeman in Larvik for almost twenty years and, therefore, his novels are realistic and strong on investigative methodology. Wisting follows in Horst’s footsteps as he too works for the Larvik Police Department.
An important characteristic of the Scandinavian crime novel is that the reader sees the protagonist as a multi-faceted individual.
We get to know Wisting as a real person on and off the job. He was married but is now a widower, still grieving for his lost wife. In this novel he does have a lady friend named Suzanne who plays an important role when he is not consumed by his demanding work. He has a close relationship with his daughter Line, who is an investigative journalist. They frequently work on the same case, sometimes cooperatively but sometimes at cross purposes.
In Closed for Winter, Line goes to the family summer cottage for a break although the season is almost over and most cabins are closed for the winter. She doesn’t find the relaxation that she seeks there, however. A murdered man is discovered inside a neighboring cabin. The victim, to everyone’s surprise, is not the owner of the cabin, who happens to be a very famous TV personality. Both she and her father get involved in trying to solve this crime.
The plot is full of suspense and goes in a variety of directions. The case takes some initial wrong turns but eventually gets on track—a very dangerous one. To capture the suspects, Wisting must go beyond the borders of Norway and travel to Lithuania, where he is plunged into a world of crime but also a world of poverty.
Wisting reflects on the increase in crime in Norway, feeling convinced that “the crime statistics in Norway would certainly look very different if the economy of Eastern Europe showed improvement.” Horst treats this development in a very sensitive way, letting the reader understand the criminals’ point of view as they try desperately to escape a life of abject poverty in any way they can.
Both Dregs and Closed for Winter are thrilling crime novels by a master writer. Readers may now look forward to the next two novels in the series, The Hunting Dogs and The Caveman.
Christine Foster Meloni is professor emerita at The George Washington University. She has degrees in Italian literature, linguistics, and international education. She was born in Minneapolis and currently lives in Washington, DC. She values her Norwegian heritage.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.