Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Caveman by Jorn Lier Horst

William Wisting is a Chief Inspector at Larvik police department in Norway during the discovery of two bodies which have lain unnoticed for months. It is December, so winter has well set in when a body is found at a Christmas tree farm. Clothes on this body indicate a foreigner, and a finger print found on a brochure in the victim’s jacket links it to American serial killer, Robert Godwin, who hasn’t been seen since the late 1980s.

The FBI soon appears on Wisting’s patch whether he likes it or not, and the question has to be asked: has Godwin been actively killing in Norway in the last twenty odd years? If so, is he a 'caveman', police jargon for a criminal who steals the identity of someone who lives below the radar?

The other body is found closer to home, Wisting’s home no less – a recluse, Viggo Hansen, who lived in Wisting’s street. Wisting’s daughter, Line, an investigative journalist, sees the pathos in his death and returns home to write about loneliness in an uncaring society. She begins to interview people who knew Hansen and of course, this throws up more questions than answers.

Ultimately, Line’s story will cross over into Wisting’s investigation, but only the reader knows this, creating some brilliant tension. The drama picks up with the killer trying to cover his tracks and no one knows until the very end just who he really is. Which is just as it should be.

Jorn Lier Horst is a former police detective, like William Wisting, so he knows how to give his story that ring of truth. As a police procedural, however, the reader isn’t bogged down with too much in the way of technicalities, Horst creating believable characters and a page-turning plot. The setting of Norway in winter makes you shiver along with the story of a serial killer closing in.

This is a terrific read and I for one will be hunting out more by this author - several have been translated into English so far. The Caveman is this year’s winner of the Petrona Award, which is given to Scandinavian crime fiction translated into English.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Caveman

More about Jorn Lier Horst

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