Review: Pierced by Thomas Enger

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PiercedPierced by Thomas Enger (Faber and Faber, 2012)

Blurb: A Convicted Killer: Despite always maintaining his innocence, Tori Pulli, once a powerful player on Oslo’s underground crime scene, has been found guilty of murder.

A Loose End: Scarred reporter Henning Juul is contacted by Pulli, who claims that if Henning can help clear his name he can give him details of who was responsible for the fire which killed his six-year-old son, Jonas.

A Double Threat: Desperate to continue his own search for justice, Henning realises that the information Pulli promises is life threatening, to both of them and to others. As events take a deadly turn, Henning finds himself on the trail of two killers for whom the stakes have never been higher…

 

Henning Juul, an investigative journalist, is still recovering from the fire that killed his son Jonas and tore apart his marriage. He’s back at work, and he’s learned to live with the fact that his ex-wife, also a journalist, is dating his colleague Iver Gundersen. Then he gets the offer that changes everything: If you help me clear my name, I’ll tell you who killed your son.

Henning is a fantastic character. For the past two years he has lived with the guilt of his son’s death, which is exacerbated by his loss of memory of the weeks that preceded it: Could he have done anything to prevent the fire? Did he leave the door unlocked? Was the fire deliberately set? Pulli’s offer is one he absolutely cannot refuse.

As with many Nordic crime novels, the big picture in this novel is made up of several interwoven threads: Henning, the reporter who soon finds himself trying to solve not one, but two murders; Tori Pulli, the underworld figure who claims he has information about Henning’s son; Thorleif Brenden, a cameraman and devoted father who through no fault of his own is thrust into a murder conspiracy.

This is a richly layered story, expertly plotted, full of twists and turns. It’s well written and well translated, with vivid descriptions and language that is both natural and fresh.

This is the second book in a series that began with Burned, and although that book is well worth reading, this book does stand on its own. It also does a very good job of setting up the next book in the series, which I believe is called Scarred, with hints that the fire was some sort of warning to Henning—but what was he being warned about? And by whom? I hope the next book comes out soon!

 

My rating: 4 stars

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