This novel is the fourth in the Norwegian series with Johanne Vik and Adam Stubø as the husband and wife team, with Adam being the ‘gentle giant’ detective and Johanne, his wife who is an ex profiler with a nose for investigative leads.
Very soon in the novel, we are introduced to several different story threads:
Johanne´s vulnerable daughter, Kristiane, gets lost when the family participates in a wedding in Oslo, and if a mysterious stranger had not saved her, she might have been killed in front of the tram.
Bishop Eva Karin Lysgaard is found murdered on Christmas Eve in Bergen. She is a popular person, well known for her struggle to keep the church united despite the question of marriage of homosexuals.
The body of a seventeen-year-old asylum seeker is found in the harbour of Oslo. The young man was a prostitute, and soon after a homosexual woman disappears from a happy relationship.
Marcus Koll, affluent businessman, lives together with his partner Rolf and his son, Little Marcus. Beautiful and safe on the facade, but apparently Marcus fears he will be the next victim.
What do the crimes have in common? Are old family secrets behind all these crimes, or is the common denominator homosexuality? Johanne Vik is engaged in researching hate crime, and via her research she can point out the connection among the seemingly isolated events to the police.
There are many things to like in this series, but it seems to me that Holt has this tendency to involve Johanne and her children every time. Exciting for the characters, and fundamental to the storyline perhaps, but not very credible. But then it is fiction, isn’t it? So why quibble?
I guess that whilst I enjoyed this Anne Holt story, it does lack a little of the intensity I feel when I read the Hanne Wilhemson’s series. Perhaps I feel more for the character of Hanne, for her keen detective sense and her stoic, rigid and sometimes arrogant manner, than I do for Johanne Vik and Adam Stubo who seem to be awfully familiar to another couple in a similar detective series written by a Swedish crime writer.
If you are a Nordic crime fiction fan, you won’t be disappointed, but the bar is getting ever higherin the realms of Mordic crime fiction with many more excellent writers, emerging from the colder regions of the world, each year.
Something to Ponder About