Review: Jorn Lier Horst – The Hunting Dogs

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailJorn Lier Horst’s previous book, Closed for Winter, was on the shortlist for the 2013 Petrona Award for Scandinavian Crime Fiction. His crime novels have only recently been translated into English and the series featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting, if hits to this blog are anything to go by, has been well received over here. I like the books because, although Horst clearly uses his experience as a murder detective to add accurate detail to the narrative, police procedure is never allowed to overshadow the story.

In The Hunting Dogs, Wisting’s role in a murder case years earlier comes under scrutiny when it is discovered that evidence was falsified during the original investigation. Suspended from duty, he uses his enforced inactivity to look more closely into the case and discover where errors were made. Wisting’s journalist daughter, Line, is also investigating a murder on a street in Larvik. In the pursuit of a story for her newspaper she also becomes drawn into helping her father prove his innocence.

There’s something fascinating about the reopening of an old investigation. I think it’s a mixture of the uneasy dead waiting for final closure but also the fact that these cases can rest heavily on the original detectives. The death of Cecilia Linde hasn’t lost any of its poignancy, even after a significant lapse in time, and the reader is firmly behind Wisting as he tries to find out who compromised the original investigation. Like Horst’s earlier books, The Hunting Dogs is well balanced between police investigation and family ties. The relationship between William and Line is explored further in the book and conveys the love and respect between this father and daughter.

The Hunting Dogs is a more substantial read than either Dregs or Closed for Winter.  Winner of The Glass Key for the top Nordic crime novel in 2013, it’s my favourite book so far in this excellent series.

Thanks to Sandstone Press for my copy of the book. The translation was by Anne Bruce.

Review: Jorn Lier Horst – Closed for Winter

Jclosed for winterorn Lier Horst’s Dregs acquired a number fans when it was published in 2012 including Maxine Clarke at the Petrona blog. It is sad to note that Lier Horst’s second book to be translated into English, Closed for Winter, has been submitted as an entry for the 2014 Petrona Award for Translated Scandinavian Crime Fiction which was set up in Maxine’s memory. Dregs picked up the story of police inspector William Wisting more or less mid series and the publishers have made the wise decision to translate the books forward from this point so that there is continuity in the narrative.

Ove Bakkerud arrives at his summer cottage in the middle of winter to discover that it has been ransacked after a burglary. Checking the neighbouring properties, he discovers the body of a man beaten to death. William Wisting investigates the case which is complicated by the presence of his daughter living in a cottage near to the scene of the murder. When more deaths follow, he travels to Lithuania to follow the trail of what is clearly more than a burglary gone wrong.

Lier Horst has recently retired as a senior investigating officer in the Vestfold police district. As in the previous novel, his experience in investigating crime comes through clearly on the page and the reader is often treated to small snippets of why the investigation proceeds in a particular way. This makes for a solid police procedural with a strong emphasis on the method by which crimes are solved.

Wisting is an attractive character, grieving for his dead wife but happy with a new partner. His relationship with his journalist daughter, Line, which was one of the highlights of Dregs, is explored further here.  I wasn’t was enamoured of the ending as some other reviewers but overall the book was an excellent read. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the series when Lier Horst speaks at the Iceland Noir event.

Thanks to Sandstone Press for my review copy. The translation was by Anne Bruce.