Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Where Monsters Dwell (2014)

Where Monsters DwellWhere Monsters Dwell by Jørgen Brekke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For those who love Steig Larson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I give you  Jørgen Brekke's Where Monsters Dwell. Perhaps the book would receive a better rating from me if I were one of you.

There were lots of aspects of the story that were of interest to me initially. The  three main story lines involve a monk in the 16th Century who possesses a unique human-skin covered book connected to early dissection of the human body and two horrific modern day killings, one in Richmond, Virginia and the other in Trondheim, Norway.

Establishing all the exposition takes a while but eventually the story draws the reader in as connections between the two murders become more obvious.

Richmond homicide detective Felicia Stone travels to Norway to work with Police Inspector Odd Singsaker. I found myself caring for the flawed but compelling characters.

One expects unpleasantness in a thriller, but this story contains too much specific detail for my personal taste. You can expect to find multiple murders, scenes of torture, sexual abuse, gratuitous sex, drug overdoses, and much more. Many characters have back stories that don't seem to move the action forward although when you realize that this is #1 of what has become a popular series in Norway, it makes more sense. Brekke has written two more entries.

Reluctantly I have to say that this is a strong debut. Some of the writing seems awkward so I decided to check out the translator. Steven T. Murray, has great credentials. Under the pseudonym, Reg Keeland, he is credited for all the Steig Larsson books. I still can't decide if the passages of uneven writing are the results of the author's or translator's work or a combination of both.

Bottom Line: RECOMMENDED with reservations about horrific violence. For those who enjoy authors Steig Larsson or Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs.

Title: Where Monsters Dwell
Author:  Jørgen Brekke
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Minotaur Books
No. of Pages: 368 pages
Copyright: February 11, 2014
ISBN:  1250016800
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: NetGalley

Disclaimer: An advance copy of Where Monsters Dwell was provided to me by Minotaur/Net Galley for review purposes.

Jørgen Brekke was born in Horten, Norway. After completing his studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he settled in Trondheim, where he currently lives with his wife and three children. Brekke taught school for some years, but recently has worked as a freelance journalist. Where Monsters Dwell, was on the Norwegian bestseller lists for four months and has been sold in twelve countries.

1 comment:

    Just in case you think the part about books bound in human flesh is made up.