Thursday, 4 August 2011
As you might have noticed from this blog, I do really enjoy a good Scandinavian crime novel. I treat them as leisure reading, as opposed to books I have to read for work or reviews. That being said, most books give me real pleasure to read, but you know how sometimes you just want a really good, easy, rollocking crime novel to get your mind into different gear.
But when I began reading Karin Fossum's latest offering, I realised this was a crime writer who didn't adhere to the usual rules. She's been quoted saying that she likes to write about the death not the killing, and this is certainly true in Bad Intentions. Her main - recurring - character Inspector Seijer (this is the seventh in the series) is a mere spectator in the plot, and only appears a third way through the narrative.
Her main point of view is one of the three young men who at the start of the novel are spending a night in a log cabin by Dead Water. One of the boys is drowned in the aptly named lake. A few days later another young man's body is found in another lake and so the plot thickens.
Bad Intentions has been described a 'whydunnit' rather than 'whodunnit'. I think this is an excellent description of this intense semi-phsylogical thriller. The pace and intensity increases towards the end to such a fever point that I had to finish reading the novel in the middle of night, in tune with the Englishman's gentle snoring.
Although there is no direct mention of the far right in the book, and racism is only hinted at - or rather being taken for granted, if you like - I couldn't help but think back to the awful recent events on the island of Utoe in Norway, where the books are set (country not island). The society Fossum describes in her books is chillingly Nordic in flavour. You can almost taste the dissatisfaction and disassociation from society of these young men. For me, the plot of Bad Intentions was almost too true to life.
Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum
Vintage Books, £7.99