It’s my stop on the Death Deserved blog tour and a big thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part and for the ARC.
Title: Death Deserved
Author: Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication Date: 15 January 2020 (e-pub); 20 February 2020 (paperback)
Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.
Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing persons’ investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…
Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flair for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.
Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…
Death Deserved is the result of a collaboration between two of Norway’s top crime writers, Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger, and one which was bound to be a success (how could it not be with two such brilliant authors involved?!).
In Death Deserved, a missing person case involving a former athlete soon turns into the pursuit of a serial killer who seems to be targeting celebrities. Police inspectors Alexander Blix and Sofia Kovic race against the clock, with the help of their team and celebrity journalist Emma Ramm, to stop the killer from striking again, however they always seem to be trailing one step behind the merciless killer…
The book commences with an attention-grabbing prologue from 1999 before moving quickly to an absolutely gripping, fast-paced story crime thriller and culminating in an explosive finale. The book is clever, well-plotted and compelling. The characters are likeable, the plot is convincing plot and I appreciated the few red-herrings thrown in along the way. I was convinced that I knew which way the story was going to go, yet I was entirely wrong! I do love a book that manages to surprise me.
The writing is simply marvellous, gaining momentum and building up the tension page by page as our protagonists try to find the links between the victims and expose the killer. The authors have cleverly created the perfect balance with an intense crime thriller that manages to maintain the suspense whilst also allowing the reader to delve into the protagonists’ backgrounds, thereby humanising those characters. Blix is the cynical, world-weary divorced copper whilst Ramm is the young, smart and ambitious reporter – this might be the typical pairing that we’ve come to expect in crime fiction, yet it quite simply works and the pair make a great crime-busting duo. I should also mention the fantastic translation by Anne Bruce!
Fast-paced, clever and punchy, Death Deserved is a gripping crime novel that will not fail to satisfy. I note that it is intended as the first novel in a new series and I am now eagerly awaiting book number 2. I strongly suspect that this will become one of my favourite series of recent years.
About the Author(s)
Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.
About the Publisher
Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.