Friday, 9 January 2015

'I Can See In The Dark' by Karin Fossum

Riktor is a strange man.  He has no family, no friends and lives a very lonely existence.  Working as a nurse in a care home for the elderly, he is surrounded by pain and death.  Having a secret crush on his boss makes the days go a bit faster.   When a problem with trust causes Riktor to lose his temper, death finds its way into his own home.  A visit from the police may not have been totally unexpected, but what does surprise Riktor is the fact that they are accusing him of a crime that he knows nothing about.  He may be a strange man, but should he be punished for something he didn't do?  Will it balance out the other crime? 

Nordic crime thrillers have been growing in numbers over the past decade.  Are they any better than the standard American thriller?  Can English/Irish crime writers compete with Jo Nesbo and can Nordic authors hold their own against Lee Child?  Translated works can sometimes lose something before it hits the page, but this one didn't.  The story is dark, the protagonist is a despicable man who could give the reader the shivers.  Written in the first person narrative, the author gives us access to Riktors thoughts, which are bleak and dour.  Knowing his childhood story gives a bit of insight into his odd personality, but it is only when he meets Margareth that we can see how things could have been different for him.  

This is not a light read.  It is short and without decoration.  It is the story of a disturbed soul, a child who grows up without love and the withdrawal of life by another's hands.  A Nordic crime thriller which is less on thrill and crime, more inner dialogue and character development.

I Can See In The Dark is published by Vintage and is available in paperback and ebook format 

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