Hell Fire

Karin Fossum (Broken, The Murder of Harriet Krohn) is one of crime fiction's gems, and Hell Fire continues the stellar Inspector Konrad Sejer series, set in Norway. By all accounts, Bonnie Hayden is simply a single mother eking out a living as a caretaker, beloved by her elderly clientele. But someone was enraged enough to butcher Bonnie and her young son in an abandoned camper, and Inspector Sejer must apprehend the monster with little in the way of evidence.

Alternating between the investigation and the months before the murders, Fossum deftly weaves Sejer's perspective with Bonnie's, and draws in the Malthes as well, Mass and her co-dependent 21-year-old son, Eddie. Though not formally diagnosed, Eddie is troubled and obsessed with death. He searches the Internet for execution methods, dreams of frying newborn chicks and tries desperately to find his father's grave. A connection between the families may begin to seem ominously obvious, but Fossum is crafty enough to create doubt.

Fossum doesn't take violence casually, and while Sejer takes a secondary role in the plot, he effectively illustrates the impact of brutality on those in its wake. Hell Fire is more a compelling study of character and hardscrabble living than a strict procedural, and even the most dismal scenes and mundane tasks are absorbing. The plot is a tight, slow burn that details the hardships of two mothers and their sons, putting them through the wringer as the date of the murders approaches and their lives intersect. --Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review

Powered by: Xtenit