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In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1) [Paperback]

Karin Fossum , James Anderson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 July 2012 Inspector Sejer 1

Eva is walking by the river one afternoon when a body floats to the surface of the icy water. She tells her daughter to wait patiently while she calls the police, but when she reaches the phone box Eva dials another number altogether.

The dead man, Egil, has been missing for months, and it doesn't take long for Inspector Sejer and his team to establish that he was the victim of a very violent killer. But the trail has gone cold. It's as puzzling as another unsolved case on Sejer's desk: the murder of a prostitute who was found dead just before Egil went missing.

While Sejer is trying to piece together the fragments of a seemingly impossible case, Eva gets a phone call late one night. A stranger speaks and then swiftly hangs up. Eva looks out into the darkness and listens. All is quiet.

Gripping and thought-provoking, In the Darkness is Karin Fossum's first novel featuring the iconic Inspector Sejer. The prizewinning series has been published around the world to great acclaim.

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In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1) + Don't Look Back (Inspector Sejer 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846555256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846555251
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A compelling read" (Sean Farrell Irish Sunday Independent)

"Vintage Fossum" (Henry Sutton Daily Mirror)

"The latest offering from the "Norwegian queen of crime" is a novel of mighty power. In The Darkness, the first Inspector Sejer novel, is intricately crafted with undeniable pedigree." (Ruth Dugdall)

"In the Darkness had me hooked from the start. Fossum's writing is insightful and descriptive without being showy. There are no tricks or cliff hangers, just confident storytelling, refreshingly free from sudden bursts of implausibility. Her characters feel like real people, living in a real world, where money is tight and motivations are murky." (Julie Corbin)

"It is Karin Fossum's wry observations of human frailty and the warmth with which she portrays even her flawed characters - that make this book such a pleasure to read. It's rare for me to find a book that I love so much I can't put it down, but this was one of them." (Penny Hancock)

Book Description

The first ever Inspector Sejer novel by Karin Fossum, who Jo Nesbo has called 'A truly great writer'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typically gripping Karin Fossum novel 17 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Though newly released, this is Karin Fossum's first Inspector Sejer novel, which she originally published in Norwegian in 1995. There are some signs that it's a bit earlier than other novels in the series, but Konrad Sejer basically arrives fully formed in this first book, and he gets his original dog back.
The story starts with a dead body floating in a river; it's found by a woman and her young daughter. The woman decides not to call the police. The novel tells the story of why she can't. The story is told mostly in flashbacks, both from Sejer's point of view, and Eva, the woman who finds the body.
As is often the case, Sejer's part in the story is quite small. Mostly it's the story of what happened to Eva and her friend Maja. It's all going to be familiar ground to Fossum fans, though it's gripping enough, despite being in flashbacks.
Fossum creates a desperate situation, but perhaps one that's a bit easy to see through, so the flashbacks are sometimes a bit boring. You kind of know what's happened so it's just a matter of how it happened.
There are some tense set pieces, especially when Eva drives to a remote chalet and has to hide in a composting toilet, an idea used in a Scandinavian film recently too. There is a good sense of fate catching up with Eva the whole way through. When Fossum is describing Eva's thoughts and reasoning, the novel is at its best.
But when there's dialogue between the characters, it's probably at its worst. The dialogue is stilted and unconvincing, and is more like something from a children's book at times. This may well be a fault of the translation, but it's a common thread through pretty much all Karin Fossum's books. There's an odd grammatical style that I find offputting too.
Still, this is a readable book with a fairly gripping story. I don't think it's KF's best, but neither is it the worst.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't want to put it down. 20 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read a huge amount of Scandinavian Noir from most of the better known authors and this rates amongst the best. Karin Fossum, unlike some I could mention, doesn't wonder off topic and nothing unnecessary is included which contributes to the enjoyment of reading, for me anyway. Like the best writing you are not aware of time passing and get thoroughly engrossed in the story.

Great plot and believable characters. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of Inspector Sejer's exploits.

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Start 14 Aug 2012
By elkiedee VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I confess I'm normally a crime series order obsessive. However, when it comes to translations of Scandi-crime novels into English, I generally have to accept that I will have to step out of sequence. This opening novel in the Inspector Sejer series demonstrates that there are good reasons for this. Don't Look Back (An Inspector Sejer mystery) is a much stronger introduction to Sejer.

Here, Fossum juggles two stories, though they will clearly come together. One is about Sejer - as well as his investigation and his colleagues, we learn a little about his past - he is still mourning a dead wife.

Much of the novel though is told from the point of view of Eva, who is struggling to continue her work as an artist while bringing up a young daughter as a single parent. Money is tight and when she meets an old schoolfriend who seems to have done well financially, she is tempted to try out Maja's ideas. She is at Maja's flat when something horrible happens. Worse, Sejer seems to know she has something to tell him and won't drop his enquiries.

This was an enjoyable read on the whole, and I read on to see what happened, but there are some rather long, digressive passages and pacing is an issue.

I would recommend it to those like me who have read some of Fossum's later books and enjoy the background. For new readers, Don't Look Back is better written and better paced.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars karin fossum 31 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have to say I have read all of Karin fossum's books and can categorically state that I have not been disappointed in any of them. I have never read a better author in all my years of reading crime novels. so beautifully written, they draw you in to the story and you feel empathy towards both the perpetrator and the victim. I am awaiting further novels by this author and love the detectives sejer and skarre. I would highly recommend any of her novels and guarantee you will not be disappointed.i would give every one of her novels 5 stars
please hurry and bring more of Karin fossum to these shores!!

tina flanagan
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first of Karin Fossum's books... 19 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This the first novel by this author that I have read but it will not be the last. Initially it seemed that there was some influence from Maj Sjowall by the style of writing, and also Seger's dog is named Kollberg, but as the novel progressed the author gained her own. I can recommend this book because it is well written and has a decent storyline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karin Fossum - great again. 14 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another excellent Nordic Noir novel, and I just love Inspector Sejer. Being an Nordic Noir addict means I enjoy them all, so not really a good critic
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Darkness 1 Jan 2013
As the book opens, Eva Magnus is walking with her seven-year-old daughter, Emma, one late afternoon in April along the riverbank in her Norwegian town, described as "only beautiful after dark," when suddenly a body floats to the surface of the icy water. Although she tells Emma that she will immediately call the police, the call she makes is an innocuous one to her father, after which the two go to McDonald's to eat and then return to their home. Eva is an artist, a single mom after her husband had left to live with another woman. She is a complex woman, with a fear of dogs which comes up several times in the opening pages of this novel, which first introduced Inspector Konrad Sejer.

Sejer, after another person discovers the body and notifies the police, heads up the investigation. The dead man is identified as Egil Einarsson, 38 years old with a wife and six-year-old son, who had been reported missing several months before. He had apparently been stabbed 15 times before his body was dumped in the water. When Sejer realizes that the date of the dead man's disappearance was only a few days after the body of a dead woman was found in the same general area, he pursues the two cases as being connected. Along the way, the name of Eva Magnus keeps popping up in connection with each. Much of the tale is told in flashback, as the back-story is slowly revealed.

Sejer is 49 years old, widowed for eight, with a grown daughter and a young grandson. He is a man of great charm with a sentimental side, qualities reflected in the author's writing as well. The plot is intriguing as the investigation proceeds to its logical conclusion with Sejer following up all the clues. [The novel was originally published in Norwegian in 1995, and several books in the series have followed.] I have enjoyed all this author's books very much, and this one is no exception. Recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a gripping read
Really enjoyed all the books in this series. Well articulated with a sound story line,plots and leading charicters. A must read
Published 12 months ago by john hughes
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Norwegian noir
The story is built around Inspector Sejer and his locale. The solution is more or less told by the perpetrator but is a good read even though it is more revelation than detection. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Frank Dialog
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I love all Karin Fossum's book and this one won`t dissapoint you! I have read all her books so I am eagerly awaiting for a new release!
Published 16 months ago by Irma
AMAZON START PAYING TAX IN THE UK: the reviews for this series of books seem encouraging, and this isn't a bad start, although I'm hoping for more as I read the later ones in the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by MH
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
I chose this book because it was by an author recommended in the "Scandinavian and Nordic Crime Fiction" reading group of website where I catalogue my reading, and it was on offer... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Sile
4.0 out of 5 stars Karin Fossum's first crime novel in English translation for the first...
Karin Fossum, the Norwegian writer, was born in 1954, and first made her mark writing poetry, for which she won a national prize in her home country at the age of just twenty years... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Hywel James
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
I'll be blunt: I did not enjoy this novel. I had high hopes as I have read a few different Scandinavian authors and I rather like that air of melancholy they have about them, but... Read more
Published 22 months ago by J.R.Hartley
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and unusual
This novel stands somewhat apart from other well-known Scandinavian crime novels; it is less action-packed and also has no political element. Read more
Published 22 months ago by M. V. Clarke
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