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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven't read Burned, the first of this trilogy but this book will stand alone. There is sufficient information as to what happened in the first book which does not detract from the reading of this second in the series.

As with just about every Scandanavian or even Nordic author, comparisons seem to have to be made with Larsson or Nesbo. Enger is neither of these - yet. If you are thinking of a Nesbo comparison, try Lars Keppler.

The story is desperately slow to start which, coupled with the disadvantage of Norwegian names which don't trip off an English tongue, I was beginning to wonder what the fuss was about. However, the pace does pick up. The story is very convoluted, involving rather too many muscle-bound men who believe muscle takes the place of brainpower but, as we might expect, our sort of hero, Henning Juul, uses the latter to defeat the former. Thank goodness there are breaks for explanations along the way for, if you were to stop reading this book for a couple of days, you'd surely have forgotten who was intent on killing whom.

Generally, there is always a sort of noir, too, in these stories. Juul has watched his young son die and his wife leave him (first book) but this always remains in the background, struggling to break into the foreground as Henning desperatly needs to find out who caused the fire which killed him. He gets tantalisingly close, leaving this loose end and a few others to be tied up in book three, Scarred, out towards the end of the year.

I look forward to reading it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven`t read "Burned" the first book in this series; in "Pierced" Enger relates enough of the of the back-story of previous events to make the novel readable as a stand-alone piece, but I still found myself wishing I had read the other book first.

Henning Juul is an emotionally damaged crime reporter lured into investigating the possible innocence of a notorious underworld figure imprisoned for murder, by the promise of information concerning the house fire that killed Juul`s son, which the reporter suspects was a deliberate act.
As the story unfolds from the point of view of an investigative journalist rather than as a police procedural, there is little in the way of fast action or gristly forensics, so if you are more used to the swift pace of - for example - Jo Nesbø, this may seem a bit slow; it nevertheless is well-paced to suit it's approach, making it an engrossing read all in. Although the plot reaches a conclusion, there are strands that remain unresolved; clearly setting up for the next book, but leaving the reader on a cliff-hanger.
The narrative style of the novel reads a little like a screenplay at times, but it's an intelligent, no-nonsense treatment which, coupled with a short chapter structure allows for rapid scene changes within the plot.
The translation is in a nice, easy flowing English, slipping in the occasional UK vernacular word or phrase - "done a runner", "wellies", etc., but names and locations keep it feeling firmly Norwegian in essence.

Despite the frustration of not starting the series at it's natural beginning, I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next one; I would advise, however, that you start with "Burned"; with that novel Enger has started a cycle that could well prove to be compelling reading.
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on 20 February 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Yet another addition to the already groaning bookshelves of Scandi-Crime. But does it deserve a place in your home?

'Pierced' is the second book of a projected trilogy, following 'Burned', and to be followed by, 'Scarred'. Before reading this second volume I hadn't read it's predecessor, so I can comment with some confidence that it can be enjoyed as a standalone in it's own right - it isn't difficult to pick-up on the threads from the first book. If you want the whole plot to be rounded off with nothing left dangling however, you could be disappointed. It may therefore be advisable to make sure you read the concluding part (and, in that case, you may as well also read the first!)

The plot concerns Henning Juul, a journalist returning to work after a fire at home had caused the death of his son. The incarcerated hoodlum (to use an old term!) convicted of the crime tells Juul he is innocent and in exchange offers information relating to the real guilty party if the journalist clears his name. Thus the novel begins and Enger moves the plot forward in not entirely predictable directions...

Let's be honest, journalists have been used before as de-facto crime investigators ('Millennium' trilogy, anyone?), but don't let this spoil your enjoyment: 'Pierced' is uber-competent, intense, clever, and twisting. It picks-up after a slightly lacklustre first half, and fairly barrels along after half-time to it's conclusion. I must confess that it's dark heart was very much to my taste.

He's not yet ready to topple his Norwegian compatriot - the great Jo Nesbo - as the most compelling contemporary Scandinavian crime author; but if he produces a few more novels of this quality (and/or higher) he may just cause Mr. Nesbo to look anxiously over his shoulder. I can report that I've just bought 'Burned' and greatly look forward to reading the final part 'Scarred'. Thomas Enger is definitely a name to watch!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is hardly a thriller, despite the striking title and garish cover. It's is a typically understated Scandinavian investigation, based around a traumatised, guilt-ridden and isolated journalist who is just starting to re-engage with the world after the events of the first novel in this series, Burned
I haven't read Burned, and the storytelling in Pierced is good enough that you don't need to start with the earlier book. The journalist, Juul, proved to be a solid central pivot for the tale. His own story overlaps with this plot, but not so much that you feel the whole world revolves around him. In fact the most interesting character is barely mentioned in the blurb; Thorlief, an innocent bystander who become embroiled in an organised underworld assassination attempt. The scenes where his family are stalked are truly chilling: his horrified understanding of his situation was beautifully rendered.

Other aspects of Pierced are a little less successful; the opening chapters submerged me in a blizzard of Norwegian names attached to cut-out characters who I found it hard to tell apart. Pulli, in particular, seemed two dimensional and insubstantial. He felt like a plot device, not a real person who was motivating the entire investigation.
But the threads of the story were cleverly pulled together, and Juul's gradual re-engagement with his colleagues and ex-wife were deftly handled. There's one scene, where he sits down to play the piano for the first time since the death of his child, which was both tender, sad, and uplifting all at once.

So overall this series is a worthy addition to the Nordic Noir genre. Pierced is good enough to incline me to look for Burned, and to see what happens next in Scarred. However, don't pick it up expecting a fast-paced thriller packed with guns and glory... it's much more of an intellectual investigation, a slow burn.
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VINE VOICEon 22 January 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I got this novel I did not realise it was a follow up to the author's 1st novel - Burned - which I had not read - it was not too much of a problem as I could work out the important parts from this 2nd novel. However when I got to the end of this one - ALL WAS NOT REVEALED - it ends with an unexplained thread - you have to get the not yet finished 3rd Novel - Scarred!

Having made that point, let me say that I really enjoyed reading this book - it is translated from Norwegian and is a very good read.

The "hero" is a journalist Henning Juul who is returning to work after a domestic fire which claimed his son (see 1st Novel). He is approached by Tore Pulli (called an ex-enforcer in the book - gangster or hit man or "heavy"??) who has been found guilty of murder - Tore protests his innocence and says that he will tell Henning who killed his son if Henning clears his name.

Because the main character is neither a Police Officer nor a Detective it makes for a different slant on the crime thriller novel. The pace was fast and the story was a real page turner - lots of different threads which all start to come together - I just have to wait for the 3rd book to put ALL the pieces into place!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 September 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After reading Thomas Enger's previous novel "Burning" I was left wondering where he would go next with the character and wasn't too sure whether I would be following the series given the large number of other Scandinavian/Icelandic writers out there whom I already read.

I'm glad I had a change of heart and got this book. As a sequel it is much better than "Burning". The dilemma that Enger places Juul in as the premise for this book allows for a great deal more definition in terms of character development and motivation. In typical Scandinavian style the storyline doesn't move at a blisteringly quick pace, this is a thoughtful book not a dynamic page turner, and you do get a feel for Juul's anguish, pain and suffering as a result. Rather like Indridasson's Icelandic detective Erlander, Juul is trying to make sense of his life after a catastrophic loss, and everything he does, how he interacts, thinks and feels is a result of that loss.

The ending nicely sets up book three in the series and I'm now looking forward to reading that to see where that takes us.
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on 8 March 2014
An excellent book with many twists,and turns. As always the protagonist is full of angst, self doubt and remorse. This however only adds to the story. Highly recommend this but suggest you read the first novel in the series burned.
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VINE VOICEon 13 May 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Pierced is the second book to feature Oslo-based journalist Henning Juul who returned to work at 123 News after being severely burnt in a fire in his flat, a fire which killed his 10-year-old son Jonas. In Pierced, Juul is contacted one weekend by a prisoner whose appeal is coming up, Tore Pulli. Pulli claims to have information about the fire which killed Jonas and asks Juul to find evidence that he is innocent of the crime he committed. If the evidence is found then Pulli will reveal what he knows.
Juul is suffering from amnesia from around the time of the fire and is desperate for any information which will help him understand what happened and to help him come to terms with the tragedy.
The novel is a great balance between the development of the investigation and insight into Juul's life and relationships. Following the fire his wife left him, though they still have contact, and his relationship with his friend Gundersen, who his wife is now with. The interactions of these three characters make a great backdrop to the unfolding of the mystery.
The novel takes Juul into the seedy realms of men's srip clubs and body building, as well as a subplot involving some Swedish thugs who want to prevent the investigation.

All in all a cracking great read that deserves a place on any crime readers shelves!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was not entirely convinced about the first Henning Juul book, Burned, but I am pleased to say that the second instalment is much improved with good character development and an interesting crime story.

Juul is still trying to figure out what happened on the night two years ago when his son was killed in the fire that also left Juul mentally and physically scarred so when an inmate contacts him with the proposition that he can help Juul with information about that tragic night IF Juul helps prove the inmate's innocence, he jumps straight in.

This starts an avalanche of events and Juul is even forced to team up with his arch rival Iver Gundersen in order to get to the bottom of deaths that may or may not be linked to old gang rivalries and exiled business men.

The writing is straight forward and maybe even slightly boring - not helped greatly by the constant change in tense which might not be a problem in the original version, but it is something that grates in the English translation. The story is good and well-thought-out though and the ending certainly has me anticipating the 3rd instalment.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Damaged reporter, Henning Juul is contacted by a notorious past player on Oslo's underground scene, Tore Pulli, who has been found guilty of a murder, he is adamant he did not commit.

He has contacted Juul to offer him a deal too good to miss. Pulli claims, if Juul helps him to clear his name, he will provide information about the person who was responsible for the fire which killed his 7year old son. Whilst carrying on with his own investigation into the fire, Juul realises the information Pulli claims to have is life threatening to them and others. After many twists and turns Juul finds himself on the trail of 2 killers and the stakes have never been higher.

This book is a classic Scandinavian murder mystery, which you will not be able to read fast enough.

I just find the names a bit confusing after a while, that is just a personal thing and probably a cultural issue, I was exactly the same with 'The killing' good story but complicated with unfamiliar names!
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