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The Caller (Inspector Sejer 8) Paperback – 7 Jul 2011

43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846553938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846553936
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.2 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 690,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Fossum is admired by Ruth Rendell and you can see why: both prefer to explore the vagaries of the human mind rather than deal in bullets and car chases (Carla McKay Daily Mail)

The Caller, is one the darkest, most disturbing crime stories you're likely to read this year.

Like Patricia Highsmith, the queen of the night, and Ruth Rendell, the high priestess of darkness, Fossum is a grandmaster at the art of psychological terror. Her thoughts are gloomy, her mind is subtle and her writing is extraordinarily supple

(Marilyn Stasio New York Times Book Review)

Fossum's Norway is an apposite setting for a long dark night of the soul' (Independent)

It is a sign of Fossum's sophistication that the reader comes to empathise with the teenaged tormentor - a deliberate ploy which makes the double-twist ending all the more shocking (Julia Hanford Sunday Telegraph)

Fossum's novels stray off the crime genre's beaten track in search of the profound, and rarely disappoint. A contemporary Patricia Highsmith, her offbeat obsession with the psychology of the criminal mind, and the human cost of criminal activity, pays off handsomely again (Declan Burke Irish Times)

Book Description

The outstanding new Inspector Sejer novel from the award-winning Norwegian Queen of Crime

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read all of Karin Fossum's novels available in English and have enjoyed them all, though I thought her previous book Bad Intentions wasn't as engrossing as some of her earlier books such as Calling Out For You. I'm glad to say that The Caller is right back among the best. It's an intriguing story with many interesting characters and an unusual story-line of a prankster who set-ups scenarios in which the "victims" are not physically harmed but are left emotionally damaged. It's a well-plotted story that gathers pace towards the end with a few surprises to keep one hooked. We know from the beginning who the prankster is and the novel follows the police investigation, led by Inspector Sejer. If you've read some of the earlier books you'll know that Sejer is a sympathetic and thoughtful policeman who leads a lonely life as a widower with his dog as sole domestic companion.

Karin Fossum's books remind me of Ruth Rendell's in that there isn't too much grisly detail about the crimes instead they focus on the psychological motives of the criminals, the emotional impact of the crimes on victims who survive or on those who knew the victim.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
In the spate of crime novels pouring out of Scandinavia, the Norwegian Karen Fossum's "The Caller" is more of a Barbara Vine-style psychological study than the frenetic action combined with political messages to be found in Stieg Larsson, or the self-absorption of Mankell's angst-ridden Wallander.

We know from the outset that the "caller" is Johnny a disturbed adolescent who gains a sense of power from carrying out cruel pranks on strangers. Fossum shows how these often quite elaborate hoaxes have unexpected, disproportionately adverse effects on the mental state of each victim.

Yet, she also succeeds in revealing the appalling parenting which has sent the highly intelligent but immature Johnny down the wrong path, distorting his "normal" sense of compassion. This is not totally absent: he shows great kindness to his sick grandfather, and to his pets.

Fossum skilfully makes us feel some sympathy for Johnny, even to the extent of wanting him to escape harsh punishment, out of a morally ambiguous sense that maybe these pranks are "not that bad". Once one has realised they tend not to cause physical harm, one can be lulled into taking them less seriously, and in being mainly intrigued to find out what the next ingenious trick will be.

Yet, there is always an underlying sense of menace - eventually a prank must backfire with some unintended calamity. The story grows darker towards the climax of the novel, creating the death toll normally associated with a crime thriller. Although I guessed a key twist at the end, the denouement is unlikely to be totally predictable.

The ending may seem a little too neat, possibly too rapid and condensed, and therefore less moving, but "The Caller" is, in short, an entertaining, well-written morality tale, which reveals the complexity of cause and effect, good and evil, and the risk of unintended consequences.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Simon Clarke on 21 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By her own admission,the author,Karin Fossum,is not so much
interested in the crime/ mystery plot aspect,but rather in
endeavouring to understand the deeper motives of the criminal,
and the psychological effect of crime on the lives of ordinary
people who become its victims.This novel fits in with this
The story is about an emotionally abused ,sociopathic male
teenaged boy, who perpetrates sinister pranks on unsuspecting
people ,radically disturbing their settled lives.Meanwhile,the
intuitive ,compassionate ,Inspector Sejer,takes these matters
very seriously and investigates.It is always a delight to read
about this unique detective.
This is an excellent ,highly readable novel,by a writer at the
top of her craft.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
With her characteristic, unnerving attention to minor details, Karin Fossum opens her compelling new novel with a description of a mother putting her baby daughter into a pram in the garden while the infant sleeps. The atmosphere of menace builds up to an almost intolerable point as we just know something terrible is going to happen. The plot shifts to the police investigation of the incident, focusing on Inspector Sejer as he ponders both on the crime and on his own personal life - which is rather nice to read as Sejer has taken a bit of a back seat in recent novels. While he is sitting at home thinking, he hears something being delivered through the letterbox; rushing to the window, he sees what appears to be a slim young man hastily leaving the area. The missive turns out to be a postcard, with a sinister image and message implying that there will be more crimes in future.

What follows is a series of nasty tricks: a dying man receives a call from the undertaker, a well woman reads her own obituary in the paper, a young boy goes off on his own on a trek, and so on. We see these events through the eyes of the presumed perpetrator (but nothing is as it seems in a Karin Fossum novel!), who is a bored teenager called Johnny. He lives with his drunk mother whom he hates, travels around the region on his moped, and pays regular visits to the one person he relates to, his grandfather. We also, however, see events through the eyes of the "victims", following the consequences of the mean pranks that often are the trigger for quite significant events in the relationships of those affected. These vignettes are one of the author's main strengths, as she draws the reader into the lives of her subjects even when they appear only briefly in the novel.
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