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3.8 out of 5 stars56
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Many of us have been reading Karin Fossum's detective series featuring the Norwegian Inspector Sejer. This is not a blood and gore series, but a well thought out, intellectual detective who works the clues and with a little bit of luck solves his case.

I have read several books in the series, and, now we have the first book. Why it took so long for the first book to surface is a mystery. It is an excellent novel, maybe not as exciting as some of the others in the series, but it does seem strange to me. Sejer is a fascinating figure in this series. We learn a little bit about Sejer, his daily life, a nightly whiskey with his big dog warming and drooling all over his feet. He lost his wife to cancer. His only child, a daughter, has returned from Africa with a husband and a beautiful grandson. Life should be good, but Sejer does not remember the last time he was happy. He is not depressed, just lonely. His work takes his time, and his new grandson he will make room for.

On an early spring day a body in water is reported by an older woman. She is not the first to see this body, but more of that later. A man has been knifed several times, how long he has been in the water is anybody's guess. It turns out, he was murdered about the same time as a young call girl. Are these murders related? In police work it is unusual for there to be a coincidence. Sejer and his team go to work, clues are uncovered, witnesses, family and any unusual occurrence is scrutinized. Sejer has his work to,do, and with a little bit of luck, the murderers will be found.

Inspector Sejer is one of my favorite of detectives. He is calm, collected, intelligent, thoughtful and kind. He does not need brawn nor threats. He treats everyone with respect. His team follows his command and any loose canon will find their way out. The writing by Karin Fossum is superb, on mark, with terrific character development. Now, on to,the rest of the series.

Recommended. prisrob 08-01-13
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on 20 March 2013
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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on 31 December 2013
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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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2012
Format: PaperbackVine 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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Format: PaperbackVine 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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on 13 November 2015
The refreshing thing about this crime writer is that she does not follow the established format of most of the Swedish best sellers in this genre. There is that touch of Norwegian ingenuity which works the plot in a different way from a different angle. It is not a simple who dunnit as the reader is present at both murders, yet the way it resolves is ingenious and gripping without being gratuitously violent.

The book is not perfect but the reason the author is an international prize winning best seller is because she is an original thinker and a good writer who can craft a compelling and believable read. An interesting twist at the end is the start of the next book in the series woven into the conclusion.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 September 2014
A word of warning. This book is the 2013 United States release of the UK released IN THE DARKNESS from 2012. This version has the title EVA'S EYE and if you have already read or bought IN THE DARKNESS, please AVOID this novel!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 July 2012
Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer novels have been available in the UK for a number of years now however the bestselling Norwegian author's first book in the Sejer series has taken 17 years (!) to be translated from the original Norwegian 1995 work into English.
In fashion with alot of other Scandinavian crime fiction, the actual first novel is seldom the first to be translated into English. I believe the reasoning behind this is that publishers wish to select what they consider to be the better story as an introduction to English speaking readers rather than the first one published in the home language.
2012 seems to be quite a year for Norwegian authors and their first novels of their respective series having an English translation. Earlier in the year, Anne Holt's Hanne Wilhelmsen series had it's 1993 (!) starter Blind Goddess available for the first time in English. Later this year Jo Nesbø's 1997 debut for Harry Hole The Bat is scheduled for a UK release.
In the Darkness is a decent introduction to the 49 year old police inspector and we meet his surrounding team. Home Alone 2 seems to be the kids movie to watch in the story and the endless possibilities of having a full database of DNA samples of every Norwegian citizen is fascinating for Sejer as DNA becomes a valuable tool in crimefighting. We are introduced to Eva and Emma who discover a man's body in the river. A phone call is made from a payphone (no mobiles at this point in time) supposedly to the police to report the discovery. This leads to a decent good detective story.
If you haven't read any of the Sejer novels, this is definitely well worth a go. Can't wait for the next translation...
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EVA'S EYE is a newly translated thriller by the Norwegian Karin Fossum, another author in the very active school of writers of Scandinavian mysteries/police procedurals. This bleak psychological thriller is billed as the first in the author's internationally successful ten-book Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series, therefore making all that series available in English. (I have recently read and reviewed the writer's Bad Intentions, a later book in that series, in these pages.)

Eva Marie Magnus, a struggling artist, is the divorced single mother of seven-year-old seriously overweight Emma. As she and Emma, one fall afternoon, are walking by the river in the town where they live, a man's body floats to its surface. Eva tells her daughter she will call the police, and to wait while she does, but when she reaches the phone box Eva does not call them. The police finally are informed of the body and it doesn't take long for Inspector Sejer, his partner Skarre, and the team to determine that the victim, Egil Einerson, died violently. But the man had been missing for months; the trail to his killer is cold. Sejer is puzzled by the case, as he is by another unsolved on his desk: the murder of the prostitute Maja Durban, who was found dead just three days before the latest victim disappeared. Sejer considers these two cases together and soon realizes that they might be connected.

Fossum's work has been widely admired by critics on both sides of the Atlantic, and praised by such authors as the British Ruth Rendell, author of numerous psychological thrillers, and Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse series. Fossum's novel The Indian Bride won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mystery/thriller. There's no question but that she's a skilled imaginative original writer. She gives us Norway, its landscape, weather and people with brio. Her narrative, descriptive writing and dialog are fine.

But the reader is barely, if ever, inside the police station. It certainly isn't a police procedural, and is only marginally about Insp. Sejer. We never actually are told how he solves the cases. It can be considered the first of the Sejer series, but only just. And, as with Fossum's earlier/later book, BAD INTENTIONS, I was a bit puzzled by this book; it lacks some of the characteristics I have come to identify as those of Scandinavian crime novels--read sex and violence; while it does come up with some new twists on an old genre.

Of course, the author can be considered another candidate for dean of the Scandinavian school of mystery writers, a consolation to readers left bereft by the untimely death of that phenomenally successful Swedish author, Steig Larsson and his Stieg Larsson Collection, Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest / The Girl Who Played With Fire. Mind you, I actually was reading Scandinavian crime fiction long ago, going back to Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck, The Laughing Policeman . And I'd have to say that this is a pretty good, powerful thriller that reached a conclusion I wasn't expecting. Though it is much too reliant on coincidence. And it is entirely concentrated on Eva and her life - but I'm not categorizing it as chick lit. Still, I expect it is a woman's book, and an enjoyable one.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is refreshing to read a detective thriller type novel from Scandinavia that manages to be exciting and entertaining without reliance on serial killers, horrific massacres or Satanist rituals - `In The Darkness' is both straightforward and credible. It is the first in a series of crime novels featuring Police Inspector Sejer who is presented as most considerate and likeable, and even other main protagonists attract sympathy in spite of their immoral behaviour or criminal activities. The book is carefully constructed to give emphasis to descriptions of circumstances and actions from the viewpoint of perpetrators rather than the detective's investigations and analysis. The main narrative is cleverly written as a persuasive explanation of how situations arose and events transpired, yet the plot keeps a wonderful twist right to the last few pages. `In The Darkness' is alluringly compelling and convincing - well deserving a 5-star rating.
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