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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Painter, The Call Girl and The Men
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...
Published 23 months ago by prisrob

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Start
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...
Published on 14 Aug. 2012 by elkiedee


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Painter, The Call Girl and The Men, 2 Aug. 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't want to put it down., 20 Mar. 2013
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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.

Recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Start, 14 Aug. 2012
By 
elkiedee "elkiedee" (London) - See all my reviews
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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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typically gripping Karin Fossum novel, 17 Aug. 2012
By 
Androo (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars karin fossum, 31 Dec. 2013
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE - THIS IS A DIFFERENT TITLE OF A PREVIOUSLY RELEASED BOOK, 15 Sept. 2014
By 
Mikey (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, we get an introduction to Inspector Konrad Sejer, 23 July 2012
By 
Mikey (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Powerful Thriller But Much Too Dependent on Coincidence, 2 Aug. 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Darkness, 1 Jan. 2013
By 
Gloria Feit (Long Beach, NY) - See all my reviews
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars atmospheric, masterly thriller from Fossum, 19 Sept. 2012
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the first in the Inspector Sejer series of novels from Karin Fossum - a long time coming in translation as it was written in the mid-nineties. Despite this, the clean style of prose and direct storytelling hasn't dated, and Fossum's poetic skills ensure that a dramatic and unpleasant murder mystery isn't over-boiled.

Initially, the book does suffer from some slightly confusing sequences of events, but once into its stride, there are some genuinely suspenseful chapters, making this a tense read rather than an out and out murder mystery. It's fast-paced at times, and the characters are well-drawn, credible people with a range of motivations driving their thoughts and actions. As the review on the back cover rightly points out, Fossum is more concerned with the vagaries of the human mind than with guns and car-chases - and she is all the better as a writer for doing this.

Inspector Sejer emerges as a deceptively gentle but tenacious detective in this first novel, which makes him appear all the more real as well. Underneath the story of murder, greed and secret lives, Fossum has produced a novel that is shot-through with the sheer hardness of what it is to be alive at times, and facing awful dilemmas. A sadness and sense of loss and loneliness permeates the text, not in a maudlin, over-wrought way, but it adds an element of reality to the book that some other Scandi writers just don't capture as well.

Recommended then, but many of us don't need the excellence of Karin Fossum's work plugged by the likes of Jo Nesbo, although if it sells more copies of her work, then the unashamed plug from him on the front cover will have served some purpose. Fossum is certainly a writer to check out if you've not discovered her yet.
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In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1)
In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1) by Karin Fossum (Paperback - 4 July 2013)
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