The adventures of Jorn Lier Horst's brilliant creation, William Wisting, continue with this tense thriller. This time a violent killing occurs on the coast where many people have their holiday cottages, often renting them out. It's a horrifying crime so Wisting is understandably worried when his daughter, Line, goes through some personal upset and feels the need to escape to their own family's cottage. There are more killings on the way (as any crime fan might guess) and Line is going to be drawn in. Wisting's investigations take him into the neighbouring, post Soviet, Baltic countries where he finds himself ever more sympathetic to the plight of so many people drawn into crime. Meanwhile there is a parallel mystery going on. Why are birds dropping from the sky in the area of the killings? Jorn Lier Horst has obviously done his background work and travelled to the places he describes as his new book's air of authenticity (a Horst trademark) is profound. This novel won the Norwegian Booksellers Prize and readers will be in no doubt why. Closed for Winter is a tense, convincing, page turner of a thriller that confirms Jorn Lier Horst's place in the top rank of Scandinavian crime writers. Dregs The Woman Who Walked into the Sea (Sea Detective) The Famous and the Dead
on 24 October 2013
This second translation of the William Wisting series follows the successful `Dregs' and is even better in my view. Birds are behaving mysteriously near the coast, flying into windows and cars, it seems deliberately. To solve the mystery Wisting travels into post-Communist Lithuania and his discovery of the people's plight there is powerfully depicted. Horst's imagined world is populated by convincingly real people: Wisting's tense relationship with his journalist daughter is completely recognisable, and continues to develop in this book . The characters in the crime fighting team are individual and recognisable, some likeable, some not so. This is a gripping story with a great denouement.
Closed For Winter is a very nicely written social realist police procedural, with none of the amateur dramatics and melodrama that pervade some books in the sub-genre. Given it’s written by a practicing police officer, this is perhaps no surprise. Horst drops the reader into the investigation, revealing the logic of how clues are pursued, collaboration takes place, and the case unfolds. Moreover, he situates the story within in wider themes of EU enlargement, immigration, social inequalities, and organised crime. The result is a convincing and credible story that charts the unfolding of an investigation into a case that turns out to be much more complex than first meets the eye. Horst does weave in the personal life of Wisting and his journalist daughter, Line, but more as context rather than as a dominant theme - the effect is the case remains the key focus rather than the investigator. That said, the characterisation is nicely observed, and Wisting is certainly a detective a reader could spend time with. Overall, a well written and engaging police procedural and I’ll certainly be reading other books in the series.
Jørn Lier Horst, is a Norwegian author of crime fiction and a former Senior Investigating Officer at Vestfold Police district. He tends to look into the psychology of working with crime, so that we can see a slice of how good police detectives think and act.
This is the second book translated into English, and the second I have read. The first book 'Dregs' was an exceptional thriller, and this book, 'Closed For Winter' is even better. I find some similarities in the writing style of Jorn Lier Horst to Henning Mankell, one of my favorite Scandinavian mystery writers.
Police Inspector William Wisting has returned to his job after taking a leave to get his mind back on track. His beloved wife had died, his son was in Afghanistan, and his last case was so emotionally exhausting and involved his daughter, Line, in a transitional way. Line is a journalist living in Oslo, and, at times, the lives of father and daughter don't jive.
Wisting is called late at night in the middle of winter to a murder scene at a summer cottage. It appears that a burglary has gone wrong. There are more cottages and more burglaries, that seem to set the stage for a group of thugs from Lithuania, who need and want money. At the same time, it appears a big multi-national drug operation is under way. And, to top off the complications, his daughter, Line has moved into a near by cottage. Burglaries and more murders follow, and this is a fascinating look into the increased crimes between the Scandinavian countries and their Baltic counterparts.
Police Inspector Wisting is one of those men who loves his profession, but also wants a private life. He is not a loner, and wants to enjoy the company of others. He is also a polished professional, experienced and knows his job. His intuition serves him well, and, he is always looking at the clues and wonders what is missing. An exceptional murder mystery.
Recommended. prisrob 11-14-13
on 5 January 2014
A series of break ins at holiday cottages, a man watching for a boat, two dead men, dead birds and missing money. William Wisting manages to go through the case losing on a few night's sleep and without being close to a break down. The Nordic weather is grim and the new Europeans are on a crime spree thanks to meddling politicians. Eventually order is restored both in his life and in his city. This is Nordic drama in its gentle form.
on 4 January 2015
For me, this probably compares somewhat with JLH's DREGS, in not being as good as THE HUNTING DOGS.
Still, this is a good police procedural, if occasionally slightly slow. It is well-written and the plot is well-structured to keep the reader invested throughout. And with a good twist or two.
I didn't like the coincidence - again - of having the protagonists' stories align in the way they do (he being the policeman lead and she being his crime reporter daughter). I also did wonder why she would take a break alone in a seaside cottage so close to where the subject murders are occurring.
This is not a brilliant novel, but there is a good story, characters to align with and enough otherwise in the mix for the reader to be engaged rather than bored or frustrated. Put differently, I'm going for more in the series.
I am a big fan of police procedurals and this is a great example. There is tremendous range and depth to the investigation - Lithuanian burglars, a drug deal gone wrong, dead bodies and Wisting's daughter's failed relationship - and all told in a logical, chronological manner. Wisting is an interesting character: a family man but also a committed investigator unafraid to admit fear but actually rather fearless in the course of his job. I also liked the recurring motifs of the birds and the dream catcher. I fell asleep reading this book last night and started reading again as soon as I woke up as it is extremely compulsive in an understated way and well worth reading.
on 3 January 2015
Another gripping story that is uncomfortably credible these days, no matter where. The detail of Norwegian police procedures add to the matter-of-fact painstaking advance of another outstanding book in this series. English translations, apparently,are available presently only for books six, seven and eight. May someone please ASAP offer bonuses to those expert Scandinavian lingquists for the earlier Wisting tales. Fascinating. One polite request: would the publishers please consider adding a map to the text--either of Norway or, more useful, the area covered by the events.
Jorn Lier Horst’s second book to be translated into English, by Anne Bruce, demonstrates the author’s experience as Head of Investigations for the Larvik Police in Norway, from which he retired in 2013.
As this is the seventh book featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting of the Criminal Investigation Department of Larvik Police to have been published in Norwegian, the first in 2004, there is a very helpful extended description of the detective’s background and the key people in his professional and personal life. This might be followed by other publishers since it facilitates new readers’ understanding of books if read out of chronological sequence. The publishers have decided that the English language books should proceed chronologically from the sixth, ‘Dregs’, 2011 [also translated by Bruce].
A group of summer cottages have been ransacked in the middle of winter and a body is found in one of them. Wisting is called in to lead an investigation that eventually takes him across the Baltic Sea. The police procedural plotting is well integrated into stories that involve the detective’s journalist daughter, Line, dead birds and transnational smuggling.
The narrative is divided into 75 chapters within just over 300 pages and, within this, Horst skillfully varies the pace of the story to capture the periods of waiting and hoping, anticipating events, hitting dead ends, changing direction and, finally, racing against the clock. The author creates a strong and suspenseful plot that incorporates bodies turning up and disappearing, a gangland informer, organised crime and drug smuggling.
The characterisation throughout is very good, given that a great deal has happened to these characters and to members of the investigating team in earlier novels. The cut-and-thrust dialogue [especially during surveillance and tracking operations] and interaction between the detectives on the case is clearly based on the author’s experience. As with many Nordic procedural novels, the societal aspects are fully integrated into the storylines, not least in the detectives’ investigations in Lithuania. In addition to questions of absolute morality and guilt [‘It’s better to steal from Norway, because it is a wealthy country, than a poor country where people don’t have so much’], this part of the story poses some interesting questions about EU policies and the downside of the Schengen Area agreements.
Wisting’s wife has died a few years ago and Horst captures the detective taking tentative steps to develop a new relationship whilst being sensitive to the feelings of Line. There is also a nicely-detailed description of his relationship with the younger member of his team, Benjamin Fjeld. Thankfully, Wisting is not as driven, morose or beset by devils as some of the other Scandinavian investigators. A slightly jarring note is that the narrative includes additional descriptors presumably added in for the international audience that describe places and activities in Scandinavia and the Baltic region; thus two senior Norwegian policemen when discussing a possible forthcoming robbery at ‘NOKAS, the Norwegian cash handling service, has five cash centres….’. There are also occasions when the exposition is rather too obvious. However, these are insufficient to mar enjoyment of this book.
There is a good sense of place in both Norway and Lithuania whilst Line’s confusion over her feelings for an unreliable partner is sensitively handled. By making her a journalist, Horst is able to divide the narrative and allow the police investigation and Line’s own personal follow-ups to proceed in parallel and significantly enhance the rising tension. The criminals are fully rounded characters and Horst is sensitive to the social and financial reasons for their law-breaking and their, often futile, attempts to get their lives on track again.
On the basis of this first encounter I would certainly recommend Horst, Wisting and Bruce, and congratulate the publishers, based in Dingwall, Ross-shire, 9/10.
on 14 October 2014
Another enjoyable read. This is the second book of the Whisting series to be translated in to English. Although I wouldn't describe the book as edge of the seat excitement, it's certainly worth reading and is well written.
The narrative flows. The Characters are well drawn and realistic. The plot is believable. Horst does not 'go over the top', by adding irrelevant details to capture the imagination.
The plot revolves around drug smuggling, with killings.
I would recommend this book to those who like police investigations.