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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent police-procedural from Norway, easily the equal of Sweden's Wallander
Dregs is a very enjoyable, classic police-procedural novel featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting who lives and works in Stavern, a town on the coast south of Oslo. As the novel opens we are plunged straight into the story of how a training shoe containing a foot is washed up on shore. This is the second such find in the space of a week. The police have already...
Published on 26 Sept. 2011 by Maxine Clarke

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK crime procedural
This is book 6 in Jørn Lier Horst's series about homicide detective William Wisting, but the first one to be translated into English. I much prefer to read books in order as there are invariably things that we miss out on when the 5 previous instalments are left out... I do, however, understand - and reluctantly accept - that the publishers have to ensure that it is...
Published on 29 Nov. 2011 by Amazon Customer


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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent police-procedural from Norway, easily the equal of Sweden's Wallander, 26 Sept. 2011
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Dregs is a very enjoyable, classic police-procedural novel featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting who lives and works in Stavern, a town on the coast south of Oslo. As the novel opens we are plunged straight into the story of how a training shoe containing a foot is washed up on shore. This is the second such find in the space of a week. The police have already investigated all reported missing people in the area, and have identified the names of four people who have disappeared in the past year and not been found. Can they link any of the names to the feet?

As well as being frustrated by an increasingly puzzling case, Wisting, at 51, is feeling his age. As the novel opens he has just been to see his doctor for a check-up, but never gets the time (or the nerve) to find out the results. Wisting is the grandson of one of Amundsen's companions on his polar expedition; he's a widower, living on his own but has started a relatively new relationship with Suzanne, someone he met during a previous case. Wisting has a journalist daughter, Line. At the moment she is working on a long feature article about the effectiveness (or not) of prison sentences as a deterrent. To this end, she plans to interview half a dozen or so convicted criminals who have served their time. One of these is a man from the Stavern area who shot and killed a policeman 20 years ago - hence Line is staying with her father while she prepares for and undertakes the interview. Wisting remembers the case well, and rather dislikes his daughter's project, though wisely does not share this view with her.

Over time, some more feet are discovered as well as another missing person. The police team of Wisting and three colleagues follow up on the disappearances, and are pleased when some relationships become apparent: most of the disappeared had some connection with a particular care home, and two of them had children who subsequently married each other. By dint of questioning and DNA tests, the police discover the identity of the owner of the first foot, and of a third one when that is also washed up on shore, but cannot work out who the second one belongs to.

The novel continues its three themes: the details of the feet investigation; Wisting's thoughts and personal concerns; and Line's progress towards her article (and her romantic relationship with Tommy, an ex(?)-criminal, of whom Wisting disapproves but again sensibly keeps his own counsel). In terms of the case, the pacing of the novel is superb, in that more information comes to light gradually, so one experiences a sense of the police's frustration without being bored at their lack of progress, and also one feels one can have a shot at trying to put the pieces together (which I sort of grasped in outline but did not manage to work out the precise details). Suffice it to say that the eventual explanation for the feet and their state works very well, and the outcome of the mystery is very well put together.

I loved everything about this book: the characters of the introspective, dedicated Wisting and his independent daughter are both interesting (as are the other police officers, though they are sketched quite briefly); the plain-speaking style of writing (and translation); and the way in which many small elements combine to create a complete picture, including input from witnesses and some scientific analysis of ocean currents that leads to the crucial breakthrough. What is slightly annoying for the first-time reader is that this novel is sixth in the series though first to be translated. Much of the back-story of Wisting and Line is therefore lost (though we are told some elements of it). This matters less as the book continues, as the plot increasingly takes over, but detracts slightly from the introductory chapters. The translation itself, so far as I can tell, is naturalistic and faultless.

As an aside, there are several similarities between this novel and the Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell (though Horst is Norwegian and Mankell Swedish). On the basis of this first novel to be translated, I'd say that Horst's novel is every bit as good as his Swedish predecessor. I emphasise that the two series are distinct, and distinctive, of course.

I would also add that the "feet" part of the plot in Dregs is very well done, a good balance of realism, lack of sensationalism and pragmatic straightforwardness. This contrasts considerably with the "severed feet" theme used in another recent book, Fred Vargas's more fabular An Uncertain Place.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Most Useless Part Of Something, 24 April 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dregs (Kindle Edition)
Dregs: the most useless part Of something.
On-line dictionary

When you hear the word, Dregs, you think of 'dregs of society . These are the scoundrels, the most inhumane of our criminals, who seem to be past rehabilitation. This novel sees their side from many angles.

From the beginning, Jorn lier Horst, the author, gives us the axim of the crime, two left shoes, with feet intact to the ankles, that turn up on the beach. William Wistling, is the Police Inspector of this Norwegian city. Five of the victims as it turns out were all part of a resistance group in WWII. They all had weapons, and it is their family's reluctance to expose these weapons that is most interesting. At the same time, Wistling's daughter, Line, a journalist, is researching the experience of criminals on their prison experience. Did this experience inhibit further crime? Wistling does not believe in coincidences, and they abound in this novel. I, too, believe coincidence gives us clues, and it was not too long before I realized who the murderer was. It took me until the end if the novel to find out why and how.

I particularly liked the character of Wistling, he is intelligent, kind and full of misery. He is a well rounded individual, but more of a loner. He often works on gut instinct, and he is most often correct. His superior is a publicity seeking man looking for his next promotion. Wistling suffers him with poise and 'rolling of the eyes'!

'Dregs' seems to be part of a series, and it seems that this is not the first book in the series, but the first one to be translated.I like this police procedural, it offers a different side of the law, and gives us more of a look into the humanity of the characters.

Recommended. prisrob 04-24-13
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dregs---Jorn Lier Horst, 29 Aug. 2011
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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Although 'Dregs' is the sixth novel featuring the Norwegian
Chief Inspector William Wisting,it is the first to be translated
into English.Whilst it is disappointing not to be able to start
at the beginning of the series,this is an enjoyable police
procedural novel,skillfully written by an author who is also
a serving policeman in Norway.
In the course of a week,four different severed left feet,each
in a training shoe,are found washed up on the sea shore.Wisting
is initially mystified ,but slowly as the investigation progresses,
a darker side to the town and its inhabitants is revealed.
'Dregs' is a novel of considerable breadth,not only is it well
plotted,but the author conveys a vivid sense of place,provides
full characters,and engages with social and philosophical issues,
such as the nature and purpose of punishment. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This was good, 26 July 2013
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I liked this this book - slow-paced and detailed. If you like watching Wallander on TV, this is along those lines. A mystery, and details, that all slowly reveal themselves as the story and the characters unravel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty solid police procedural, 6 Aug. 2014
Another good book by an author I suspect will become a favorite of mine.

I think the beauty of the book is its plot development as JLH keeps us thinking about possible scenarios or explanations. In other words, he grabs readers from the outset and then has us pretty much invested in how things develop. That we have two likable protagonists also helps (the policeman and his daughter, who is a reporter). The fact that the cases they work on come to intersect probably stretches coincidences too far, but nothing is too outlandish.

I think the translation effort was fine in that it seemed to convey all messages well. That said, there were too many typos for my liking. The character names, at times, also intimidated, but I’m not sure I should have expected an easier ride when reading foreign material.

I like JLH’s writing style and the way he develops both his characters and plot. This is not outstanding crime fiction, but it is good and I'll be going back for more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ScandiTec, 2 Jan. 2013
By 
Mrs. B. Daly "Bebbie" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Well written. Interesting plot. Characters are quite well developed. Good scenic descriptions. An enjoyable and engrossing story with a plausible conclusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sallyt, 25 April 2014
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Really enjoyed this book, great storyline and interesting characters. Would definately like to read more of this series.
Another winner from Scandinavia .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Enjoyable Scandinavian Find, 28 Sept. 2014
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This was not edge of the seat drama but it was certainly a good read. I was drawn in by the various characters and the somewhat intricate plot.
I agree with the views of some other reviewers, that Wisting is reminiscent of Wallander. He doesn't rush round 'willy nilly'. He thinks a lot and arrives at the solution.
I shall be trying the next instalment in this series, which is a recommendation in itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good story with the potential of being even better..., 4 Sept. 2014
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Mr. N. C. Morgan (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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Not a bad read. In the later novels, you can see how the characters develop. The story was well developed, although the story almost went off at a tangent with one of the minor characters interviewed by Line. The opportunity for more red herrings could have been exploited with some more subplots, but on the whole a pleasant read. Perhaps the author could revisit the story and develop it further...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK crime procedural, 29 Nov. 2011
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Amazon Customer "maria2222" (London) - See all my reviews
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This is book 6 in Jørn Lier Horst's series about homicide detective William Wisting, but the first one to be translated into English. I much prefer to read books in order as there are invariably things that we miss out on when the 5 previous instalments are left out... I do, however, understand - and reluctantly accept - that the publishers have to ensure that it is financially viable to translate the novels and maybe this in their opinion was the best book to sell the series.

Expectations are always high when I catch wind of new Norwegian authors. The level is usually high with writers such as Holt and Nesbo leading the field - and Joern Lier Horst's book is not bad, but it's not great either. One problem for me has already been mentioned above with the order of the books, but another issue is that it's a very good basic Scandi crime novel, but it doesn't bring anything new to the genre and for me the sympathetic but otherwise uninteresting Wisting doesn't quite warrant the main role. His journalist daughter is my mind much more interesting as she seems to like bad guys and sticking her nose in where she is sure to get into trouble.

Mr Horst obviously know his stuff as a police man and it IS worth a read, but there is still some way to reach the level of the top authors.

3.5 stars
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