on 14 August 2011
'Burned' is the opening novel of a proposed series.It features
Henning Juul,who returns to work as a crime correspondent for
for an internet newspaper.He has been burned and scarred in a
fire that also killed his young son.This leaves him plagued by
guilt,remorse and suffering from OCD.He prefers to avoid human
contact as far as possible .Yet underneath these traits lie a
Juul's first assignment back at work following the fire,is to
report on a case of a young female student who has been found
in a tent,murdered--stoned to death.The police are working on
the basis that this is a Sharia law revenge killing,but Juul
has other ideas.
This is a promising ,entertaining debut,that makes the rest of
the series worth looking forward to.
on 23 October 2012
I'd not come across Thomas Enger's work before but was offered a review copy of the next book in this series. The reviews looked good and so I decided to explore this one before the next one. First let me say that I did enjoy this book a lot. The character of Henning Juul, a reporter with quite a recent major loss of his son in his life, is a great character. I'd almost recommend the book solely on this basis of his character and he is, for me, one of the better Nordic noir detectives. On his first day back at work after a long compassionate leave leave he finds himself reporting on the murder of a young student in what might be an "honour killing". He finds himself caught up in the action that follows to quite extreme degrees.
The irritations? Well the characterisation of one of the lead police officers on the case is really very poor to me. He spends a large part of his time speculating of various sexual possibilities with his female partner - far too stereotypical for me and irritating. I also found the writing style a little awkward at times. The apparent trend to write everything in the present tense may give immediacy at times but it feels inappropriate at other times. However in the end I really enjoyed the read and found it quite hard to put down. I'm certainly look forward to reading Pierced.
on 26 April 2016
Henning Juul is returning to work as a journalist after a fire in his flat which killed his son. Mentally and physically scarred Juul has to cope with changes at his online newspaper, his boss is a former mentee of his and he is working in partnership with the man his ex-wife is seeing. Quickly Juul becomes involved in a murder story, a young woman is found in a tent, stoned to death, flogged and with her hand chopped off. The police immediately think that this is a ritual crime linked to Sharia law and committed by her Pakistani boyfriend. Juul is not so sure...
I am embarrassed to say that this book had been sitting unread for several years which is a real pity. The translation is excellent in the fact that it keeps a real lyricism to the writing but seems to flow incredibly smoothly. The plot is very tight, there are numerous twists and turns and a nicely unresolved resolution. By looking at what seems a ritualistic crime Enger highlights the tensions between immigrants and the local populace in Norway, the crude approach of the police exemplifies this. Juul is sympathetic character with an excellent backstory and this has the makings of a really gripping series of novels
on 3 August 2016
Fantastic. Loved every minute. The main character, journalist Henning Juul is an interesting character with a thirst for truth and justice. Having now read the first 3 books, I am hooked. I was hooked after a couple of pages of book 1. Not sure if there are already others written or translated but if not, I hope there soon will be. Author Thomas Enger has given us a set of books which follow on from one another closely, though each has its own crimes and mysteries to be solved. There is, too, a running personal mystery of Henning's which unfolds through these three books. They are an exciting read, though not all surface action, set in Oslo. It was hard to put the books down and carry on with the rest of life. I seldom read books from the same author one after another, but in this case I was compelled to. Now I've finished them, I feel bereft! Henning Juul is not a character in a book, but a real person to me. :)
If you like Scandi-Crime this is a must. An fact, if you enjoy any crime fiction you must read this. I am off to look for more by Thomas Enger now.
I welcome this stunning crime-fiction debut from Norway. Henning Juul is a journalist who hasn't worked for two years while recovering from a doubly traumatic incident, more details of which are gradually revealed throughout the book. After the seemingly obligatory prologue (which I personally find an unnecessary device) we follow Henning's thoughts and experiences as he begins his first day at work since the tragedy. Journalism has changed during this relatively brief time; Henning works for the website 1-2-3-News where the emphasis is on speed and "hits" rather than on accuracy or in-depth reporting.
Barely has Henning had chance to get used to the swipe cards and the new coffee machine, let alone the fact that his ex-intern is now his boss, when he is sent to a press conference about a bizarre murder. As he arrives, he receives a couple of other shocks in which his personal concerns intrude into his professional life. Listening to the scanty details of the press conference, he muses on one of the presenting police officers who was the school bully when Henning was young - can Henning hide his dislike and convert him into a useful source?
The murder itself is of a film student and has racial overtones as the mode of death is one that leads the police and the media to suspect an Islamic connection. Henning is not so sure; his doubts are confirmed by his visit to the university and his conversations with some of the dead woman's friends. The police very rapidly home in on a suspect, the victim's boyfriend, but Henning's researches, and his renewed contact with his "deep throat" from the old days, lead him to the view that the man is innocent.
The main pleasures of this assured novel are the character of Henning, who initially one suspects is a typical damaged loner but in fact turns out to be more individual than that; and the descriptions of the modern newsgathering operation, with its tensions between ethics and sensationalism. Henning is an old-school journalist who relies on his own ability to break and write a good story to stay one step ahead of the superficial time-saving culture he finds himself in. The plot itself is solid, with a twist in the tail, though some elements (for example the predatory, sexist thoughts of Henning's police contact about his attractive female colleague) are rather too repetitive without being developed. Nevertheless, one can see the author laying down elements and hints for future novels, for example Henning's past cases; his relationship with his sister, a justice minister; his interactions with his colleagues; and the "shock" question asked in the final pages.
Burned is not a novel that goes over the top in an attempt to woo the reader. It is relatively understated, not least in its characterisation of Henning, a man who has his own moral code (of course, as this is a crime novel!), in his case thoughtfulness, intelligence and consideration for others laced with a sense of humour as well as a rather compulsive but understandable obsession with batteries. Henning does the opposite of hog the limelight, a device that works well in some aspects of the plot, for example the way that witnesses and potential suspects trust and confide in him, but perhaps less well in others, such as his dealings with some supposedly hardened criminals. This minor criticism did not detract from my enjoyment of this excellently translated book, even though it is written in the present tense. I very much look forward to reading more about Henning Juul - not least to see if I am right in my suspicion about the identity of his "deep throat", but mainly just to read about his own style of journalistic investigation.
on 25 January 2015
Thomas Enger's debut novel and the first in a proposed series is a very good read. It follows the story of Henning Juul, a Norwegian journalist recently returning to work after a lengthy absence. Enter has written the book well, giving us a great insight into ahemning's state of mind and his thoughts and feelings. The story moves along quite nicely, even if at times it seemed like it was a little too clunky, one event after the other. However there was a fantastic albeit risky payoff at the end of the novel, an amazing twist that I definitely didn't see coming, and from the last forty pages onwards the story takes a definitive but exciting turn, keeping me hooked right to the end. Whether you will like the ending or not will be a meter of personal preference though. All in all, I can't wait to read more from Thomas Enger.
There is something in the Scandinavian climate that makes its residents to write such great mysteries. And although a real boom of Scandinavian crime novels happened, each of them in an original way weave a web of brutal crimes, complex characters and a whopping twists and turns.
Thomas Enger is a Norwegian author of crime novels that have been translated into more than 20 languages, and 'Burned' is the first novel in the series that introduces a reporter Henning Juul.
Henning Juul returned to journalistic duties after two years of rest and the first day in the office he will receive the news of the brutal murder of a young student Henriette Hagerup. Scary way how this murder was committed reminds the police officers to hudud punishment, criminal law mentioned in the Koran, and the prime suspect, because of his origin, became her boyfriend Mahmoud Marhoni.
Along with the police investigation, Henning will make his own that will lead him to Henriette’s colleague Anette with whom she worked on a movie script. But what happens would be surprising both for him and the police - the script is perfect match with events that took place during Henriette murder...
Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK), the Norwegian Broadcasting station had declared Enger a new Nesbø, however although both with their artful creation of tense crime novels deserve the very top of the European charts, their main characters are different in many ways. While Harry Hole is troublesome and selfish, Henning, who experienced terrible family tragedy, is lonely and unhappy man, whose scars on his face are not even close to those he carries inside.
The brutal scenes, complex characters and even more complex relationships are the foundation of fierce action reader will go through in one breath. It is not pathetic, still enough realistic, detailed while at the same time concise, dark, cold even tedious.
Its end, as expected, is unexpected, but for the true fans of action definitely desirable.
on 26 May 2013
My first venture into Scandinavian novels is a dark crime/thriller. The main character is Henning Juul, an Investigative Journalist, who returns to work after a two year break, having been badly scarred by a fire which also killed his son. His first job is the murder of a student, who was "stoned" to death in what appears to be a ritualistic killing. Juul unwittingly gets drawn into the investigation, and finds himself, literally in the firing line.
Cleverly written, fast-paced, Enger keeps you guessing right to the end.
The characters are well written, gradually bringing the main "hero" out of his shell, with the final acceptance of his son's death, and the desire to find the person(s) responsible. Cue next instalment....looking forward to it.
on 9 July 2011
Henning Juul, who has been badly scarred in a fire (which also killed his son) finds himself investigating the murder of a young woman because he doesn't believe the prime suspect is guilty.
I liked the main character and it is a bit different to be following a journalist rather than a detective. Enger has worked in journalism and his knowledge comes across without becoming boring or too technical. I wish there had been a bit more development around modern day journalism, how crimes are reported in the media and the mantra 'sex sells' as it would have been interesting to see Juul's reactions to this after his recent tragedy.
There are plenty of twists and turns in the story, however, for me too many. I felt that the credibility of the story was hit somewhat in the effort to keep the twists coming and that they had not always been thought through. For example, the first and main twist is revealed when we learn the storyline of a short film that the victim was involved in. The storyline of the film has quite a few plotholes and I could never work out the reason behind the victim and her friend writing it as the explanation given didn't really make sense. Plot twists need to be able to stand up as a credible part of the story and not just be a device to turn the story on it's head.
There were also some small sections written from the point of view of one of the police detectives which were pretty pointless as they didn't reveal much of the investigation but instead dwelt on the sexual infatuation the detective felt for his female colleague.
On the whole I found this Scandanavian crime thriller to be rather hit and miss. It's an easy read and the series has potential but I feel a lot of work still needs to be done if Enger wants to write more than just average stories.
on 7 February 2013
Finally I might have found another writer to keep me going before the next Jo Nesbo . Thomas Engers writing is quick and pacing and unexpected [ the personal and the political] plus Henning Juul seems like the like of troubled tragic hero I can enjoy . The setting of the internet newspaper gives a slightly different twist to the usual police proceedures . Another bleak slice of Oslo , I enjoyed it so much I ordered the second book straight away . this is not a neat cosy thriller , where all the endings are tied and the good live happy ever after , love it x