The acclaimed author of Burned is back with more heart-stopping suspense in a gritty and thrilling sequel that pits Norwegian crime reporter Henning Juul against an international crime ring.
Oslo’s top investigative crime reporter Henning Juul is still haunted by the death of his son. Every time he looks in the mirror, he sees the scars from the horrible fire that killed his six-year-old boy. So when he receives a message from convicted murderer Tore Pulli, he can’t stop himself from following up: “If you find out who set me up, I’ll tell you what happened the day your son died.
Please don’t let the fact that the blurb above says “sequel” make you disregard this book because you haven’t read the first book Burned because I haven’t either and I didn’t have one iota of a problem getting into this story and following the plot.
Henning Juul is an investigative journalist in Oslo whose son was killed in a fire at Henning’s home that has left him scarred and disfigured. Little by little , Henning has come back from the brink of death and now, two years later, has returned to work at the online magazine 123News. Soon after returning, he receives a call from convicted murderer Tore Pulli, a previous enforcer turned property developer, who asks Henning to help prove his innocence; in exchange, he will tell him who was behind the fire at his flat that killed his son. Henning jumps at the offer and begins his own investigation into the murder for which Tore Pulli was convicted. Suffice it to say, there are ruthless people who aren’t too thrilled that Henning is turning over stones and kicking up dust and it’s not long before he realizes his own life is at risk. So many questions start to haunt him…Has he made a deal with the devil? Does Tore Pulli really know who set fire to his flat or is he stringing Henning along to get himself out of prison? What was Henning investigating before the fire that someone wanted to silence him for? Since he has no memory of the weeks prior to the fire, Henning knows that if he can answer this third question, he’ll find out who’s responsible for his son’s death.
I know I’ve focused so far on Henning’s investigation of Tore Pulli, but it’s important to note that there are several threads to this story which bring us a wide variety of compelling characters, all of whom had intriguing backstories and storylines. I literally had no idea how or if they’d all tie in together but rest assured, Enger has a plan and it’s masterfully executed! While the plot is complex, not once did I feel lost. In fact, I was so enthralled by the characters and the layered mystery that I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough. At one point I thought to myself…stop trying to figure it all out and sit back and enjoy being completely snowed over by the addictive plot and perfect pacing! This brings me to my need to highlight Enger’s brilliant use of short chapters with cliffhanger endings. I just couldn’t stop reading as I HAD to know how things would turn out from one chapter to the next..the result was a binge readathon in which I finished this book in about a day and a half. And that included a day of traveling involving 2 flights, 2 airports etc in which my kindle was basically stuck to my face.
Pierced has MANY strengths in addition to the ones I’ve just discussed but the one I really want to emphasize is Enger’s ability to bring Henning, along with a cast of other memorable characters to life. For better or worse (some are truly frightening), they were realistic and multidimensional. I read somewhere that when you find a character that you connect with, root for, sympathize with whatever, then you, the reader, will follow that character wherever he/she goes and that’s how I feel about Henning Juul. He could’ve been folding laundry, driving through McDonald’s etc and I would follow him because that’s just how connected I am to this character. Of course, something exciting would probably end up happening to him while he folded the laundry, but you get my point. This book, in particular, and the series overall have everything I look for in a crime story and I can’t wait to see what Enger has in store for us in the future!
**Pierced is book two in a planned 5 book series featuring Henning Juul. Be sure to check back on Wednesday when it’s my stop on the blog tour for Thomas Enger’s newest novel, Cursed!!