BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW: CURSED By Thomas Enger (translated by Kari Dickson)

I’m beyond thrilled to welcome everyone to my stop on the blog tour for Thomas Enger’s CURSED which was published Jan 21,2017 by the wonderful Orenda Books

 

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Blurb

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to another persodeath. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex- wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Norway’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. When their lives are threatened, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history. Chilling, gritty and unputdownable, Cursed marks the return of one of Norway’s finest crime writers.

 

MY REVIEW

This week appears to be Thomas Enger week on my blog as I just reviewed Pierced (book 2) on Monday and today the spotlight shines on his new novel Cursed. I have to say I couldn’t be happier to highlight such a fantastic author and his books, I would highly encourage all of you reading this to put him at the very top of your must read lists…you won’t be sorry!!

Cursed starts off with a prologue that left me breathless! Thomas Enger propels us into the story with an event that I wasn’t quite prepared for, but was an absolute zinger of a way to start off the novel.  We are then introduced to Nora, an investigative journalist who works for Aftenposten and is also Henning Juul’s ex-wife. If you’ve read any of Enger’s previous books you know Henning Juul is also an investigative journalist working for 123News and that he and Nora split up after their son was killed in an arson fire (meant to kill Henning) while staying with Henning at his flat. If you haven’t read the previous novels (I’ve only read Pierced) fear not because Enger does an amazing job of cluing readers in on the backstory of Henning and his ongoing investigation into who set fire to his flat, killing his son.

The story moves forward at breakneck pace, alternating between Nora’s perspective as she investigates Hedda Hellberg’s disappearance and Henning’s as he delves further into his investigation of the possible parties responsible for the death of his son. Both Henning and Nora will come to find that their own lives are at risk as they uncover long buried secrets and lies that have led certain people to kill to keep buried….and who will undoubtedly kill again to make sure they stay buried.

What Enger does flawlessly is put the reader into the hearts and minds of Henning and Nora by immersing us into each and every scene with such precise, vivid prose and dialogue that we can’t help but feel a connection to these characters. I was deeply invested in both Nora and Henning’s investigations and felt compelled to keep turning the pages as quickly as possible because I could sense the imminent danger surrounding each of them. The use of short chapters also helped to create additional tension.  Little by little,  the threads of each investigation start to entangle and what is left is nothing short of a masterfully plotted web of deceit, betrayals and murder.

I’m going to be honest here…my detective skills are nowhere near the level needed to have accurately put together this jigsaw puzzle of a plot and I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Thomas Enger is at the TOP of his storytelling game with this novel. Not since reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series have I felt so riveted by characters and plot…until now. And the ending…utter perfection! Needless to say, I will be anxiously awaiting 2018 and book 5; in the meantime, I’ll be going back and reading Burned (book 1) and finishing Scarred (book 3).

5/5 Stars

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Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

 

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Many Thanks to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books and Thomas Enger for my copy of CURSED and including me on the blog tour. I’m happy to provide an honest review

CURSED was published January 21,2017 by Orenda Books and can be purchased at AmazonThe Book Depository and Orenda’s Ebookstore

Make sure to stop by all the fantastic blogs on the tour!

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Praise for Thomas Enger

‘Thomas Enger is one of the finest writers in the Nordic Noir genre, and this is his very best book yet. Outstanding’ Ragnar Jónasson

‘Slick, compelling and taut, Thomas Enger combines a sophisticated layers of mysteries with an intensely scarred hero embarked on a tragic quest. A dark and suspenseful blast of Nordic exposure’ Chris Ewan

‘The Killing took us by surprise, The Bridge was a good follow-up, but the political drama Borgen knocked spots of both. For readers who enjoy these Scandinavian imports, this novel is a treat … the dialogue is sharp and snappy, and the characters seem to come alive in this sophisticated and suspenseful tale’ Jessica Mann, Literary Review

‘It has real strengths: the careful language, preserved in the fine translation, and its haunted journalist hero … An intriguing series’ Guardian

‘A powerful new voice and a writer I will follow with great interest’ Raven Crime Reads

‘Suspenseful, dark and gritty, this is a must-read’ Booklist

‘This promises to be a crime fiction series worth watching’ Library Journal

‘The careful revealing of clues, the clever twists, and the development of Henning Juul and the supporting characters make this a very promising start to a new series’ Suspense Magazine

‘Superbly compelling … the characters leap right off the page, and the relationship between them is as twisted and complex as the story itself’ Shotsmag

‘Thomas Enger writes a murderous thriller that begs comparison to Jussi Adler-Olsen or Stieg Larsson. With Cursed Enger has proved that he definitely belongs in the top ten of Scandinavian authors’ literaturmarkt.info

‘Unexpected and surprising … like a fire in the middle of a snowfall’ Panorama ‘Thomas Enger is like a bottle of very good red wine. With time he just gets better and better.

Cursed is a top-class crime thriller from a top-class author’ Mokka

‘A fascinating addition to the Scandinavian Noir genre. I look forward to the series unfolding’ Crimesquad

Cursed is visceral and heartfelt – a gripping deep-dive into the secrets that hold families together and tear them apart’ Crime by the Book

‘Spine-chilling and utterly unputdownable. Thomas Enger has created a masterpiece of intrigue, fast-paced action and suspense that is destined to become Nordic Noir classic’ Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

 

 

REVIEW: PIERCED By Thomas Enger (translated by Charlotte Barslund)

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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.

 

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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!

5/5 Stars

 

**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!!