DEAD JOKER by Anne Holt


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The murder of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s wife sends shock waves through the Oslo law enforcement community as police officers and attorneys find themselves in unexpectedly uncomfortable roles.

Sigurd Halvorsrud may be shaking with grief, but he can unhesitatingly name the intruder who beheaded his wife. It was Ståle Salvesen, the disgraced CEO of Aurora Data, who presumably attacked Doris Flo Halvorsrud in revenge for the prosecutorial inquiries that drove his business into bankruptcy. The only problem with Halvorsrud’s testimony is that according to several competing witnesses, Salvesen killed himself three days earlier by leaping from a bridge to the dark waters below. Without a corpse to establish Salvesen’s death for certain, the Oslo police aren’t quite sure how to handle the case. Chief Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen places herself in a particularly awkward position when she interrupts an interrogation just as the Chief Public Prosecutor seems at the point of confessing to the murder himself, giving him a chance to calm down and think better of what he’s saying. Naturally, her interference spells trouble for Hanne, but it’s not the worst trouble she faces. Cecilie Vibe, her live-in partner of almost 20 years, has been diagnosed with a colon tumor, and everyone in the District Headquarters seems to have found out about it before the famously standoffish Hanne (Death of the Demon, 2013, etc.). Before she can close the book on her troublesome case, Hanne will quarrel with Cecilie, receive unexpected comfort from her old friend Billy T., establish an uneasy rapport with a murderous vigilante who targets child molesters, and face a second decapitation.

Once again, Holt spices her procedural, whose irresistible setup isn’t matched by its anticlimactic solution, with urgent news of her heroine’s personal life that eventually eclipses the mystery.

Pub Date: July 26th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-2326-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2016


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