New information on an old case comes back to haunt seasoned Norwegian detective William Wisting in Horst’s somewhat plodding but intriguing series installment (Closed for Winter, 2014, etc.).
As is often the problem with Scandinavian imports, this is the eighth book in Horst’s series but only the third available in English, which leads to the feeling that the reader has missed plot details and character nuances by jumping in so late in the game. Regardless, Wisting is a taciturn but empathetic hero who’s forced to revisit a 17-year-old murder case when new DNA tests cast doubt on a key piece of evidence. Rudolf Haglund was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Cecilia Linde, a verdict that depended heavily on incriminating cigarette butts found at the scene. Now Haglund’s attorney has evidence to suggest that the cigarettes in question were planted at the scene by the police in order to secure a conviction in an otherwise weak case. As the lead investigator on the Linde case, Wisting takes the brunt of the blame and is suspended pending further inquiry. In a rather obvious move, he makes sure to take the box of Linde case materials home before surrendering his badge. His daughter, Line, a crime reporter for Verdens Gang, wants to help prove her father’s innocence but is wrapped up in the seemingly random murder of a middle-aged man out walking his dog. It doesn’t take a crime-fiction connoisseur to work out that there’s likely a connection between these ostensibly unrelated crimes, making the final reveal—while not wholly dull—less exciting.
While not on par with other established Norwegian crime writers, Horst delivers an enjoyable if not entirely original read.