The Drowned Boy – An Inspector Sejer Crime Thriller

The Drowned Boy by Karin Possum opens with a powerful description of drowning that catches your attention and quickly draws you into this short, well-written Inspector Sejer crime novel.

Karin Possum is an award-winning Norwegian author. Many of her crime novels — including other titles featuring Inspector Sejer — have been translated into English.

The Drowned Boy is a psychological thriller. The story gets underway when Chief Inspector Sejer is called to investigate the drowning of a young child with Downs Syndrome. The child’s mother claims he wandered out and fell into a pond at the end of their garden. But something about how the mother tells what happened doesn’t ring true and from the off, Inspector Sejer and his colleagues suspect that there is more to this drowning than meets the eye.

I haven’t read any of Karin Fossum’s other novels. Perhaps had I been familiar with Inspector Sejer from the other titles in the series, I might have warmed to him earlier in The Drowned Boy than I did.

Instead, I found the initial suspicion of the mother somewhat off-putting and was not sure what to make of the investigation.   Perhaps readers who are familiar with the Inspector Sejer character might not react in the same way. Disbelief suspended, I settled in to enjoy the read.

Soon, it became apparent that the mother’s behaviour was unusual and the plot became engrossing. Suspense builds gradually in this short novel as Inspector Sejer sets about finding the truth.

At just 258 pages, The Drowned Boy by Karin Possum is a fast read. While the plot could have been stronger, there is enough to it to keep you turning the pages. Sometimes a short read is just what you need and I enjoyed this one!

[Disclosure: An advance review copy was provided via Netgalley for the purpose of this review.]

Chain of Events — fast-paced thriller by Swedish author Fredrik T Olsson

For anyone who enjoys a good Swedish thriller, Fredrik T Olsson is a new name to add to your list. Swedish fiction has come in for a lot of attention since the runaway success of  Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Readers who like a fast-paced thriller are unlikely to be disappointed by Chain of Events. That said, the plot reminded me more of The DaVinci Code than it did of Larsson’s book.

Cryptography

Olsson  grabs attention quickly and maintains suspense throughout.  Journalist Christina Sandberg’s ex-husband disappears from hospital while being treated for a suicide attempt. A cryptologist with expertise in military code breaking, William Sandberg has special skills. Those skills are urgently required by a top secret international organisation. But who is behind the organisation? Why are they intent on withholding information that might help William crack the code? And how is William Sandberg’s experience linked to the killing of a homeless man in a fake ambulance in Berlin?

Meanwhile, Janine Haynes a student specialising in Sumerian symbols has also disappeared. She, too has skills and knowledge that are valuable to the organisation.

Time is short and it becomes clear that William and Janine are working on a code that could have drastic consequences for humanity.

The tension never lets up as the stakes get higher and higher in this fast-paced thriller. Chain of Events is an exciting and entertaining read and an impressive debut novel for Swedish screenwriter Fredrik T Olsson.

Chain of Events by Fredrik T Olsson is published by Little, Brown Book Group UK. ISBN: 9780751556853. [Disclosure: An Advance Readers Copy was made available free of charge via Netgalley for the purpose of this review]