Cursed was published on 21st January 2017 by Orenda Books and is available to buy here
What secret would you kill to protect? When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, 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 the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. 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 Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.
Taut, chilling and unputdownable, Cursed is the fourth in the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned by always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and marks the return of one of Norway’s finest crime writers. FOR FANS OF Stieg Larsson, Gunnar Staalesen, K.O. Dahl, Jorn Lier Horst, Johan Theorin and The Bridge
Nordic noir is always welcome here. Thomas Enger brings us the fourth in his highly successful Nordic series, featuring investigative journalists, Henning Juul and his ex-wife Nora.
Jumping into Cursed without having read the previous three books in the series is not advised. I would have preferred to have engaged more strongly with the Henning side of the novel. I found myself struggling at times to work out what had driven Henning and Nora apart, as well as why he was so strongly following up leads on the terrible fire in his flat. Therefore I recommend getting your hands on the first books and devouring them.
Cursed introduced me to Henning Juul. Henning was working as a journalist, but is on sick leave. He is struggling to come to terms with the death of his child. This seems to be longstanding and unhealthy. As the book plays out, we see that his life has been devastated by the murder. He has lost everything. He appears damaged and rather reckless. He is prepared to take risks to discover the truth. He wants justice. His ex-wife Nora seems slightly more stable. She has moved on emotionally from Henning and is in a relationship with his colleague, Iver. She becomes involved in a missing person case, of someone she knew years ago. Hedda Hellburg has gone missing, having not returned from a retreat. How does it all link to the death of a Swedish man in the woods?
With a captivating storyline, a couple of rather curious protagonists with their tragic history and some sharp and bleak writing, it is easy to whiz through Cursed. It was a surprise to see journalists at the forefront, with a very different perspective on the missing person case. These were investigative journalists, with a keen sense of ferreting out the truth. No one can read this book without getting a profound understanding of the death of a child, for Hennings and Nora. Their relationship had a gorgeous sense of realism, as they still cling onto each other. Their story was as fascinating as finding out the truth about Hedda Heldburg.
This is Nordic crime to appreciate. A bleak world to devour. A beautiful puzzle to unravel!
Thomas Enger’s website http://www.thomasenger.net/
Thomas Enger is on Twitter https://twitter.com/EngerThomas
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