Series: Inspector Konrad Sejer #11
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on August 25th, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, International Mystery & Crime, Thrillers, Crime
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via Edelweiss
A new addition to the captivating Inspector Sejer series, the first sinceThe Caller, from Norway's finest crime writer
Carmen and Nicolai failed to resuscitate their son, Tommy, after finding him floating in their backyard pond. When Inspector Skarre arrives on the scene, Carmen reports that Tommy, a healthy toddler with Down syndrome, wandered into the garden while Nicolai was working in the basement and she was cleaning the house. Skarre senses something is off with Carmen's story and consults his trusted colleague, the famed Inspector Sejer. An autopsy reveals Tommy's lungs to be full of soap.
When Sejer and Skarre revisit the couple, Carmen, an epileptic, changes her story, confessing that she'd been knocked unconscious by a seizure while bathing Tommy. When she came to, she found him drowned in the tub and, horrified and frightened, threw him into the pond.
But Skarre and Sejer's doubt is not appeased and the case is reopened. What more could Carmen be hiding? And what lengths will she take to cover her guilt? As Carmen's own family starts to doubt her, Skarre and Sejer work to find the truth.
This story is a bit sad. The prologue tried to put me in a funk as it describes what it is like for someone to drown. The Drowned Boy had some really unlikable characters and a few good guys. This book had me really just hoping for justice for little Tommy.
The synopsis for this story really gives everything away. I am so glad I don’t read synopsis much, I skim them and go with my gut based on the cover. It’s a real scientific method.
Here is what I would have said for the synopsis:
Detective Sejer has just been notified of a suspicious drowning. A 16 month old named Tommy, with Down’s Syndrome wandered away from his home and drowned in a nearby pond. The parents are beside themselves with grief. But the mother Carmen, isn’t acting right. It is up to Sejer to figure out if this was a terrible accident or foul play.
Okay, that may not be long enough to be legit, but at least it doesn’t spoil it for the reader.
On to my review…
I actually enjoyed this story. The detective Sejer is an interesting character. His dog and him enjoy a kind of sad existence, and so he looses himself in his work. He is a good detective. When his good friend, Inspector Skarre, initially interviews the couple to see what happened, he gets a bad feeling about the mother. His instincts turn out to be 100% correct. The book switches between Sejer, Carman, and Nicolai’s POV. Carmen just wants what she wants, she makes no apologies for the person she is. Her parents have supported her her whole life and now they support her and her husband. Nicolai (the father of the drowned boy and Carmen’s husband), is at a pivotal point in his life. He just lost his son, and he can barely face his wife. He can’t face that maybe she did this on purpose.
Between those three characters, we get a pretty good tale about good and evil. The boy in this story has down syndrome. His condition is explored as either a factor in his demise, or an irrelevant piece of information. This story is bit depressing except for the very end, which gave me pause to imagine what happened next. I especially wondered about the way Nicolai and Carmen interacted with each other. There are people “in love” that live like this and it is just sad. Carmen was really a nasty person.
I should mention that this book is like #11 in a series about the detective, but it is a complete stand alone. It was also originally written in another language, but it was still a good mystery. I have to say, I did guess who the guilty party was in the story, but I still loved how the author revealed it.