26 September 2016

Review: I'M TRAVELLING ALONE, Samuel Bjork

  • first published in English 2015
  • translated from Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund
  • ISBN 978-0-857-52251-1
  • 474 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

International bestseller Samuel Bjork makes his US debut, a chilling and fast-paced thriller in which two detectives must hunt down a vengeful killer--and uncover the secret that ties each of them to the crime

A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree and dressed in strange doll's clothes. Around her neck is a sign that says "I'm traveling alone."

A special homicide unit in Oslo re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. Holger's first step is to persuade the brilliant but haunted investigator Mia Kruger, who has been living on an isolated island, overcome by memories of her past. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number "1" carved into the dead girl's fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. Could this killer have something to do with a missing child, abducted six years ago and never found, or with the reclusive religious community hidden in the nearby woods?

Mia returns to duty to track down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer. But when Munch's own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer's sinister game is personal, and I'm Traveling Alone races to an explosive--and shocking--conclusion.

My Take

This is another of those novels to come out of Scandinavia that tries very hard to convince the reader that you have missed out on earlier titles in a series. Perhaps we have, but it appears to me that this title was first published in Norwegian in 2013 and then translated into English in 2015. It is actually the first of two books in the Mia and Munch series. But we are certainly told that Mia and Munch have "history", and references are made to incidents that occurred in the previous year.

This tactic seems to be becoming more common recently and makes you wonder whether some of these writers are actually breaking into their own streams of consciousness, or whether they have unpublished manuscripts depicting earlier events, and that eventually they will publish these retrospectively.

The plot is macabre and won't appeal to all. Six year old girls disappear and are then found in strange places dressed in doll's clothes. Part of the puzzle is to discover who these actions are directed at and flashes of intuition from Mia Kruger provide the answer.

Mia Kruger appears in character to be very similar to Stiegg Larsen's creation Lisbeth Solander although perhaps not as autistic.

In the long run this plot appears to have a bit of everything, almost a pot pourri of what can be found in Scandinavian crime fiction.

My rating: 4.i

About the author
Samuel Bjork is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Ă˜ien. 

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