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A Novel

Henning Juul has been off of work since a fire scarred him and killed his 6 year old son. He's a bit nervous about starting back but it's time. What he gets his first day back though is a lot more than he expected!

A young woman has been murdered. Juul is asked to help cover the case by his new boss, a boss he helped train several years ago. The man he's to work with is his ex-wife's new boy friend. Still Juul is an experienced reporter and though his skills may be rusty, he's going to write a good, solid story.

Where this story leads him is a strange twisting path. He's going to need to stay in contact with the police as bullets fly and more people turn up dead. Who's behind this strange case?

This book is a debut novel for Thomas Enger. It was originally published in Norway and has been published in 15 countries.

When I started this book, I felt something got lost in the translation. The story seemed to drag and was very hard to get into. Still, I slogged on and finally the pieces began to come together and the story picked up its pace.

The chapters are various lengths. Some are as short as a page or two while others are several pages. Each chapter contains a bit of the action and when the venue or thought processes moves, the chapter ends and a new one begins. Until you get use to this style, the story feels chopped up. Eventually though, it begins to flow naturally.

The character of Juul is done very well. His thoughts are shared. The process he uses to research a story is laid out. His family, dysfunctional as it is, becomes a small piece of this story too. The story revolves around Juul and most of the chapters are from his point of view.

Figuring out the whole picture of the initial murder is interesting. While it initially seemed fairly straight forward, it quickly became very complicated and complex. It's not until the end of the book, when you think everything has come together, that you learn that there is still more layers to be reveled.

The descriptions of Oslo were done well. Mr Enger used many local landmarks, streets and shops to give someone with knowledge of Oslo a visual of where things were happening. However, if you are not familiar with Oslo much of this will be useless information and mean nothing to you.

Now, after finishing this book, I'm faced with how to rate it. The writing style is not one that I truly appreciate yet it eventually worked with this story. The plot and characters were multi-dimensional and the twists in the plot made what could have been a very common place story much more interesting. The translation work was well done with no major errors that I could tell. Still, I couldn't say that I was riveted to the story.

If you can stay with this story, there is a great plot but maybe something is lost in the translation.

Book Blurb for Burned

Uncovering class divisions, racial conflicts, and tangled emotions, this gritty, shocking novel of suspense heralds the arrival of a major new talent.

Henning Juul is a veteran investigative crime reporter in Oslo, Norway. A horrific fire killed his six-year-old son, cut scars across his face, and ended his marriage, and on his first day back at the job after the terrible tragedy a body is discovered in one of the city's public parks. A beautiful female college student has been stoned to death and buried up to her neck, her body left bloody and exposed. The brutality of the crime shakes the whole country, but despite his own recent trauma - and the fact that his ex-wife's new boyfriend is also on the case - Henning is given the assignment.ΓΏ When the victim's boyfriend, a Pakistani native, is arrested, Henning feels certain the man is innocent. This was not simply a Middle Eastern-style honor killing in the face of adultery - it was a far more complicated gesture, and one that will drag Henning into a darkness he's never dreamed of.

Night Owl Reviews Dec, 2011 3.50