by Kain Fossum
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0547577524
August 14, 2012, 256 pages.
One mild summer evening, a young couple are enjoying dinner while their daughter sleeps peacefully in her stroller under a tree. When her mother steps outside she is stunned: The child is covered in blood.And the "pranks' do not stop here. A woman reads her obituary in the newspaper, making her wondering if , as odd as it sounds, in fact she actually is dead and leaving her shaken even when she decides she is not. A hearse arrives at a house to retrieve a body, but the man who lives there while terribly ill, is not dead.
Inspector Sejer is called to the hospital to meet the family. Mercifully, the child is unharmed, but the parents are deeply shaken, and Sejer spends the evening trying to understand why anyone would carry out such a sinister prank. Then, just before midnight, somebody rings his doorbell.
No one is at the door, but the caller has left a small gray envelope on Sejer’s mat. From his living room window, the inspector watches a figure disappear into the darkness. Inside the envelope Sejer finds a postcard bearing a short message: Hell begins now.
And then things take a much more serious turn, leaving more than one person dead, in truly horrible ways. Can this somehow all be tied together...or is there more than one villain on the loose.
I have read several of the books in Fossum's Inspector Sejer series and this is a very good one, perhaps my favorite. It starts off with that very disturbing incident in the book's description, with the bloody child, and then moves along at a very steady pace to an ending that left me saying "Oh, wow!".
As always with this author, it is a very well written book, with a number of interesting stories and as always, an intriguing look into the mind of the very interesting Sejer. And then we have the 'doer', whose identity is revealed early in the book. This is not a who-done-it..that we know. But what he thinks, how things are escalating and, most disturbing, where it will all lead, is the real draw here. He has had a quite troubled life and knowing what he thinks, seeing how kind and gentle he is with his elderly, infirmed grandfather, we can even start to feel rather sorry for him. But then other aspects of his thoughts, dark and violent, make us wonder just how far he might go. And what might happen when someone has no sense of right and wrong, no concern of what might be the consequences of his actions.
Quite creepy and rather unsettling..and if that sort of thing appeals to you, this is a book you will certainly enjoy.