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Where Monsters Dwell: Odd Singsaker #1    by Jørgen Brekke order for
Where Monsters Dwell
by Jørgen Brekke
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's another excellent Scandinavian mystery writer, Jorgen Brekke. Where Monsters Dwell was recently released in North America, and his Dreamless was also just released in hardcover.

The series is mainly set in Trondheim, Norway, starring police inspector Odd Singsaker, who is just recovering from surgery for a brain tumor as the novel opens, and is disturbed by missing memories. Another key player is Richmond homicide detective Felicia Stone, who hides a dark secret that has long troubled her. They meet after similarities (flayed corpses) are noted in the cases they start investigating.

Felicia's gruesome killing occurs at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. The victim is Efrahim Bond, who is excited about a historical discovery that he has made about a Norwegian serial killer, expecting it to bring him fame and fortune. In Trondheim the murder occurs at the Gunnerus Library and the victim is a female librarian. Suspicion immediately falls on the library's reclusive head of security, Jon Vatten, a man who was previously investigated after the disappearance of his wife and son.

But there's much more to this story than simply the murder investigations. Brekke takes readers back and forth in time, linking his modern crimes to themes in European history in fascinating ways - this time we follow the exploits of a monk who was abused as a child by a beard-cutter in the 1500s. Brekke takes the same approach in his second book, Dreamless. Though this can be a little distracting, it also adds a great deal of depth and interest to the novels.

And there's more. Another character who will reappear, free spirited librarian Siri Holm, a mystery reader, offers insightful musings on 'the rule of thirds' in the crime novel. Try to apply it to this one. Where Monsters Dwell is a masterfully written mystery with an action packed finale and a delightful final twist in the ending. This is a new series I intend to follow.

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