by Thomas Enger
trans. Kari Dickson
What secret would you kill to protect? When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.
Grieving for her father, Hedda Hellberg fails to return from an Italian retreat. Hedda’s husband soon discovers all is not what it seems as his wife may never have left Oslo, the retreat having no record of her visiting. Moreover, she appears to be connected to a death; the possible murder of an old man shot in the forest during hunting season.
Crime reporter Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife Nora, also a journalist, joins the search for Hedda, a former friend/roommate of hers, after the missing woman’s husband asks her for help. Henning and Nora are on a trail that takes them into the secret past of one of Norway’s wealthiest families, and it turns out that Hedda is not the first member of her family to have vanished.
Henning and Nora lost a son in a house fire and a revisiting of that tragedy has painful implications for the pair. The feelings of grief and loss are never too far away and pull the reader in. Nora, who has a new partner, has tried to deal with her past whereas Henning remains obsessed with finding his son’s killer.
This is an unravelling story of affairs, cover ups and consequences that leads to a dark European history.
Cursed has complex characters and a multi-layered plot that make for an intriguing read, I look forward to reading more in the Henning Juul series.
About Thomas Enger:
Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndod) in 2009, which became aninternational sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo's underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.