“Unhinged” by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst – Book Review

translated from the Norwegian by Megan Turney

This police procedural, set in Oslo, Norway, is the third to feature policeman Alexander Blix and blogger/journalist Emma Ramm.

Blix is 48 years old and a Detective Chief Inspector of the Homicide division of the Oslo police. Shortly after his career began he was involved in a fatal shooting that has now become part of the police academy’s syllabus.  Since then, his partner at the time, Gard Fosse, has risen through the ranks and is now Blix’s boss. While Fosse is a ‘by the book‘ type of policeman, Blix is more ‘by the gut‘. Blix is not ambitious for career advancement because he loves the investigative side of his work and would hate to leave that for a desk job.

On a personal level, Blix is divorced and the father of daughter named Iselin, who is in her early twenties.

Blix’s work partner, Sofia Kovic, is twenty-seven years old and has only been working with Blix for just over a year.

Iselin Skaar, Blix’s daughter, is twenty-three and has recently began studying at the Police College.

Emma Ramm is in her late twenties. A celebrity blogger/journalist for news.no, she has ties to Alexander Blix. Ties that make Blix feel somewhat responsible for her. Emma is an interesting character in that she keeps herself to herself and has a medical condition that she hides from everyone except her sister.

It was great catching up with the protagonists of this outstanding crime series for a third time.

In this installment, Blix’s partner Sofia Kovic is murdered, execution style, in her apartment. Blix’s daughter, who rents a room from Sofia, was also injured from the gunman but escaped. Sofia had been trying to reach Blix by phone shortly before she was killed…  Because of Blix’s close connection with both Sofia and Iselin, he is told that another detective, Abelvik, will lead the case.

We jump forward four days. Iselin, Blix’s daughter, is fighting for her life in hospital. Blix is being interrogated by internal affairs for his fatal shooting of Timo Polmar.

What could have caused Blix to break so many rules and jeopardize his career? He didn’t know the man he shot and is even uncertain he shot the right man. AND, Will Iselin pull through?

The book covers some fascinating themes such as parental guilt, corruption, abduction, and grief. The characters wonder ‘what if’ they had made different, better, choices. We are made to realize once again that one impetuous decision can alter the course of a life. The consequences of some actions are irreversible.

I am eternally amazed when I learn that two authors have co-written a book. The fact that two minds can cause a seamless narrative is astounding. Add in the fact that this book is written by two authors AND is a translation, makes the achievement even more astounding.

Ingenious plotting, formidable tension, and great characterization mark this novel as a crime thriller a worthy read. All in all, this is an outstanding crime series which I shall follow avidly.

Relationships are shattered, and tested in the most profound ways. The denouement was both suspenseful and included a cliffhanger which makes me wonder… just how are these authors going to write a follow-up to “Unhinged”?

Unhinged” is an absorbing and engrossing crime thriller that I can highly recommend to all fans of the genre.My review of the first novel in this series AND my review of the second novel in this series.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Orenda Books via Karen Sullivan.

Published: December 17, 2021    Publisher: Orenda Books

ISBN: 9781914585005   ASIN:  B09HSVPY8P     276 pages

Unhinged” is the third crime thriller jointly written by two internationally acclaimed Norwegian authors.

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of five 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 28 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). Killer Instinct, another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017. Rights have been sold to Germany and Iceland. Thomas Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

Follow him on Twitter @EngerThomas or on Facebook www.facebook.com/thomas.enger.77

Jørn Lier Horst is a former Senior Investigating Officer at the Norwegian police force. He made his literary debut as a crime writer in 2004 and is now considered one of the foremost Nordic crime writers. His William Wisting series of crime novels has been extremely successful, having sold more than 1 million copies in Norway. The series has also been translated into thirty languages. Dregs, sixth in the series, was published in English by Sandstone Press in 2011. The next book, Closed for Winter, won Norway’s Booksellers’ Prize in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Riverton Prize. The Hunting Dogs, won both the prestigious Golden Revolver, for best Norwegian crime, and The Glass Key, which widened the scope to best crime fiction in all the Nordic countries, in 2013. He has a beloved dog named Theodor.

Follow him on Twitter @LierHorst or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JornLierHorst/

Megan Turney is originally from the West Midlands, and after having spent several years working back and forth between the UK and the Hardanger region of Norway, she is now based in Edinburgh, working as a commercial and literary translator and editor. She was the recipient of the National Centre for Writing’s 2019 Emerging Translator Mentorship in Norwegian, and is a published science fiction critic. She holds an MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies and English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, as well as an MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies from the University of Manchester.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Nordic noir, novels in translation, Orenda Books, Scandinavian and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “Unhinged” by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst – Book Review

  1. Pingback: #BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘U’ #GreatReads #ReadingForPleasure | Fictionophile

  2. Carla says:

    Wonderful review, Lynne. This series sounds very taut and gripping.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: “Unhinged” by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst – Book Review @OrendaBooks @EngerThomas @LierHorst #BookReview #BlixAndRamm #NordicNoir – Imobiliare 24

  4. Pingback: “Unhinged” by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst – Book Review @OrendaBooks @EngerThomas @LierHorst #BookReview #BlixAndRamm #NordicNoir – Book Library

  5. Kelly says:

    Fantastic review, Lynne! I love this series too.


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