Sunday, 19 February 2017

'Cursed' by Thomas Enger

"She tried to breathe, tried to break away, but the drowsiness came creeping over her, and everything got darker and darker and more diffuse"

I'm so pleased to be included in the Cursed blog tour this week, thank you Orenda Books for the review copy! This is my first Thomas Enger novel and my first introduction to his protagonist Henning Juul; Norwegian journalist and rising Nordic Noir star.

"What secret would you kill to protect?" asks the cover which sets this novel up really well. The refreshing thing for me was that Cursed is less police procedural and more character driven. The plot drives forward at pace thanks to the casting of journalists, Henning and Nora, rather than police detectives. Their deadline driven form of investigation is a great technique Enger uses to keep readers on the edge of their seat.

Henning and Nora have history having been in a relationship together that ended in the death of their child. This grief, "a virus you can never quite kick, not completely" both binds them together and drives them apart creating a unique aspect to their partnership. The scenes with Iver, Nora's new boyfriend are especially well written; "Henning saw discomfort in Iver's eyes; they told of stories that he didn't want to hear".

Cursed is a strong genre piece that contains murder, family secrets, remote forest locations and all the Nordic Noir tropes we've come to love! Enger's Norway is less visceral than Jo Nesbo's but is chilling and dark nonetheless. Middle class family secrets blend naturally with the gangster underworld of Oslo's rain soaked streets.

At times Enger's fast pace compromises the writing which can be curt and pithy - I'm a sucker for more elegant prose! That said, this is crime filled page turner that doesn't disappoint.

I read this novel in paperback in part on the harbour arm in Margate

Cursed by Thomas Enger published by Orenda Books, 276 pages.      

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