Burned by Thomas Enger

Burned is the first in a new series of crime novels by Norwegian author Thomas Enger. This book is set in Oslo and introduces us to Henning Juul, a journalist working for 123news, an internet-based newspaper. When we first meet Henning he is trying to come to terms with the tragic death of his son, Jonas, in a house fire. On his first day back at work after a long absence, he is asked to cover the story of a young woman who has been found brutally murdered in a tent on Ekeberg Common. Henning’s research leads him from Oslo’s Muslim community to the world of film-making, but will his investigations make him the killer’s next target?

This series has a lot of potential and I’m pleased I could be there at the beginning rather than coming in halfway through the series which is what usually seems to happen to me! Although I didn’t think it was an outstanding book, there was a lot to like about Burned and I’m pleased to have discovered another Scandinavian crime writer whose work I enjoy. With its short chapters and fast-paced plot the book was difficult to put down and despite its length was a quick read.

There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot which helped to keep me interested, but while plot twists can be an important element of a good crime novel, I thought there were too many towards the end of the book. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what was supposed to be happening and I started to get slightly confused. The writing doesn’t always flow very well either, though this could be due to the translation (the book has been translated from the original Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund).

I enjoyed the descriptions of daily life in an internet newspaper office and the processes involved in researching, writing and publishing news items. I’ve never worked as a journalist but it all seemed quite realistic to me (which is to be expected as I believe Thomas Enger has experience in journalism himself). I also really liked Henning Juul and found him an intriguing character. I was left thinking that there must be a lot of aspects of his history and his personality still to explore, and that is why I’m already looking forward to the publication of the second book in the series.

I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

5 thoughts on “Burned by Thomas Enger

  1. Anbolyn says:

    This sounds like an admirable, if imperfect, first novel in this new series. I used to love foreign crime novels, but haven’t read very many in the past few years. Maybe this is one to consider for a revival of my interest!

    • Helen says:

      I used to read crime novels all the time, then went through a few years where I stopped reading them completely. This year I’ve read quite a few and am definitely getting my interest back again!

  2. Mel says:

    Thanks so much for pointing out this author. I really enjoy the Scandinavian crime novels also. I am in the middle of The Redbreast by Norwegian Jo Nesbo and can scarcely put it down. I will be sure to make note of Enger, and I completely agree, it is nice to start with a series at the beginning. I often seem to come to them late, and start with the wrong one (as with The Redbreast, which I think is the third in the series) and then have to go back to the beginning.

    • Helen says:

      I definitely prefer to read a series in the correct order, even if the first book isn’t the best. It annoys me when I discover I’ve started reading in the middle! I haven’t read any of Jo Nesbo’s books yet but I’m sure I will eventually. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying The Redbreast!

  3. The Book Whisperer says:

    I like to have a good crime recommendation 😉 I have been put off reading scandanavian crime for a while though due to the fact that they are crawling out of the woodwork at the moment but I think I am missing out so I need to give some a go, I think.

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