Inborn by Thomas Enger book review
My turn today on the blog tour
I have read and enjoyed other books by Thomas Enger in this Nordic Noir genre.
This has to be one of the finest crime fiction books I’ve ever read
In the opening chapter of Inborn, schoolboy Even Tollefsen is on the witness stand in the Romerike district court located in Eidsvoll, Norway. He’s giving evidence in a case of murder. The murder of Johannes Eklund and Mari Lindgren, two of his school classmates on October 18th, the opening night of the annual school theatre show in their local senior school in Fredheim, a small town in Norway. Both teenagers were found dead in the school
We are given no clue about Even’s presence on the witness stand. Is he the accused or is he a witness? In court and throughout the book Even narrates his side of events, but is he an unreliable narrator, or is he telling the truth?
Mari, a budding school journalist was Even’s girlfriend who finished with him the night before her murder. Johannes was the singer in the band performing at the show. Mari had interviewed him after the show for an article she was planning on writing.
Even is the main suspect in the killings. Everyone thinks he did it. He was apparently spotted on the school premises the night of the show, despite him denying he was there.
Even lives at home with his mother and younger brother Tobias. Even’s mother has drink problems and isn’t always around for the boys. Their father was killed in a car accident when they were young boys. His brother Imo, the boy’s uncle, a pig farmer visited the family every day and was supportive to them all. Tobias is an acne suffering teenager who spends a lot of his time in his bedroom and has secrets to hide.
Yngve Mork is the investigating officer in the case. And just to add a bit of surreality into the events, Yngve just happens to be haunted by his recently deceased wife Åse who is ever present in his life, passing comment about the case and his handling of it. Vibeke Hanstveit and Therese Kyrkjebø are the other officers on the case with Hanstvelt being the most senior of them all and Therese is pregnant.
Tic-Tac, the long term janitor at Fredheim High was the one who found the bodies. The janitor has his own entrance at the other side of the school which was possibly used as a short cut to escape for the killer.
Fredheim was small town, there were only about 7,500 inhabitants so there was a claustrophobic feel to it all and the murderer must have been from this small community. As Even gives his evidence on the stand at court, the story moves back and forth between timelines until eventually we find out the disturbing truth.
I had several suspects in mind and had an inkling of who it was which proved to be MASSIVELY WRONG and totally threw me off my perch.
Brilliantly plotted with interesting characters and seamless transitions between the timeline of events. The writing is clear, concise and fluid. No meandering about, just the facts that are slowly presented to us bit by nerve-wracking bit. I couldn’t leave it alone. The book was absolutely transfixing and it will be one of my outstanding books of the year! A special nod to the translator Kari Dickson and Karen Sullivan from OrendaBooks for spotting the possibilities of this book both as a YA work of fiction and in another version for adults.
About the Author
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. Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.
Follow him on Twitter @EngerThomas, on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thomas.enger.77 or visit his website thomasenger.net
Features & details
• Publication date: 22 Jan 2019
• Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS
• Language: English
• ASIN: B07F94YB33
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