The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum

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The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Psychological suspense combined with a police procedural makes for page-turning reading. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Harvill Secker
ISBN: 978-1846551703

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Reinhardt and Kristine Ris were in the habit of taking a walk in the woods at the weekend. The man they passed as they set off on the latest walk stuck in Kristine's mind, as he walked with a limp and resembled Hans Christian Andersen, but it didn't prepare her for the shock of finding a young boy's body, laid out on a mound. He had no trousers on, and – well you can imagine the rest.

The talk around the schools and playgrounds was of a man in a white car who cruised around, occasionally talking to the children but doing nothing more. It still left people unsettled. It was the beginning of a nightmare for Inspector Konrad Sejer and his assistant Jacob Skarre when another child disappeared within a matter of days. Jonas August – the dead child – had been stick thin and asthmatic. Edwin – the second child to disappear – was morbidly obese. With no clues as to what had happened to Edwin and no nearer to solving the death of Jonas August, Sejer and Skarre wonder where to turn next.

Karin Fossum never lets you down. She manages to combine the skills of Ruth Rendell as a writer of psychological suspense and a very good police procedural all in one book. There's no melodrama, no literary device – just superb, controlled writing and a wonderfully crafted plot.

I'm always impressed by the way that Sejer and Skarre appear to play a more minor role than is common in police procedurals, where the investigator is the story. Here we see how the discovery of the body affects Reinhardt and Kristine Ris, accentuating his more unreasonable and bombastic side and driving a wedge between the couple. Jonas August's mother will never forgive herself for what happened to her son. She could have collected him from his friend's house but she allowed him to walk the short distance home. That decision changed her life.

Edwin's mother, on the other hand, will feel guilt when she laughs, but there is a man there to support her. He wasn't too fond of Edwin and it might be that he has more than a passing interest in his mother's money. There's the gay teacher at the local school who loves nothing more than to have the boys come to his home. How will the gossip affect him and his partner? Is there ever such a thing as innocence in a situation like this?

I read the book in a single sitting, drawn in, wanting to know not just what had happened to the boys, but how all the other people involved would emerge, as something like this affects an entire community.

As with other Fossum books the text is translated from the original Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund. I can't comment on the accuracy of the translation but the book reads as though it was originally written in English.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then any book by Karin Fossum will be a pleasure to read. We can also recommend The Man in the Window by K O Dahl.

Buy The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum at

Buy The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum at

Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer novels in chronological order


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