Death Deserved by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger (tr. by Anne Bruce) #BookReview #BlogTour

Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series…

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it.

I'm thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Death Deserved by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger today. Huge thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

With the proliferation of celebrity vloggers and reality-tv stars, it seems that it's never been easier to become famous but it's often quoted that fame comes at a cost and that's never been more true than in Death Deserved where a serial killer's targets are all well-known faces. These victims don't seem to be linked in any obvious way, yet they each become part of somebody's deadly game of cat and mouse...
Sonja Nordstrøm's no-show at the launch of her tell-all autobiography attracts the attention of celebrity blogger, Emma Ramm and in the constant race to be the first to break the big stories, she hopes she may hit the headlines with the disappearance of the former athlete. Celebrity journalists are often considered to be rather parasitic and so it was refreshing to see that far from being a stereotypical caricature, Emma is a beautifully nuanced character who is fiercely ambitious but also principled and not without her own vulnerabilities. There are more personal moments in the book for her too; her relationship with her young niece is especially touching and I was intrigued by the tentative chemistry between her and Danish journalist, Kasper.
Emma first meets the middle-aged Alexander Blix at Sonja's house but the reader is introduced to him at the start of the career as he and his partner are called out to a domestic incident. It's a tense beginning to the book and leaves us with a cliffhanger which isn't fully answered until later in the story; although there are hints along the way. Blix may not have progressed as far up the career ladder as his former partner, Fosse but his past has followed him so he isn't surprised when Kovic, the new officer he is assigned to work with says she recognises him. I really liked Blix, he is clearly a determined, principled man who doesn't always follow the rules and the balance between giving readers enough information to engage with him while not revealing everything is struck perfectly here. His personal life is touched on during the course of the novel, too as his daughter, Iselin is experiencing her own brush with fame as a contestant on hit TV show, 'Worthy Winner'.
The killer may be acting out an extreme form of attention-seeking but maybe in some way or another we are all guilty of being complicit in feeding the desire to be noticed. I thought the inclusion of the game show was inspired because it demonstrates how addictive and arguably morally compromising such programmes are. Although the contestants are willing volunteers, perhaps our enthusiasm for discussing and ultimately judging their choices doesn't reflect well on society's apparently insatiable appetite for celebrity news and scandal. The identity of the murderer isn't revealed until the latter part of the novel but with each new death, the jigsaw is slowly pieced together. However, these sneaky authors cleverly placed a few red herrings which eventually showed I wasn't quite as clever as I'd thought! The sense of tension ebbs and flows throughout the book as the chapters following Blix and Emma's investigations are interspersed with more nerve-wracking scenes involving the actions of the killer. The excellent pacing keeps the story tense throughout but it becomes almost unbearable towards the end as Blix faces a terrifying race against time to stop the murderer before it's too late.
I have read - and loved - several of Thomas Enger's previous books but Death Deserved was my long overdue introduction to Jørn Lier Horst's writing. I am always amazed when two authors work together and this pair have really hit the jackpot with a novel which kept me completely engrossed from the nail-biting beginning until the heart-stopping conclusion. I must also commend Anne Bruce's brilliant translation as she has ensured the writing flows naturally throughout. I'm absolutely thrilled that these two hugely talented authors will be writing more together; Death Deserved has all the thrills, shocks and piercing social commentary I love and this is contemporary crime fiction of the very highest quality.

Death Deserved is published by Orenda Books, it is available now as an ebook and will be out in paperback on 23rd February 2020. Purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Authors

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.

Jørn Lier Horst's social media links:  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Website
Thomas Enger's social media links: Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Website

About the Translator
Anne Bruce has degrees in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University covering both Nynorsk and Bokmål, classic and modern texts, written and spoken Norwegian, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish. She has traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia on lecture and study visits, and undertaken translation and interpretation for visiting groups from Norway. She has translated Wencke Mühleisen’s I Should Have Lifted You Carefully Over, Jørn Lier Horst’s Dregs, and Anne Holt’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst.


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