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He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) Hardcover – July 6, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; First Edition edition (July 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151010919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151010912
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Fossum's impressive psychological police procedural, her second to be published in the U.S. to feature Insp. Konrad Sejer (after 2004's Don't Look Back), a troubled youngster claims to have seen escaped mental patient Errki Johrma, a schizophrenic rumored to have left a string of corpses in his wake, in the vicinity of a brutal murder. Sejer himself becomes a crucial witness to another crime—a daylight bank robbery that turns into a hostage situation. Blaming himself for not acting on his suspicions of the man who held up the bank, Sejer races to prevent further bloodshed. The gripping plot takes another sharp turn when the possible killer—Johrma—is identified as the robber's captive. Fossum succeeds in evoking sympathy for all her characters while maintaining the conventions of the fair-play whodunit. Her detective's shy, slow courtship of the psychiatrist responsible for Johrma's care is patiently and convincingly integrated into the plot. Fossum's harrowing journey inside Johrma's warped mind elevates this above the pack and bodes well for future efforts. (July 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A superb writer of psychological suspense"
(Marilyn Stasio New York Times)

"Fossum raises interesting questions throughout...That she doesn''t pretend to have all the answers only adds to the force of her story."
(Wall Street Journal)

"Easily one of the best new imports the genre has to offer"
(Baltimore Sun)

More About the Author

KARIN FOSSUM is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series. Her recent honors include a Gumshoe Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mystery/thriller. She lives in a small town in southeastern Norway.

Customer Reviews

Love all of the Inspector Sejer mysteries.
Linda R. Swanson
Karen Fossum has created a quiet but effective detective as her main character, and the supporting cast is always very interesting.
Linda A. Nix
It is slow and plodding taking much too long to build a story and I'm not sure what the story was to be.
Robin G. Taber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By John W. Chuckman on December 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am not a regular reader of mysteries, but my wife has encouraged me to read a number of interesting writers in this genre. One of my favorites is Norwegian writer, Karin Fossum.

He Who Fears the Wolf is a story with her appealing character, Chief Inspector Konrad Sejer, a quiet, thoughtful man with unusual powers of observation and a somewhat melancholy personal life that keeps him immersed in his work. The contrast with gun-waving, bellowing American detectives is notable and welcome. In this character, as in so many of Ms. Fossum's characters, there is a deep sense of humanity and decency.

In Wolf, Ms. Fossum creates another wonderful character, Erkki Johrma, an insane-asylum escapee. Ms. Fossum always displays an interest in the disturbed and rejected of society, but with Errki she has worked something of a miracle.

This story contains what must be one of the most memorable series of scenes in mystery books, to say nothing of literature. It involves the escape of a bank robber and a hostage, and there is a quality here that reminds me of Don Quixote - pathos, absurdity, and subtle humor combined with a very sympathetic view of the human condition. I cannot give any details without spoiling it for you.

Ms. Fossum is also a poet, and her descriptive powers are considerable, but she manages her descriptive passages with quick brushstrokes. She never creates a burden for those who like mystery books to move along briskly. Some might even regard her descriptions of bloody scenes as a bit overpowering.

Please don't think this is an "artsy" book despite its literary qualities, this is a genuine murder mystery, well-paced and gripping. It is a book you will not want to put down.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
From the dramatic opening paragraphs, in which a person believes that his face is sliding off and his insides are falling out, Fossum captures the bizarre inner worlds of several characters barely holding onto their sanity. Errki Johrma, a 24-year-old who has been committed to a residential lockup for the disturbed, escapes the residence in rural Norway and seeks solitude in the woods. There he sees an elderly woman, Halldis Horn, working outside her cabin.

Suddenly the point of view shifts, and a 12-year-old boy, Kannick Snellingen, runs into the police station saying that Halldis is dead, with a hoe embedded in her face, and that he has seen Errki lurking nearby. Kannick, like Errki, is also disturbed, living in a home for children with behavioral problems. A sudden shift to the next morning, and Detective Inspector Konrad Sejer, after noting a strange person entering the bank, soon hears a gunshot and learns that it has been robbed and a hostage taken--Errki.

The intersecting worlds of Errki, the robber (known as Morgan), Kannick Snellingen, and Inspector Sejer and his assistant, Jacob Scarre, create a fascinating series of psychological portraits and interactions. Morgan and Errki, hiding out together in an abandoned cabin, try to avoid the police and stay alive, remaining wary of each other but starting to communicate about the voices Errki hears from The Coat and a spirit named Nestor. Kannick, who wants to become a national archery champ, wallows in the attention he gets from his peers at the home, describing the gory condition of Halldis's body in exchange for candy.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When an elderly woman is found murdered on the front steps of her house shortly after a schizophrenic escapes from the nearby mental institution, there is a witness, an overweight young man who lives in a home for boys, Kannick Snellingen. Kannick runs to inform local law enforcement and Chief Inspector Konrad Sejer is called to investigate the crime, but gets sidetracked by a bank robbery/ hostage situation that occurs moments after Sejer sees a suspicious character entering the bank. The security tapes of the robbery are of poor quality, but it appears that the hostage taken by the bank robber is none other than Errki Johrma, the escaped mental patient, his long black hair and feminine gait fooling the Inspector into assuming the hostage is a woman.

Set in Norway, this translation is the second of Fossum's novels to be published in this country, following Don't Look Back, again featuring the enigmatic Inspector Sejer, a widower and his young detective, Skarre, as they ponder the strange connections of this most bizarre case. Certainly the bank robber, Morgan has a problem, saddled with a mentally unbalanced companion who is completely unpredictable and may have murdered an elderly woman, Halldis Horn. Sejer seeks guidance from Errki's psychiatrist, Dr. Struel, a woman who intrigues the policeman, striking a spark of curiosity in a man who has buried himself in his work since the death of his wife. Dr. Struel paints a different picture of the troubled young man, explaining the dynamics of Errki's illness and his emotional vulnerabilities.
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