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Customer Review

87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REVIEW OF KARIN FOSSUM'S HE WHO FEARS THE WOLF BY JOHN CHUCKMAN, December 18, 2005
This review is from: He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) (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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 25, 2009 8:04:23 AM PST
Karin Fossum is a genius, but not of the comfortable kind. She has as firm a grasp on the thought processes of the insane as anyone you'll ever read! There are great characters in her books who will stick with you, maybe forever.

Posted on May 27, 2012 5:54:16 AM PDT
A. M. Kelly says:
Mr. Chuckman: You didn't need to tell us that you are not a "regular reader of mysteries". Had you ever read American writers like Dennis Lehane, Elmore James, Michael Connelly and others, you would realize how absurd your knee-jerk description of the "gun-waving, bellowing American detective" is.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2014 8:13:37 AM PDT
avid reader says:
Amen!
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