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The Water's Edge (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) Hardcover – July 4, 2009
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
From Publishers Weekly
Near the start of Fossum's chilling sixth Inspector Sejer mystery to be made available in the U.S. (after 2008's Black Seconds), Reinhardt and Kristine Ris are out for a Sunday walk when they stumble across the partially clothed body of seven-year-old Jonas Løwe and see a man limping away in the distance. When Insp. Konrad Sejer and his young partner, Jacob Skarre, begin interviewing the inhabitants of the small town of Huseby, they learn that a man in a white car has been spotted lurking outside the local elementary school and was also seen on the road where Jonas was snatched. In a particularly disturbing segment, they interview a convicted pedophile who eagerly suggests they're looking for a first-time offender. Splitting the narrative among the police investigation, the Rises' crumbling marriage and the nameless killer, Fossum sets in motion an inevitable collision that's as unsettling as it is unexpected. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PRAISE FOR KARIN FOSSUM
"With sharp psychological insight and a fine grasp on police procedure, Fossum is easily one of the best new imports the genre has to offer."The Baltimore Sun
"In spare, incisive prose, Fossum turns a conventional police procedural into a sensitive examination of troubled minds and a disturbing look at the way society views them . . . A superb writer of psychological suspense."The New York Times
The Story The latest novel from Norwegian author Fossum to feature Inspector Sejer begins when a couple out on a Sunday hike discover the body of a child. TV Pitch Imagine the shambling, gray-haired, unflappable Sejer as the Norwegian Columbo. Lowdown Foosum's concise, elegant writing perfectly captures the panic of a small town gripped by a heinous crime." -- Entertainment Weekly
Fossum takes an insightful, mostly sympathetic view of everyone in the novel, including a disarming sex offender who does his best to help the police understand the mind of a pedophile - helpful advice when a second boy goes missing. And while this happens to be an exceptionally fine story, Fossum's real narrative appeal, readily apparent in Charlotte Barslund's translation, rests on her ability to see the humanity in even the most wretched soul.
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At the Water’s Edge is a tale of Maddie, a woman who is married to a well-to-do man who is trying to prove his worth. Essentially, Maddie is forced to go along on a “monster quest” with her husband Ellis and his best friend Hank. They are in search of the Loch Ness Monster because years ago, Ellis’s father ruined the family reputation by faking pictures of the creature. While away, Maddie comes to face many monsters, the least of her worries being Nessie.
The book is set against a backdrop of World War II, which only enriches and enlivens the text. Gruen seamlessly weaves the war into the story, giving the book an even stronger depth due to the history behind it. The plot of the book doesn’t center around the war, but the war certainly supports and highlights the themes of the work. From Ellis’s failure to enlist in the war to bombings to mentions of concentration camps, Maddie feels the impacts of this devastating time in history as she suffers her personal battles.
I found that I had absolutely nothing in common with Maddie from a social or cultural sense. The setting was far beyond my reach of personal knowledge, and Maddie’s presence in an affluent society was also very different from my own life. However, this is what I loved most about the book. Because it was such a different concept with foreign settings, places, and customs, I was entranced by the work. I was fascinated by the inundation of culture in the work, by the foreign places and characters. It made Maddie’s self-realizations even stronger because she was finding herself in a new and strange place. I liked watching her change because of the setting. I also liked exploring a different area of the world, a different time period, and a different way of life than what I am used to.
The book is told in first person, which also gives the novel a depth that is unmatched in many novels. Maddie’s complex emotions about the war, friendships, and her marriage are clearly revealed through the narrative pattern, allowing the reader to struggle along with the emotions of the tale right along with Maddie.
This novel isn’t just about a monster quest set in the 1940s, the Loch Ness Monster, or marriage. It’s about friendship, about moving on past tragedy, and about how we don’t have to let the past own us. There are many tragic events in the novel that keep it exciting and fast-paced. Even though it is told from first person point-of-view, it isn’t just an emotional look at the events or a psychological, introspective novel. There is a lot of action in the novel and many events that keep the reader intrigued.
Gruen has truly created another masterpiece equivalent if not stronger than Water for Elephants. Her ability to weave history with fiction while also exploring deep women’s issues makes her one of the greatest writers of our time.
Lindsay Detwiler, author of Voice of Innocence
Maddie, Ellis and Hank flee scrutiny of Ellis and Hank's medical refusal from military service across the Atlantic, through U boats, to Scotland to unsully the family name from previous disgrace.
What happens from there is a little predictable but just exactly the type of story I was in the mood to read. Five stars for an original plot construct if not the most unconventional ending.