From Dusk til Dawn

Jørn Lier Horst, When It Grows Dark (2016, Når Det Mørkner, translated by Anne Bruce, 2016)

When It Grows DarkSo, I wonder if Lier Horst has painted himself into a corner – it seems as if he’s producing a Wisting novel every year and – spoiler – Wisting’s daughter Line has had a daughter at the end of Ordeal. The pattern of Wisting’s investigation intersecting with Line’s journalism (but it takes most of the novel for a police officer and a journalist to spot this) is likely disrupted by baby Ingrid being in a sling. Indeed, I think Line only has a cameo in this volume, which I suspect we’d call a novelette in sf terms.

And it’s also a flashback.

Wisting gets to give an address to the new police cadets, but just before he is handed a letter addressed to him from a dead woman, who he had spoken to thirty-three years earlier on one of his first cases.

Wisting is married (this is Ingrid’s first appearance in English) and parent with her to twins, Line – future journalist – and Thomas – future military man, first appearance in English, although he appears in Wisting. He clearly tries to be a hands-on father, but he also wants to progress onto being a detective. A robbery that he helps foils leads him to a car from 1925, abandoned in a barn. And the car is a crime scene – complete with bullet holes – that points to an unsolved hijacking of a large amount of kroner back in the 1920s. Largely side-lined from the present-day robbery, he begins to solve the historic crime, without the DNA, mobile phone records and determined daughter.

Could the cases be connected?

I think we get into his head more than in the previous books, and we can see why he is so determined, as well as his interest in historic cases. He brings with him an innate sharpness of detection, but we know from the prologue that he won’t crack every part of the puzzle.

Inevitably, there’s a slightness – it misses that two hundred pages, but I note that the next two books are closer to four hundred pages.

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