Lead Review (Stigma)

  • Book: Stigma
  • Location: Osen, Oslo
  • Author: Jørn Lier Horst, Thomas Enger

Review Author: tripfiction



The scene in this novel is quickly set. Alexander Blix, former police investigator, has been sent down for avenging his daughter’s death. Now, in the high security prison, he is tormented by Jarl Inge Ree, who takes every opportunity to humiliate and bully him.

Beyond the prison walls journalist Emma Ramm is set upon finding some dirt on Ree, as the level of wretchedness endured by Blix cannot continue for much longer.

Meanwhile in Germany, Walter Kross has escaped from prison where he was doing time for killing his father. He has now killed his mother and is on the run. It would seem that he is heading north, with Jarl Inge Ree in his sights. The police now actually need Alexander Blix – despite his imprisonment – to be on board and understand the potential motivation!

There are flashbacks to an earlier decade when Walter Kross spent a Summer holiday in Osen – seemingly his intended destination now. We learn about the bullying and abusive nature of his father and the young people he encountered there in his teenage years. We also learn a little about the relationship between Emma and Alexander and how they first met and why they have such an enduring connection. Soon, Emma takes herself off to Osen to find out what she can there.

This is no. 4 in the Blix/Ramm series and turns the policing element on its head, with the central character – Blix – in prison, experiencing a new world on the inside; this, of course, adds an interesting angle. This novel can be read as a standalone but the experience will be richer with a knowledge of the background context and a sense of the main characters involved.

The reader is in incredibly safe hands with this reliable writing duo. You know that the evolution of the story will be well told and credible; the characters will grow as the novel continues; and the structure is such that you will not get lost in the finer detail.

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