"Books. I've never heard of anyone who killed because of books."
It begins with a gruesome murder in the Edgar Allen Poe Museum--the victim's torso is flayed, his head cut off. Felicia Stone, the lead detective on the case, discovers something else strange: a book bound in centuries-old parchment made from human skin. Then there's another murder. This time the victim is discovered in the rare book vault of the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim, Norway. She, too, has been flayed, her head cut off. Trondheim police inspector Odd Singsaker (Isn't that a great name?) is assigned the case. It looks like the two murders have something to do with the Johannes Book, a mysterious manuscript written by a sixteenth century monk. A book that is rumored to be cursed. A book written on parchment made from skin.
What I loved most about Where Monsters Dwell is how skillfully Jorgen Brekke weaves together the different characters, the puzzling murders, the enigmatic Johannes Book and the past with the present. This mystery is so well-written you move seamlessly from Richmond to Trondheim, from Felicia to Odd, and from the present to the sixteenth century and back again without ever getting lost. All of Brekke's characters are flawed and complicated, yet likeable, too, especially Odd Singsaker and his main murder suspect, Jon Vatten. I also really enjoyed the Norwegian setting. Having never been to Norway it was fun getting a glimpse of that distant, northern land. And, after all the murders are solved, there's one last unexpected twist at the end that I liked best of all. This is a well-crafted, engrossing and suspenseful thriller! A definite must-read for fans of this genre.
The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi