cover image I’m Traveling Alone

I’m Traveling Alone

Samuel Bjørk, trans. from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund. Viking, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-42896-1

Bjørk (the pen name of Norwegian novelist Frode Sander Øien) makes his U.S. debut with this brooding serial killer thriller. Oslo detectives Holger Munch, a math nerd who dotes on his six-year-old granddaughter, and Mia Krüger, a brilliant profiler who has burned out on her disheartening job and is on the verge of self-destruction, are on the trail of a murderer, whose first victim, a six-year-old girl, was found hanging from a tree by a jump rope, perfectly bathed and groomed, dressed in doll clothing. Similar killings follow. Munch and Krüger realize that they’re dealing with a resourceful perpetrator who plans meticulously and seems always to be a step ahead of them. Krüger eventually discovers that the killer may have a personal vendetta, and when Munch’s granddaughter is threatened, she and Munch must gaze into their own pasts for crucial clues. Bjørk doles out characterization and exposition in multiparagraph lumps, but harrowing and enthralling action sequences more than compensate. (Feb.)