cover image The Dinosaur Feather

The Dinosaur Feather

Sissel-Jo Gazan, trans. from the Danish by Charlotte Barslund. Quercus, $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-62365-066-7

With a dissertation defense looming, an adversarial adviser, not to mention a needy toddler, University of Copenhagen biology grad student and single mom Anna Bella Nor seems perpetually one sippy cup away from exploding—and that’s before a coworker’s bizarre death puts her whole department under the microscope, in Gazan’s brainy thriller. Beneath the veneer of collegiality, police superintendent Søren Marhauge swiftly discovers, lies a Darwinian struggle for professional survival—as well as a cesspool of passions that are anything but academic. As the brash Anna dabbles in some increasingly dangerous sleuthing of her own, Gazan—herself a University of Copenhagen biology grad—orchestrates the suspenseful action and overlapping lives of her complex characters with deceptive ease. Just as impressively, she manages to integrate Anna’s superficially arcane research on whether birds descended from dinosaurs with the novel’s moving exploration of such broader themes as parenthood, love, and the potentially poisonous results of living with lies. Agent: Karin Lindgren, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Nov.)