cover image Where Monsters Dwell

Where Monsters Dwell

Jørgen Brekke, trans. from the Norwegian by Steven T. Murray. Minotaur, $24.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-01680-5

Gruesome, nearly identical murders in the U.S. and Norway send detectives on both sides of the Atlantic on the hunt for a killer in Norwegian journalist Brekke’s underwhelming debut. Soon after the curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., is found flayed and beheaded, the archivist of the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim, Norway, is found murdered in a similar fashion. The American and Norwegian sleuths assigned to the killings—respectively, newly minted homicide detective Felicia Stone and Chief Insp. Odd Singsaker, recently returned from an extended sick leave due to a brain tumor—begin working together after it’s revealed that both victims had been researching a rare 16th-century text, the Johannes Book. Crime fans may enjoy Brekke’s in-jokes, such as naming minor characters after real-life serial killers, but they will quickly tire of the lagging plot. Agent: Nicole K. James, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Feb.)