cover image Burned


Thomas Enger, trans. from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund. Atria, $15 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-4516-1645-3

In Enger’s plodding crime thriller debut, investigative reporter Henning Juul returns to work two years after an unexplained fire killed his six-year-old son and left him with facial scars and an obsession with smoke detectors. When Henning looks into the murder of 23-year-old Henriette Hagerup, who was discovered half-buried and stoned to death with her hand chopped off inside a tent in an Oslo park, he learns the victim was scouting locations for a student film. Suspicion quickly falls on Henriette’s Pakistan-born boyfriend, Mahmoud Marhoni, particularly after text messages from her are found on his phone that suggest she was seeing someone else. But the more Henning digs into Henriette’s life and her work as a film student, the less he believes the case is an honor killing related to sharia, the Muslim code of conduct. While Henning’s tortured psyche intrigues, it’s by no means unique in this genre, and he makes a tepid hero at best. (Oct.)