Harinder Singh 1: The Silent Week – Sven Petter Næss

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Norwegian title: Den stille uke

Good morning guys!

I hope you all are having a good week and that you’ve been slightly more productive than yours truly, haha. If you want to start your Easter crime reading a little early I’ve discovered a new author that you might want to check out. Some of you might know him from before but he was new to me and I had heard good things from other book bloggers. The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads and translated by me:

Kripos detective, The National Criminal Investigation Service, Harinder Singh reluctantly returns to his home town in order to help the local police in the solving of a murder case. Singh is half Indian and was never quite accepted in Elvestad and the meeting with his home town awakens memories of old which Singh prefer to stay locked away. A lot about the town is just the same as when he left it. The Davidsen family still owns the corner business of Elvestad and they’re still among the social elite. However, now the factory director’s son, Axel, has been found dead. Twenty months prior there also was the disappearence of a young girl who belonged to Axel’s social crowd. When Singh starts to work the leads he discovers that a lot of people has a lot to hide and that far from everybody tells the truth about where they was the night that Axel was murdered.

The Silent Week presents a small town community in Norway where everybody knows everybody and the famous ‘Village Animal’, which is a Norwegian metaphor for the gossip spread and remembers by the village inhabitants, presents itself in all its glory. There is no place like the villages to make sure that nobody ever forgets a secret, a rumor or a scandal. If you’ve read Scandinavian crime novels before you’ll encounter some familiar scenes, however, I feel that Næss is very able to keep the suspense flowing. I found this novel dark more in its descriptions than in its plot even though the plot isn’t exactly festive either. Næss presents a world where light seems to rarely shine and that the people of Elvestad have been forgotten by the rest of society. This is what lays the groundwork for the plot of the story and you can see these descriptions manifest in the plot in more than one way. This way of writing is very intriguing when the reader is able to see it and I felt that it gave me a more wholesome understanding of the plot when I was able to see it. I must say that this book was a little too slow for me at some points throughout the story, however, not so slow that I wanted to put the book down forever. Every story alters between slower parts and the more action filled parts and when Næss does action he does it GOOD! I also found the plot twists very rewarding and they came at such appropriate times in the story. There are also nice alterations between the big plot twists and the smaller ones. Some just makes for stumble stones in your reading path whilst other leaves you wondering where the story will go from there. That is the sort of crime writing I enjoy because it keeps me on my toes throughout the book so I applaud the plot twists in this book!

I do enjoy that you for once meet a detective that is not your traditional white male, clever, tired, alcoholic with a brilliant past and some scandal that tipped him somewhat over the edge. I’ll give it to you that Singh has some of the more traditional characteristics of a fictional Norwegian detective that has been presented through the Norwegian crime novels but the fact that he has Indian roots was something I found very refreshing. It presents a whole other perspective of the Norwegian police force, and even though this is a fictional novel, I believe that a lot of what we see in Singh and his experience rings true in the real world. Throughout the plot we see that Singh is encountered with episodes from his childhood and this is a great addition to the plot in my opinion. It helps the reader better understand the main character and I really enjoyed these blasts from the past. Character development is so important to me and Næss has really done a great job here. Another thing that is quite refreshing is that Singh has a partner, Rachel, who is more in the picture than what partners normally are, and has her own struggles to deal with. It’s nothing too dramatic but it paints a picture of what a partnership can be and that’s a new aspect for me when reading crime novels. There is always someone who is close to the woman/man who solves the case but you don’t hear much about them. You just catch that they are essential for the main character. In this novel we alter between Singh and Rachel perspectives and this also gives us a more wholesome perspective on the case. It also makes it easier to see the bigger lines in the picture due to that the characters perceives things differently. I know that there is a second book in this series so I’m curious to see how the partnership evolves.

The Silent Week is a solid and dark crime novel where secrets and gossip from the past can revisit you when you least expect it. I enjoyed the plot twists, character development, and that out main character wasn’t as stereotypical as many other fictional Norwegian male detectives. A solid 5-star from me! If you want to try a new author this Easter I recommend that you check out Sven Petter Næss and his books!

Published: 2019

Genre: Crime novel

Theme: Mystery, disappearance, returning home

The Book Reader

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