Norwegian title: Skyldig
I’ve read the latest book about Harinder Singh and in my opinion this is the best one so far. I know there will be another one so now I just have to wait….which I’m not very good at. I hope the next one isn’t too far away. I’m in serious need of answers….The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads and is translated by me:
Helene Waaler is freed from prison after completing her sentence of 18 years after the murders of her mother and step-father. She has never admitted her guilt.
First Officer Harinder Singh is on sick leave and is struggeling to fill his days with things to do. One day he is asked to take a look at the old mudercase that is connected to Helene Waaler and he immediatley finds weaknesses in the great amount of gathered investigation material. Could Helene be wrongfully accused?
The questions brings Harinder back to his birthplace which is also Helene’s, the small place known as Elvestad in Østerdalen. A place where no one enjoys bringing the past back to life. The hunt for the truth of what really happened 18 years ago soon takes a turn for the worst for more people than Harinder.
Whilst reading Guilty I was constantly wondering if Helene was guilty or not. There would be times when I was thinking ‘ofc she’s guilty’ and then there were times when my brain was like ‘but is she though?’. This is what I really enjoy about Næss’ books. He constantly makes me question the possible ending of the story and I still manage to be surprised when the ending is revealed! I’ve read all three of his books and I must say he has an ability to keep his readers engaged that I haven’t encountered before so now I’m kinda annoyed that I must wait….again….for the next book. I’m still waiting for answers to the insane cliffhanger in book 2 so hopefully I’ll get those in book 4.
However, I was a bit skeptical when I understood that we were going back to Elvestad where the first book also took place. In my opinion there is a limit to how much that can happen in a small Norwegian village and I suppose I was a bit worried that we’d see too many tendencies from the first book, we do see some tendencies, but it was done very neatly. It is fun as a reader to be able to recognize the names from previous books and get to see them in a different light. Næss picks up some of the threads we touched upon in book 1, The Silent Week, but they tied very nicely to the ongoing story in book 3 and it gave me as a reader a more wholesome sense of the Harinder Singh stories. Using previous threads creates an image of the environment surrounding the stories and when you know there’s more to come I’m sure it will help build a stronger understanding for possible situations in the future books.
I enjoy the character development that we see in both Harinder and Rachel in this book. Due to previous events Harinder is a bit more on the sideline whilst Rachel is more prominent. I think this is a really cool idea and I love how the events play out in the light of this twist. Harinder and Rachel are alike but also different. What Rachel lacks a little in experience Harinder completes with his own years on the force and this creates a balance between two personalities which are quite different. The banter that can go on between these two are at times hilarious and it brings so many different perspectives to the table on how to look at certain situations they encounter at work. This gives the reader, in my opinion, a broader perspective on the investigation itself but also which direction the plot might head and then Næss leads us down one road and sometimes we have to go back and other times it leads to something else which is very engaging! I’m looking very much forward to follow this partnership in the upcoming books.
In this book we also get to know Savi, Harinders daughter, a bit better and I really enjoy her sassy and caring attitude. Since Harinder is part Indian there’s sometimes snippets within these books about cultural expectations connected to either Harinder himself or Savi and these parts are very interesting because they present situations that many people deal with when they’re balancing two cultures. I don’t have extended experience with this myself but I like the way Næss presents them in his books. It places the books in a modern setting and as I’ve said before, I love that Harinder isn’t our standard white male detective with a drinkingproblem and a bad divorce behind him which crippled his career yet he is brilliant at what he does blablabla. We have plenty of those haha.
If you still haven’t picked up the books by Sven Petter Næss I really recommend that you do! You don’t have to read the books as a series but it makes your reading experience more fun if you do. This crime series is filled with everything of the best stuff Norwegian crime has to offer and I’ll guarantee you that you’ll struggle to put the books down before you’ve reached the last page.
Theme: Secrets, revenge, justice
– The Book Reader