February 24th, 2021 by Jane Turner
This review of Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst comes courtesy of a Blog Tour by Random Things. I received a free copy of the ebook. Smoke Screen was published on 18 February 2021 by Orenda Books.
Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion and the city is put on terrorist alert.
Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Semplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.
Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…
This is the second in the Blix & Ramm series, though this could be read as a standalone.
I’m a fan of ScandiNoir, converted way back by Harry Hole (skillfully crafted by Jo Nesbø) and Lisbeth Salander (Stieg Larsson’s awesome anti-hero). This one, and title characters Alex Blix and Emma Ramm, can quite happily take its place with the greats.
The first in the Blix & Ramm series covers a serial killer, which traumatised Emma Ramm and still affects her in this book. At the beginning of Smoke Screen, she’s convinced something terrible will happen on New Year’s Eve, and goes out to be sure, then witnesses an explosion. Det. Alex Blix helped Ramm in the first one, finds himself close to the bomb site and races to help, pulling a survivor from the freezing water of the harbour.
Quite the beginning!
What follows is a masterwork in twists and turns which had me guessing right to the final chapters. (Which is unusual, really!)
The character work is great; Ramm’s torment and nose for a story combining well with Blix’s unrelenting determination for a case he worked on so long ago. I don’t know that I would have made all Emma’s decisions, but neither was I with her in book one. Blix is the suitably tormented detective, underappreciated and overworked, but glorious in intensity.
Horst & Enger have created something fabulous with Smoke Screen – ably assisted by their translator, Megan Turney.
An excellent job all round, and one I’m very happy to recommend to fans of Larssen, Nesbø, Adler-Olsen – or if you just like an excellent mystery.
Smoke Screen belongs in any crime collection.
The book also has a lovely piece at the back from the authors in conversation! Don’t stop at The End, keep going…
Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively.
Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense.
Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer.
Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller. They are currently working on the third book in the Blix & Ramm series.
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