Karin Fossum: Don't Look Back!

In a sleepy little village at the foot of a Norwegian mountain, a child — 6 year old Ragnhild — goes missing. It is a village where the children run in and out of one another's Don't Look Back! by Karin Fossumhouses and play unafraid in the streets. Yet the search for her reveals the naked body of a well-liked local schoolgirl. Why would anyone want to murder Annie Holland? The investigation is in the hands of Inspector Konrad Sejer and his young colleague Jacob Skarre.

Don't Look Back! is a wonderful book with great characters, and very carefully written. The dialogue is realistic. It is also a book that gives a strong sense of community and that makes you feel and know that, yeah, this is how is could really have happened. The book is highly recommended to anyone who likes police-procedural novels.

Don't Look Back! book received The Riverton Prize and The Glass Key (for the best Nordic detective novel).

Read an excerpt of Don't Look Back! at the Hardcourt publishers' site.

Aftenposten's reviewer said the book "has hit the bull's eye. It has scored a direct hit and is an exceptional top score! This is a dazzling writing in the crime genre".

"Don't Look Back! shows just how well Fossum deserves her continental fame."    -- Sunday Times

He Who Fears the Wolf, by Karin Fossum

Shortly after a schizophrenic, named Errki, escapes from a nearby mental institution, an elderly woman, Halldis Horn, is found murdered,Karin Fossum: He who fears the wolf her body lying across the steps of her small home. And there is a witness, an overweight boy who lives in a group home, Kannick Snellingen. Kannick hastily informs local law enforcement, and Chief Inspector Konrad Sejer is called to investigate the crime but gets sidetracked by a bank robbery/hostage situation that occurs moments after Sejer notices a suspicious character entering the bank.

A focal point in He Who Fears the Wolf is the strange relationship between the bank robber, who takes Errki as a hostage, and Errki. This relationship is quite dynamic, beautifully described, quite Hegelian in character, and that lends a lot of drive to the book. We feel how the power in the relationship switches, despite the fact that the bank robber holds a gun.

Konrad Sejer uses his intuition and great abilities in visualization in closing in on the truth. And, as well, he falls in love. And, also, as usual, Karin Fossum delivers a well written and extremely exciting book!

He Who Fears the Wolf is a great book, a masterpiece, that gave Karin Fossum "The Booksellers' Prize" in Norway.

Karin Fossum

Karin Fossum

Karin Fossum (born Mathisen) is a Norwegian writer who has published poems, general fiction novels, and crime novels. Her books have, so far, been translated to 16 languages.

Karin Fossum was born November 6, 1954 in Sandefjord. She has 2 children (Martin and Vilde). Fossum now lives in Oslo.

Fossum made her literary debut with a collection of poetry in 1974. This was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize. Later she has written another book of poetry and two short story collections.

Her major breakthrough came with the crime novel about Konrad Sejer Evas øye (Eve's Eye) in 1995. It is an enormously exciting and well crafted crime novel, and displays a tough literary style that grips the reader instantly.

Karin Fossum's writing style is characterized by the way she tends to to sympathize with and seeks to understand the point of view of "the outsider". She is concerned with making the reader understand why the main character or the criminal behaves the way he or she does, and manages - by means of excellent, thorough, and careful character descriptions - to a large extent to do this. There is always a considerable psychological element present in Fossum's books.

Thus the action in her books tend to be character driven: the logic of actions, interactions, and relations among people have a dynamic made understandable to the reader through the characters.

Karin Fossum has previously worked as a sales clerk, taxi driver, and home aid person. She has also worked as a nurse in hospitals, elderly homes, and doing drug rehabilitation work. She draws a lot on her diverse experiences in her writing.

In an interview, she stated the following about her writing:

When it comes to your work, what marks a book's success for you?
- That the readers believe in my story. That I have been able to move them.

You've been dubbed Norway's "Queen of Crime." What do you enjoy most about writing crime novels?
- The drama. The tragedy. The psychology. The mystery.

Fossum's writing is realistic and believable. And she does move her readers. She has a literary, precise language and is regarded as a gifted writer. Fossum's crime novels have been filmed, the first as a full length feature film, the others as television series.

See also Karin Fossum's bibliography

When the Devil Holds the Candle, by Karin Fossum

When the Devil Holds the Candle won the Gumshoe award for best European crime novel published in the US in 2007.

When the theft of a purse from a stroller results in an infant's death, two teenagers are in trouble. Unaware of the enormity of their crime,When the Devil Holds the Candle, by Karin Fossum Zipp and Andreas are intent on committing still another. They follow an elderly woman, Irma Funder, home, and Andreas enters her house with his ever-reliable switchblade. Andreas views Irma as an easy to handle victim. Motionless in the dark, Zipp waits for his friend to come out. However, he will never see him alive again.

Inspector Konrad Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skarre see no connection between the infant's death and the reported disappearance of a local delinquent. And so, while the confusion in the world outside mounts, the chilling truth unfolds inside the old woman's home.

Unflappable as ever, Inspector Sejer digs below the surface of small-town tranquility in an effort to understand how and why violence destroys everyday lives. This time he needs his cool and rational approach and ability to see how the unlikely event may occur and subsequently alter what follows.

When the Devil Holds the Candle is another brilliantly observed, precisely rendered psychological mystery from the highly acclaimed Karin Fossum, where she creates intensity by problematizing the roles of murderer and victim. Very few are able to do this as well as Karin Fossum!

Black Seconds, by Karin Fossum

In 2002 Karin Fossum published her sixth Sejer novel, Black Seconds in Norwegian. The plot in this book revolves around a child, Ida Joner, that disappears. She rides out on her yellow bike to buy some sweets. When she has still not returned 35 minutes after she should have, her mother, Helga, starts to worry. She also starts Black seconds, by Karin Fossumphoning around to neighbors and friends, but nobody has seen her little daughter. She scours the streets to no avail. And eventually she calls the police.

The next day a local search is organized, but without result. Ida Joner and her yellow bicycle seem to have vanished into thin air in the course of a few Black Seconds. As the relatives reach their breaking points and the media frenzy begins, Inspector Konrad Sejer is calm and reassuring. On the outside, at least. But privately he finds the case puzzling. Usually missing children are found within forty-eight hours. Ida Joner seems to have vanished without a trace. Eventually, all he has to go on is a comment he feels may be significant.

Black Seconds is the most traditional police procedural Karin Fossum has produced so far. And a very good police procedural. The clues that Inspector Sejer have to work with are few. Everything little thing is investigated, a lot of footwork is done, and eventually more is learned, and bits fitted toghether.

Black Seconds deals with a crime that could happen anywhere. Karin Fossum, as often, tells a story of unfortunate confluences of events, accidental occurrences, and opportunities. The path is rich with scenes, characters, and explorations of how people think, and why they make the choices they do. Even so, nothing is certain, the characters are as large as life, and the scenarios very believable. Black Seconds is a powerful, impressive, probing and intriguing novel, almost as good as Calling out for You. Go get it - you will be thrilled!