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Medusa

 

Author: Torkil Damhaug
Published: 08 October 2015
Reviewed: 12 January 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Headline in return for an honest review.

  4 out of 5 stars  

 

A woman vanishes from a forest near Oslo. Days later her body is found, seemingly mauled and maimed by a bear. When another woman is reported missing and then found dead with the same scratches and bites, police find the link between them is local doctor, Axel Glenne. 

Forensics reveal the women were murdered and a net of suspicion tightens around Axel, who is convinced his twin brother Brede is responsible. But no one has seen him for years and if Axel is to prove his innocence, he needs to find Brede. And fast. But there isn’t a single photograph of the brothers together and neither Axel’s wife nor his children has ever met a man called Brede ..

The premise of this book intrigued me, GP Axel Glenne is implicated as a suspect in the disappearance and subsequent murder of a woman because of some link.  Axel is convinced it’s the doing of his long lost twin brother Brede, a man that no one knows about, no one has met and there is no proof that Brede even exists.  Is it Brede?  Does Brede exist?  Is it Axel acting subconsciously?  

Axel Glenne on the face of things is a happily married GP, beautiful wife, 3 interesting children, and seems dedicated to his job,  but all of that is about to be rocked to the very core.  When the body of a woman is discovered the Police are immediately convinced she was attacked by a bear and this is not a case for the Violent Crime team, but as the investigation unfolds, it soon becomes clear this is no act of nature and was murder.  When another body turns up with the scratches as before they begin to question whether a bear could have done this, and wonder what else might have caused it.  One name seems to stand out between the victims, that of local GP Axel Glenne.  He knew the victims, he’s had recent contact with them, but just how deep is the link?  

This was a compelling read, the plot moves along well and very briskly towards the end as you would expect, the writing gives a great sense of atmosphere and intensity.  You feel drawn to read on, find out whether it is Brede carrying out these murders, whether it’s someone else, what Axel’s link to it all is.  Interestingly, the narration is broken up with passages of the murderer speaking to the final victim, or more what they intend to say to the victim (both physically as well as what has been recorded via Dictaphone).  This adds an even more sinister edge to the story, the killer making sure the victim knows why this is being done and what their fate will be.  
This was very well written as far as I am concerned, Damhaug shows great skill with building intensity and layering the suspense.  I particularly enjoyed the story telling moments Axel shared with his young daughter, it’s always good to learn something from a book, so finding out about the stories of Cassiopeia and Medusa etc was an added bonus.

The characters on the whole were good, the bumbling Police were well written, showing that you can write a novel involving a police investigation without making them the heroes of the day.  This was a refreshing change, seeing that the officers involved in the case were so blinkered in their investigation that it led to the wrong conclusions entirely.  That said, however, the individual characters from the Police did seem a little hollow, there was no real substance to them which was a little disappointing.  Axel Glenne was an interesting character, well written but he seemed to act a little “out of character” at the end, but whether this was the intention of the author, showing that Axel was reacting to the stimulus around him, or whether the character was evolving into something more, I cannot decide.

Sadly, the angle of the reappearing twin brother seemed to taper away.  Once the killer was identified it was clear that there would be little to no more mention to Brede Glenne, unless as a moment of reminiscence by Axel.  This was a shame as I really would have liked to see some part played by this mysterious phantom figure, the detail given about his character added to the suspense and intrigue earlier in the story, so for him to just drop out of things felt a little dissatisfying.

I would definitely look out for the following books from this author, I would be intrigued to see what Torkil Damhaug does next, the writing is solid and enjoyable to read, just not 100% ticking all the boxes for me at the moment.  

I would like to thank Headline for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 8th  October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Medusa (Oslo Crime Files 1) (UK Kindle Version)

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