by Thomas Enger
Translated by Kari Dickson
Publication Date : February 7, 2019
Pages : 276
Synopsis From Publisher :
When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock ... for murder?
Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously ... and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community. As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?
It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.
But can we trust him?
A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we know ourselves?
I am always conflicted when I learn of a stand alone book by an author of a series I love. Will I like it as much as the series? Are my expectations too high? Am I being unfair to the author by comparing the books? With Inborn, all of these questions/hesitations posed themselves as I started the book and they were quickly dispelled. Inborn is a fast paced, compulsive, and authentic story of loss and the ripple effects of tragedy.
Thomas Enger is the author of one of my favorite series. The Henning Juul series tells the story of an investigative journalist who lost his son when an unknown perpetrator set fire to his apartment while he and his son slept. Henning suffered severe injuries as a result of the fire. While he survived Henning is haunted by his son’s death and works tirelessly to find the person responsible for fire.
I was sad when the Henning Juul series came to an end, but also excited to read new work from Enger. I had been looking forward to reading Inborn for some time. While Inborn is a lighter read than the Henning Juul books everything I truly loved about the Henning Juul series can be found in Inborn. The dogged determination of an civilian who has been affected by a tragedy and their unwillingness to rest until someone has been brought to justice.
In the small town of Freidhem Norway two teenagers are found dead at the local high school. The bodies of Mari Lindgren and Johannes Elklund are found in the music room the morning after a performance of which Johannes was the lead performer. Mari’s and Johannes’s deaths send shock waves through the town. Mari’s ex-boyfriend Even Tollefson falls under immediate suspicion. As the police search for a killer, lies and secrets long buried in Freidhem began to surface as well as other people who would have benefited from the death of the two teenagers.
I know that some readers have mixed feelings regarding courtroom scenes. I have no such qualms. I absolutely love courtroom drama. Inborn would not have been as great without this element. The story is told with alternating story lines, one in the courtroom with Even testifying and the other tells the story of the events after the murders leading up to the trial. For me the courtroom is where the mystery really takes place. Readers may think they know what is going on during these scenes, ( I did ) but I caution readers to assume nothing.
The parts of Inborn told from Even’s perspective read like a young adult story however they are not riddled with teenage problems and feelings. Even is a very mature teenager and has already experienced death and its after shocks. Enger balances out the young adult element with the courtroom scenes and the perspectives of the police officers investigating Mari’s and Johannes’s deaths. By using three completely different perspectives, Enger displays his ability to be diverse and multifaceted.
Although Inborn was a lighter read when compared to Enger’s previous books, I found myself completely engrossed with the characters and the plot. I have realized that I really love books which pose questions ; books that make me think about what I would do in a difficult situation. These are the books which stick with me the longest. Inborn is such a book.
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars
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