Murder Isn’t the Only Thing That Makes a Monster in Nordic Noir Thriller
In Gareth Worthington’s latest novel, the thriller A Time for Monsters (Vesuvian Books), veteran Detective Arne Huakaas is a man beaten down by life. His 30 years on the police force in Oslo, Norway, have jaded his outlook beyond repair. His failure to identify the killer in a year-long investigation into multiple murders has further proven his incompetence.
And the newest murder is just like the others — the victim bludgeoned with a block of wood and the narrow end of a bottle jammed into the hole in his head with no forensic clues.
A DISTINCTLY NORWEGIAN MODUS OPERANDI
Every year, Norway celebrates Easter by producing one crime series after another on radio and television. Now, just like last year, a serial killer has “bastardized” the tradition by killing five men, bludgeoning them to death with one blow of a Kubb piece, then inserting a bottle of akevitt, a Nordic alcohol, into the head wounds. Kubb — a lawn game that’s sort of a cross between horseshoes and bowling where the object is to knock over wooden blocks called kubbs by throwing wooden sticks called klubbs — is somehow at the heart of the killings. They’ve dubbed the murderer the King Kubb Killer.
Not only is Huakaas cynical about the case, but he doesn’t recognize the world anymore. It’s no longer kind to fifty-some-odd-year-old white men. Oslo has morphed into a city of immigrants, increasing the crime rate and making it feel like a foreign land. Huakaas is old-school, “a baby boomer trapped in a warped time, where marriage was forever, men ruled the home, and children were seen and not heard.” He doesn’t understand the new and politically correct world he now lives in.
And he knows firsthand how women get away with ruining a man’s life after he makes only a few mistakes in private, airing dirty laundry to the world — they “played emotional games and mind fucked their spouse.” That’s exactly what his ex-wife had done to him.
A VICTIM’S VENGEANCE
Reyna “Rey” Blackburn has a score to settle. She’s sick of men abusing their wives and then going on with their day while their children hide in a corner. Just like with her dad, what happens in private stays private. Abusers behave differently in public. At least they arrest and prosecute rapists and murderers. These cowardly wife-beaters suffer no punishment; no one exacts justice for the wives and children. Until now.
Read the rest of my review at BookTrib.com.