A Year of Orenda – Death Deserved by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger

It is my absolute pleasure to finally share my thoughts on Death Deserved, the brand new thriller and book on in the Blix and Ramm series from Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger. I read this book almost as soon as I received it before Christmas and have been dying to shout all about it. Now I can. Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for including me in the tour, and publisher Orenda for continuing to feed my ten (ish) a month book habit. Here’s what the book’s about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series…

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.
Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

My Thoughts

Well this is a book that lived up to my expectations and then some. I have been excited to read it ever since I first heard that Orenda had secured the rights, but I hadn’t been expecting to be faced with a book that pulled me in so quickly and so efficiently that I was completely and utterly invested in both the characters and the story.

The books opens in dramatic style when we meet Detective Alexander Blix at the start of his career. He and his partner are called to a domestic dispute, one that will create not just ripples, but tsunami like waves throughout the rest of Blix’s career. The scene is tense, the potential consequences almost immeasurable. Watching events unfold had me on the edge of my seat to that oh so powerful of conclusions … And that was just the first chapter!

From here on in which switch to present day and to and investigation which brings Blix together with celebrity vlogger, Emma Ramm. Celebrity in that this is what she writes about rather than she is one, although her involvement in this particular case could cause a level of notoriety that she may not have been expecting. I loved both of the characters pretty much immediately, and in spite of a considerable age gap between them, Emma being closer in age to Blix’s estranged daughter than she is the man himself, there is something between them that creates an undeniable bond. It will take a while for it to be revealed to the readers, but that build up, that anticipation, creates a real hook to draw you in.

I liked the way in which the authors have created the contrast between the two characters. Emma is super keen and enthusiastic, driven to advance her career. Blix is a little more jaded, resigned to his position on the police force, his own ambition blown from his grasp when he was barely past his probation. Despite this, there is still a vulnerability about Blix that makes him very likeable. His personal situation is difficult, and meeting Emma only adds to the turmoil of his life, and yet it is also the making of him. He is a very competent Detective, much more so than his former partner, now boss, who is little more than a sound bite with better pay and office space, and yet he has lost his spark, his edge, at least at the start. Emma is also someone shaped by her past, and she has secrets of her own which make for a very powerful and surprising twist to the story. Part of her remains hidden from everyone, and it is the gradual reveal of who she really is behind the woman who evades most personal relationships, that endeared her to me more.

The story is tense, the victims, for there are eventually many, all linked in very surprising ways. But who is responsible. The scenes, the murders, are all increasingly macabre and unnerving in execution, and the atmosphere that the authors infuse in each page kept me on edge. The story flows perfectly, so much so that it is hard to reconcile that it was actually written by two people and not one. The sense of place, creation of setting, is immaculate and really put me at the heart of the action. The story chilled me to the bone and yet grabbed my attention. The whole way in which the book developed the idea of celebrity culture, or rather the nature of notoriety, creating targets of those who lived their lives in the public eye, felt very relevant and very believable making for an absolute thrill fest of a read.

Thrilling, intense, full of curveballs and with a high-stakes, full on jeopardy kind of ending that I loved, this book made me smile in a very big way. I knew the minute I started reading that it was going to be good and, by the time I finished, that it was something very special. This is a series I am really looking to seeing more of with two characters who I have taken to my heart very quickly. They are an unusual pairing, but a captivating one and with a Detective and a Journalist at the helm (both on and off the page), the possibilities are endless.

And this was the first book I read for 2020 that I knew immediately was getting one of these – my red hot reads badge.

Now when can I have book two? 😉

About the Authors

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 is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.

Twitter Links: Thomas Enger | Jørn Lier Horst
Website: Thomas Enger | Jørn Lier Horst

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Books in the Blix and Ramm Series

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