A(nother) Year Of Orenda – Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst trns Megan Turney

Today I am absolutely thrilled to share my thoughts on Smoke Screen, the brand new Blix and Ramm thriller by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst. I loved Death Deserved and have been waiting moderately patiently for the follow up. I didn’t wait too long after getting my hands on it to read it though and by the time I publish and you read this review, it will be three months old. Yes – I was that impatient. If you’d like to read my first review, you can find it here. Read on to find out more about Smoke Screen.

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

When the mother of a missing two-year-old girl is seriously injured in a suspected terrorist attack in Oslo, crime-fighting duo Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the case, and things aren t adding up The second instalment in the addictive, atmospheric, award-winning Blix & Ramm series.

Oslo, New Year s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion, and the city is put on terrorist alert.

Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Smeplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia s disappearance is not all that it seems.

My Thoughts

This book. Thrilling, shocking and packed with emotion, it will have you on edge from the very beginning, in mourning for what is lost, and intrigued as to how all of the many tangled threads of the story can be unpicked, and woven back together into a clear and fully satisfying picture. For that is exactly what happens here … but not until Emma has managed to find herself in quite a bit of trouble and Blix has ignored the instructions of the powers that be to follow up on what could be the vital clue in a cold case that has haunted him for ten years. What starts as a potential terrorist incident leads the pair into a case that they both have their own, very personal reasons, for wanting to solve.

I don’t really need to say more about the story than is given to you in the blurb. That really is all you need to know. That and the fact that this case if far from straightforward and will have you feeling a myriad emotions as you move from chapter to chapter. From the tension of the opening chapters that soon descends into tragedy, to the tension of the investigation and all the way through to the dramatic and pulse pounding conclusion, Enger and Horst have once again delivered a story that is paced perfectly, and has a real cinematic feel to it, both in terms of drama and character. I could picture each scene clearly, could feel the sadness and heartbreak seep from the page, as well as the excitement when things start to move towards resolution and both Blix and Emma get the whiff of the truth. It really is an engrossing read, so much so that I devoured it in less than a day.

The action is seamless. I honestly could not tell you where one author’s words end and the other begins. I’d be intrigued to know their writing process as you get both the individuality of the two lead characters, but also the uniformity of the style and the pacing of the story. Everything is touched by the authenticity that can only come from writers who know both their characters and their subject matter, and, lets face it, they both have the right pedigree for that. Whilst Smoke Screen does not have the same sense of threat or grandstanding of the perpetrator that we had in its predecessor, there is a kind of melancholy and uncertainty that makes this read every bit as compelling. Although the opening – the bomb at the harbour – is dramatic and serves a purpose, it is not the overarching theme of the story. It matters as it rekindles a fire in Blix, but it is not the reason why I kept on reading. Why I had to see how this story ended.

Blix and Ramm are two people whose lives are linked by tragedy. They work together brilliantly and their working life, journalist and Detective, spills over in the personal in an almost paternal bond. It really is perfect the way in which they clearly care for each other, but the story is not dominated by that kinship. Their characters may be more alike than they realise – determined, fiercely independent and with a kind of natural intuition for a case or story and it makes for a dream team. It was nice to get to know more about Kovic, to see how the previous case has affected her and not just our protagonists. This time around she has her own chance to shine a little, stepping out of Blix’s shadow as she takes on her first lead in a murder case whilst everyone else is preoccupied. As partner’s go, she is perfect for Blix and I hope we see and learn even more of her in books to come. I also hope that they go a little easier on Emma, but that’s an entirely different story.

Tense, thrilling and with a beautifully emotive narrative, this series just seems to be getting better. Thankfully we are getting at least a book three and I, for one, cannot wait. I loved this, ate it up, and for that reason I most definitely have to give it one of these. The Red Hot Read awards. Well done, again, chaps. Keep them coming.

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 was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller. They are currently working on the third book in the Blix & Ramm series.

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Books in the Blix and Ramm Series

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