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Black Seconds


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A little girl seems to have vanished without trace. Inspector Sejer must find her before it's too late

About the Author

Karin Fossum has won numerous awards, including the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel, an honour shared with Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her highly acclaimed Inspector Sejer series has been published in more than thirty countries.


Gumshoe Award-winner Fossum (When the Devil Holds the Candle) once again wraps a blanket of methodical police work and infectious psychological tension around a relatively quiet crime in her fifth Inspector Sejer mystery to be made available in the U.S. When nine-year-old Ida Joner takes off for town (never named) on her new bike one afternoon and is never seen again, suspicion falls on Emil Johannes Mork, a silent, simple man. Emil, however, doesn't appear to have the heart of a killer. The narrative shifts smoothly among those affected by the tragedy: Emil's beleaguered mother, a good woman with little life of her own; a male cousin of the missing girl who may suffer some secret guilt; and, of course, Insp. Konrad Sejer and his younger colleague, Jacob Skarre. Sejer is a beautifully created character, a thoughtful, lonely man with great empathy. As he investigates Ida's disappearance, it's not so much the facts of the case as the impact of it on the people who surrounded the girl that fuel the story. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Possibly the most popular foreign crime writer in translation, the Norgwegian Karin Fossum is an intelligent author who delivers more than a smart plot by way of psychological insight and clear-eyed characterisation" * Daily Mail *
"There is no room for debate: the most important female writer of foreign crime fiction at work today is the Norwegian Karin Fossum" * Rough Guide to Crime Fiction *
"Fossum is frequently compared to Ruth Rendell, but Black Seconds is much more reminiscent of the psychological thrillers of Patricia Highsmith. Fossum is a clever writer; this is her most cunning tale yet" * Daily Express *
"A superb writer of psychological suspense" * New York Times *
"Writes like Ruth Rendell with the gloves off" * Kirkus Reviews *

A parent's worst fears are realized in this absorbing psychological study, the fifth of the Inspector Konrad Sejer series (after The Indian Bride) to be translated into English. Just days short of her tenth birthday, Ida Joner--a particularly lovely only child--takes off on her bicycle and doesn't come home. As residents of her small Swedish town search for Ida, Sejer sifts through possibilities. The woman who runs the shop that was Ida's destination has a suspicious background, Ida's 18-year-old cousin Tomme Rix is overly emotional about crashing his prized secondhand Opel on the day Ida disappeared, and 52-year-old autistic man Emil Johannes is found to have connections to Ida. Sejer seeks the truth through dogged police work (including reading letters between Ida and her German pen pal), keen intuition, and a brilliant means of communicating with Emil. Fossum's superb characterizations include three mothers: divorced Helga Joner, who lives in fear of losing her daughter; her sister Ruth Rix, who foresees damage to her family; and Emil's widowed mother, Elsa, who protects and provides for her disabled son. Even a predictable outcome does nothing to lessen this novel's effect. With appeal to fans of Barbara Vine and Minette Walters, this is recommended for most collections.--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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