The Inner Darkness by Jorn Lier Horst

The Inner Darkness by Jorn Lier Horst
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Five years ago, serial killer Tom Kerr was imprisoned. Today, he’s out to reveal the resting place of his final victim.

However, Detective Wisting is taking no chances. Kerr is chained and handcuffed. The police have dogs and guns.

But minutes after entering the forest, Wisting’s officers lie broken and bleeding. And Kerr has vanished into the woods.

Too late, Wisting realises their error. What’s worse, Kerr had an accomplice who was never caught . . .

Now two murderers are on the loose – and Wisting has just hours to find them . . .

Tom Kerr was convicted and given the harshest prison sentence after he brutally murdered young women. Now years later he has agreed to lead police to the unmarked grave of one of his last suspected victims. Minutes after entering the forest under heavy police guard – Kerr escapes. Wisting and his fellow officers have no doubt Kerr received inside help and as the chaos clears they know they have very little time to hunt this predator – and his accomplice – down.

This is the latest book in an ongoing Sweedish noir/crime series that I have been enjoying for a number of years. There were a few plot points I initially thought didn’t work for me – for example the police mid-way through agreeing to release the ankle-chains after Kerr tripped a few times in the forest – but a bit more thought showed me that these points mainly revolved around the sometimes stark differences in Scandinavian police procedure and other cultures. Processes like this and some cultural mindset differences are to be expected – and in my opinion embraced – in literature and I don’t feel it fair for that to impact negatively in a review setting. Other readers might not feel quite the same in this matter, but I feel enjoying and embracing different systems and methods of handling things like police procedure and attitude to criminals is one way to open our eyes to other practices.

I definitely feel this story can be comfortably read by itself. The plot and storyline is fairly self-contained and enjoyable without any prior exposure to the numerous previous books in the series. A number of the characters are long-standing – like Wisting’s daughter, Line, or a number of his fellow police team members. And while I personally enjoyed knowing much of the history linking these characters it was not necessary to understand or enjoy the story. Readers can, I feel, be comfortable picking up this book and enjoying it as a Scandinavian based police procedural mystery.

There are a few sub-plots that thread out from the main story of hunting down the escaped prisoner. I greatly enjoyed watching these unfold and then all fit back together as part of a larger puzzle. I thought the ending well handled and the overall pace of the book was balanced – fast enough to not be boring or dragging, but also detailed and comprehensive enough that I could try and work everything out myself without feeling rushed or lost.

Readers looking for an interesting Scandinavian crime should definitely check this out, and I can equally recommend the other books this series.

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