Holt, Anne - 'The Final Murder' (translated by Kari Dickson)
THE FINAL MURDER (US: WHAT NEVER HAPPENS) is the second in the series featuring FBI trained profiler Johanne Vik and Superintendent Adam Stubo. The events in this book take place four years after those in PUNISHMENT. Johanne and Adam have married and Johanne has just given birth to another daughter. The daughter from her first marriage was born brain-damaged and this has made Johanne very nervy about the health of her new baby.
Adam is still on paternity leave when he is called in (reluctantly) to the murder of a celebrity. A tv show host has been killed and her tongue removed and cleaved in two. This death is shortly followed by another bizarre murder, this time of a politician.
Johanne begins to see a pattern in the murders and one that takes her back to her time at the FBI and she thinks she must know who the killer is and she does know who the final murder victim will be...her husband.
I was a bit reluctant to read THE FINAL MURDER as PUNISHMENT was quite a disappointment but I'm extremely glad I did. I'd certainly recommend giving this one a go even if you didn't like the last book. It's true though, that Johanne is as annoying as ever, a whiny character I'd like to see phased out but as she's probably supposed to be a main character, I doubt that will happen. Adam on the other hand is a likeable bear of a man and a good police-officer. The narration alternates between Norway and the French Riviera where a Norwegian woman is spending the winter. The serial killer plot keeps the interest and moves into fellow Norwegian, Karin Fossum's psychological crime territory towards the end, complete with one of her ambiguous endings.
I didn't find THE FINAL MURDER as good as books by Jo Nesbo or Karin Fossum but it's certainly not a waste of time (after all, internationally it's sold more than 500,000 copies) and I'm keen to read the next one, MADAM PRESIDENT, when it becomes available in English.
Read another review of THE FINAL MURDER.
Karen Meek, England