02 December 2012

Short and sort of non-fiction

While at the Northfield Library, I picked up another book by Karin Fossum. This one is The Water's Edge. The primary characters are, once again, Inspector Konrad Sejer and his partner, Jacob Skarre. They're smart and careful cops.

 Christian Skolmen as Jacob Skarre
and Bjørn Sundquist as Konrad Sejer on Norwegian TV

I've thought that a couple of Fossum's books were very good and a couple others weren't. This one borders on good from the not so good side. Luckily, it's short -- about half the size of most of the mystery novels I read.

Also, I want partial credit for reading non-fiction (see previous entry). The primary crime in this story involves paedophilia. I'm glad the crime is neither graphically described nor discussed at length. However, Fossum obviously did a lot of research on paedophilia in order to write the book and she passes on what she learned through the voice of Jacob Skarre. Skarre "does" his research in the course of investigating this case, and he passes on what he learns about profiling paedophiles, about paedophilia in the USA, and about the liklihood of serial killings. All that telling does offer some education to Inspector Sejer and the reader, but it's not fiction. Nor does it move the story along.

As in other of Fossum's books, much of the investigation takes place off stage (off the page?). It reminds me of the handy partners that Detective Kate Beckett has on the TV series, Castle. Beckett says, "You guys and the uniforms go canvas the neighborhood and find out if anyone saw anything." And magically in the next scene, the partners show up with the results of the canvas. Well, Sejer and Skarre have a good crew at their police station who carry out much of the investigation off the page. That creates some complications for the main investigators in this story, but it does mean that little happens during the course of the story telling -- and that's been true in others of Fossum's books.

That inaction works pretty well because Fossum tells the main story and two or three side stories in first person narratives. She's done that in other books too. One of those side stories is intriguing -- especially at the end. Intriguing enough that I wish it had been more fully told.  

The Water's Edge was pretty good. Not great. Certainly not as good as Fossum's best (He Who Fears the Wolf or Black Seconds ).

Have you read The Water's Edge?  

Write and tell this little bit of the world what you thought of it.

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