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Ordeal by Jørn Lier Horst translated by Anne Bruce

March 24, 2016

The Hummel case has bothered William Wisting for more than six months. The investigation into what happened when taxi-driver Jens Hummel disappeared has been fruitless, and he has to endure criticism. A crucial discovery directs suspicion at Dan Roger ‘Danny’ Brodin. The problem is, however, that Danny is already in prison, convicted of another murder. Wisting is accustomed to building up a solid case for the prosecution, but this time things are different. Now he has to use all his expertise and experience to unpick a case that other people already believe to be over and done with. He follows his own convictions – all the way into the courtroom.
I am so pleased that I got the opportunity to review Jørn Lier Horst’s new William Wisting crime novel. I saw him at CrimeFest last year in Bristol and really liked him. He looks like just the sort of chap you’d go for several drinks with and have a great laugh.So joining the blog tour for Ordeal was pretty much a no-brainer for me.

 

Jørn Lier Horst was the Head of CID at Larvik police station in Norway until he retired almost 3 years ago and his novels really do have the ring of absolute authenticity; full of careful attention to detail and proper police procedure and as a result they are the quintessential anatomy of a crime.
William Wisting, the protagonist, is Chief Inspector of Police and works as Head of CID at Larvik Police Station. He is a widower and father to twins, Line and Thomas Wisting. In this, the 10th Wisting novel, (but sadly only the 5th to be translated into English) Line, a journalist, is heavily pregnant and Wisting is trying his best to be a good father and to help Line prepare her new home for the birth of her first child, especially as she will be a single mother.
Line runs into an old school friend, Sophie Lund, another single mum who has also moved into a new home – her grandfather Frank Mandt’s house, following his death as a result of a fall down the steps of his cellar. Frank was known to the police for his suspected involvement in criminal gangs. In the cellar, Sophie finds an enormous locked safe which she cannot open.
Sophie and Line engage a locksmith to open the safe – and what they find leads Wisting to become involved.
Wisting has been facing press criticism and pressure from his superiors for failing to solve the disappearance of local taxi driver, Jens Hummel who vanished six months ago. New evidence suggests Hummel may have been killed by Danny Brodin, who is awaiting trial for murder in another case.
When Hummel’s taxi is discovered in an empty barn the pressure grows on Wisting to make progress on the case.
What Ordeal shows is that Wisting is very much a man of conscience and morals – someone who is determined to do the right thing, both personally and professionally. He is a thoroughly decent policeman. He tries hard to make sure Line is not dragged into his case because of what she helped find in the safe.
And it is this moral foundation that leads him to start questioning the work of his colleagues in a neighbouring town and upsetting more than a few of his peers there when it seems that a case linked to his own may be putting an innocent man may be in danger of being found guilty of murder.
Through painstaking police work and sheer determination, the events slowly become clear and the guilty party is determined. Ordeal is a pleasure to read, the characters and situations are completely believable and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

 

Ordeal was published by Sandstone Press on March 17th

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