Reviewed By: Luke Croll - RAM
Superintendent Adam Stubo and Johanne Vik return in Anne Holtís second novel to be published in the UK, but changes have taken place. The protagonists, now a couple, have got married and Vik has just given birth to their first child. In fact, Stubo actually on paternity leave when called to investigate a series of brutal murders. A popular talk-show host is found with her tongue cut out and cleaved in two. A right-wing party leader is then found crucified in her bedroom and it becomes clear that the police are facing a dangerous serial killer, and one who appears to leave no traces. Can the perfect murderer be caught?
THE FINAL MURDER is a significant improvement on PUNISHMENT, since the coincidences and unlikely happenings that plagued the first novel in this series, have, for the most part, disappeared. This has made the novel much sharper and indeed, much darker than the first. Holt appears to have stepped up a level with her writing. The changes to the Vik/Stubo relationship have also given her free reign, as we see the Vik of the first novel being transformed into a worrier, obsessed by the safety of her new daughter and seemingly always on the edge of collapse.
Her first novel was severely weakened by its unexpected ending, and again here, Holt opts for a denouement that will leave the reader surprised, but which will also wanting more. The sheer helplessness of the authorities in the face of these horrific crimes also makes the novel more interesting, as this enables Holt to develop her protagonists.
As with PUNISHMENT, Kari Dickson has produced a smooth, fluid translation that reads well in English. Dickson, who works with Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, succeeds in keeping the Scandinavian feel of the novel while conveying the sense that it was originally written in English.
Luke Croll - RAM
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Luke Croll - Conference interpreter and translator