Friday, July 12, 2013

Death of the Demon - Anne Holt

I've gone backwards with Norwegian author Anne Holt. I read the last book featuring Detective Hanne Wilhelmsen first. (my review of 1222) And then going against my usual inclination, I did decide to read her back list, as I quite enjoyed the character.

Death of the Demon is the third in the series and newly released by Scribner.

Agnes Vestavik runs a group foster home just outside of Oslo. A new boy named Olav has just moved in. He's a difficult case, hard to like and hard to get along with. He's large and strong and mercurial........and he doesn't want to be there.

When Agnes is found stabbed to death at her desk, newly promoted Detective Inspector Hanne Wilhelmson is called to the case along with lead investigator Billy T. Olav has gone missing. But is he the killer? Has he run away? Or been taken? There are a number of other children at the home also capable of violence. There are a large number of staff as well, each with their own secrets. And what about her husband?

Interspersed between Hanne's investigative chapters are the thoughts of Olav's mother. These are quite sad and provide a telling social commentary. Olav's thoughts also trigger an emotional response from the reader.

Holt continues to grow the character of Hanne with more details about her private life being revealed and explored. She is struggling in both her personal and professional lives. Hanne is not always likable, but she is a fascinating protagonist.  Billy T remains a favourite character with this reader - he's larger than life both in stature and personality.

I enjoyed the investigative process, but found one of the crucial deciding clues not as strong as Hanne believed it to be. I could see an alternative explanation. As the investigation marches to the endgame, I was able to suss out the whodunit, but Holt still managed to catch me off guard with an unexpected ending - one I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with.

Death of the Demon isn't my favourite Hanne book, (1222 still is) but was still a darn good read. Read an excerpt of Death of the Demon.


carol said...

I liked the ending. For me, it fit. I actually listened to 1222 right after this and the changes in Hanne's life were surprising. I agree, 1222 is the better of the two.

Unknown said...

I listened to this book last week. Second one I've listened to from this author. I thought the book was overloaded with characters and red herrings. The connection between clues and people was weak. Can't say I didn't like the book, I did, it was just in need of a good editor and some tightening up in the writing.