‘The Caveman,’ by Jorn Lier Horst

The Caveman

‘We’ve just been hailed by the UN as the best country in the world to live in but, in research into citizens’ experience of happiness, Norway is in 112th place. Some country in the Pacific Ocean topped the list, a little island community where people have time for one another and take care of their fellow human beings.’

I think I liked this one best of Jørn Lier Horst’s series of William Wisting novels, to date. That probably has something to do with certain personal resonances in the story.

In The Caveman, Chief Inspector Wisting’s daughter Line, a journalist, becomes interested in the strange case of an old man who lived in the same neighborhood where she grew up. He sat dead in an easy chair in his home, the television on, for four months before his body was accidentally discovered. Line wonders how anyone could go entirely unmissed by the world for that long, and what the neglect says about modern society.

Meanwhile, her father has another case of a long-neglected body to investigate. A decomposed corpse is found under the base of a tree in a Christmas tree farm. It develops that the man was a scholar from the University of Minnesota, who had become obsessed with tracking down a serial killer who has never been apprehended. It appears he followed the man to Norway, and was killed by him. And now the disappearances of several young Norwegian women start making chilling sense.

As Line and Wisting pursue their separate investigations, it gradually becomes apparent that the two mysteries are connected.

This is a very good police procedural written by a former cop. I liked it a lot, and thought it had as much to say about life and society as about crime.

Recommended. Cautions for mature language and themes.

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