In the latest from Norway's maven of crime, time shifts between Inspector Sejer's interrogation of the accused Ragna Reigel and the shocking events that led up to her arrest. How did this lonely, quiet woman come to kill a man—or did she?
Karin Fossum’s characters are so realistic, I keep expecting to see them on the crosstown express ... psychologically incisive ... Unlike Fossum’s other books, this one doesn’t observe the standard procedural structure. Instead it burrows deeper and deeper into Ragna’s sad past and disturbed mind, raising troubling questions about the human capacity for intimacy and making you wonder whether grief and loneliness might drive a person mad.
... while we have seen whodunnits and whydunnits before, now Karin Fossum brings us the whattheydun ... As usual, Norwegian author Fossum has created a fascinating and troubled central character. From the very beginning, you are taken right into Ragna’s mind as she explains every thought and feeling she experiences ... Though it’s told in the third person, you’ll soon feel very close to Ragna. You’ll sympathise with her fully, and if you live alone like she does you might even identify with some of her thought patterns ... The question is, have you mellowed enough for this novel? It’ll involve you emotionally in Ragna’s struggle, but even so this book is about 100 pages too long. Elements of repetition are understandable, and they help you and Sejer build up a picture of Ragna’s mental state, but the story’s own build-up is too extended. The writing is excellent, the character is fascinating, and her unravelling is spellbinding when it is eventually revealed. Mental health is a key topic in the headlines at the moment and few authors understand the topic as well as Karin Fossum. However, The Whisperer is definitely a slow burner. If you’re new to Sejer, start with an earlier novel in the series, or perhaps with book one, In the Darkness.