Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Seven Doors! Thanks to Anne Cater for the invite!
Today I have an extract for you, I’ll be saving my review for #Orentober, which, may I remind you, is just around the corner. However, I will tell you right now that I loved The Seven Doors, its slow burn, the feeling of impending doom while being unsure which corner the blow would come from. I adored the folkloric elements, the fairy tales, the tale of Bluebeard’s Castle, the Freudian references, and the manner in which all these threads are woven together in one coherent piece when one would expect a patchwork quilt.
Before we get to the extract itself, let’s have a quick look at the blurb:
When the tenant of a house that university professor Nina owns with her doctor husband goes missing after an uncomfortable visit, Nina starts her own investigation … with deeply disturbing results. The long-awaited new thriller from the bestselling author of The Bird Tribunal.
University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
When she discovers that she and her husband still own a house she thought had been sold years earlier, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.
With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.
Without further ado, here’s the excerpt:
Mads is sitting at the piano looking serene as they walk upstairs.
And when exactly did you transform into a pair of torpedoes, hmm? he asks the two of them. Milja is about to give her grandad a hug but stops in her tracks when she hears his tone and hovers in the middle of the room, uncertain.
Nina makes her way into the kitchen with the food shopping without glancing over her shoulder at him, while Ingeborg, who is less sensitive to the nuances in his mood, heads in his direction and asks him the exact square footage of the house on Birkeveien.
Sit down, he says, nodding at the table.
Ingeborg pulls an iPad out of her handbag, which she passes to Milja before obediently taking a seat.
Nina emerges from the kitchen and sits down without a word.
Mads gets up from the piano stool and sits opposite them.
Firstly, he says dangerously quietly, if I don’t pick up the phone on the first attempt, try again. Hm? Rather than charging ahead at full speed.
Ingeborg opens her mouth to object, but Nina kicks her under the table.
Secondly, he says, looking directly at his wife: What on earth were you thinking, taking this mercenary of a daughter of ours to Aunt Lena’s house?
If you’d just let me explain… Nina says, but he lifts a palm and she seals her lips.
She said you were persistent and aggressive, Mads says to Ingeborg.
Who? Ingeborg asks.
Who? Mads repeats, chuckling under his breath. The poor woman you’ve been harassing! The one who’s been living in Aunt Lena’s house for three years without a single late rent payment.
Ingeborg, Nina says quietly, nodding at her. Tell him…
Mads looks at Ingeborg inquisitorially.
We’ve got silverfish, Ingeborg says gravely.
Nina shakes her head, resigned.
My God, Mads says, gawping and leaning back in his chair, rolling his eyes, who hasn’t!
Not that, Nina says, the other thing.
He looks impatiently at his daughter and back again at his wife.
What, that I’m pregnant? Ingeborg asks.
Mads opens his mouth, stops, his eyes flicking back and forth between his wife and his daughter.
Is it true?
Yes, Nina says, staring insistently at Ingeborg, waiting for her to validate the fact.
Mads leans over the table. Is that true? he says, smiling, bashful, looking down. He leaps up, walks around the table, wraps his arms around her and shakes her, she starts laughing. Milja looks up from the iPad screen, curious.
How many weeks? How is it all going? he asks, letting go of her. He takes hold of her shoulders and looks her in the eye, then strokes her hair.
I should have known, he says. Who glows like this in November, of all months?
Nina exhales with relief as Ingeborg regales her father with tales of her fatigue.
Birkeveien would be perfect for you all, Mads says. There are three bedrooms, you know, and plenty of space.
It’s just a shame there’s someone already living there, Nina says, interrupting.
He turns to face her.
She looks at him quizzically.
Thanks to you, he says strictly, and Ingeborg looks at them hesitantly.
She asked to be released from her contract, he says. Clearly she’d rather be on the streets than risk running into you two again.
What? Ingeborg whispers, wide-eyed. She looks at her mother triumphantly, as if everything that had happened on Birkeveien had gone to plan.
When I decided to keep the house rather than selling it, it was with you in mind, Mads says. You and your family.
He breaks out in a smile.
Is it all sorted, really? Ingeborg asks, looking to her father and then to her mother. Her eyes are no longer gleaming with shame at being scolded by her parents, but twinkling with longing.
We’ll let you know when it’s ready for moving into, he says. In the meantime, you can put your place on Skuteviken up for sale. Make sure the silverfish smile for the camera.
He gets up.
Dad, please tell me you’re not joking, Ingeborg squeals after her father, who makes his way out of the kitchen.
He returns with a chilled bottle of champagne and two glasses.
Nobody’s driving today, are they? he asks.
But I can’t drink, Ingeborg objects.
All the more for us, he says, cracking open the bottle with a pop.
Did that pique your interest? Good! The Seven Doors is available as eBook right now, and will be out in paperback on the 17th. Get your orders in if Nordic Noir is your bag!