Hi and welcome to #ScandiSaturday – the Henning Juul edition!
Like I said in my introduction to #ScandiSaturday: Juul is an investigative journalist who always seems to be in the thick of things, but aside from solving cases and writing news articles, he is also trying to work out something that devastated his own private life. In other words, there is a continuing storyline throughout this five-novel series, so I strongly recommend you start at the beginning. Will you be able to follow if you start with Cursed, which is the fourth HJ novel, and the first one published by Orenda Books? I think you would, BUT (and it’s a really big but) this is such a brilliant series, and Juul’s character arc is ginormous, and you’d miss out on SO MUCH if you were to skip the first three novels. They’re quick reads too, I flew through them, the short and snappy chapters luring me into the just-one-more-chapter-trap so do yourself a favour and read them all!
Obviously I will only review Cursed and Killed here on the blog today, it is #Orentober after all, so without further ado, let me tell you a little about these Scandi beauties!
Cursed differs from the previous novels in that Juul isn’t the only protagonist: in this fourth instalment he shares the limelight with his ex-wife Nora, who is also an investigative journalist. At most, Nora was a supporting character before, so it was a bit surprising to see her in such a leading role, but she definitely pulls it off. She’s a tough cookie, working her misper case she’s like a dog with a bone, but she also has a fragile side, and it was so much fun getting to know her better. Meanwhile, Juul is still investigating that thing that he has been investigating since book 1 and he’s getting closer. Cursed ends on a cliffhanger, and one, I feel, you can really only grasp the immensity of if you’ve read the previous novels.
It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that Cursed is a brilliant read with multiple riveting storylines, intricate but not unnecessarily complicated, highly recommended.
The story continues in Killed, I mean that quite literally: we pick up where we left off in Cursed, mere minutes passed, the main difference being that Henning is back at the wheel here and Nora takes a few steps back. The prologue is a shocker and a harsh reminder of just what kind of people Juul is dealing with here and it urged me on, that question of is Thomas Enger really going to do this to the man he spent years of his life with!?
Killed skilfully brings together all the continuing storylines, neatly weaving together all the loose ends that had been trailing in the Nordic wind for four books, each book piling on, each discovered lead leading to several other leads that could go anywhere, but Killed brings relief, it brings satisfaction to the reader who had to wait until the fifth bloody book to find any kind of peace, it brings answers to the questions that have been haunting Juul (and me with him) for hundreds of pages. Killed is a great thriller in its own right, but more importantly, it is the apotheosis of a great Scandi-Noir crime series, and it is proof of Thomas Enger’s tremendous talent. Do not read this as a stand-alone. Start with Cursed, or better yet, start with Burned, I promise you: you won’t regret it.
Thanks for joining me today! Are you a Henning Juul fan like me? Let me know below! I’ll be back next week with more Scandi Noir!