Stigma by Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst tr. Megan Turney #bookreview #Stigma #BlixAndRamm #NordicNoir #RandomThingsTours #Orentober

Incarcerated in a Norwegian high-security prison, a broken Alexander Blix joins forces with Emma Ramm to find a ruthless killer who has escaped from a German jail. Pulse-pounding Nordic Noir.
Alexander Blix is a broken man. Convicted for avenging his daughter’s death, he is now being held in one of Norway’s high-security prisons. Inside, the other prisoners take every opportunity to challenge and humiliate the former police investigator. On the outside, Blix’s former colleagues have begun the hunt for a terrifying killer. Walter Kroos has escaped from prison in Germany and is making his way north. The only lead established by the police is that Kroos has a friend in Blix’s prison ward. And now they need Blix’s help.
Journalist Emma Ramm is one of Blix’s few visitors, and she becomes his ally as he struggles to connect the link between past and present, between the world inside and outside the prison walls. And as he begins to piece things together, he identifies a woodland community in Norway where deeply scarred inhabitants foster deadly secrets… secrets that may be the unravelling of everyone involved.


Hi and welcome to my review of Stigma!

Massive thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the tour and of course to Orenda Books for the digital proof.

Stigma is the fourth instalment in the Blix and Ramm series by the Nordic Noir dream team Enger & Horst, and their magnificent translator Megan Turney. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! I’d say it could be read as a standalone if you really want to, but this series is truly fantastic so I would advise to just start at the beginning. 

Stigma differs from its predecessors in that we start off with one of our two protagonists incarcerated following the events of the last book. You can put a police officer in prison, but he never really stops being a police officer, so before long, Blix is up to his eyeballs in an investigation, or two, or three. Or are these all connected and is this just one big jumble of an investigation waiting for Blix and Ramm to unravel? 

Like with the earlier books in this series, I fell for Stigma hook, line and sinker. I was almost literally glued to my Kobo, having to force myself to put it down and get some sleep. I did work out a few things but that never impacted my enjoyment, nor the adrenalin I felt racing through my body, cos for every reveal I saw coming, there was one that caught me by surprise. 

Stigma has a strong sense of setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the prison scenes, I do love a prison setting. For one, it’s about as locked-room as you can get, and secondly, in this case, it was fascinating to follow Blix as he’s trying to find his feet in this hostile environment. Meanwhile, Emma Ramm’s part of the story takes care of the atmospheric, quite moody Nordic setting I’ve come to expect from this writer’s duo. A small Norwegian village with a forest and a lake, a dark history and a missing person, I mean, sign me up any day of the week!

Stigma was everything I expected it to be, and that’s saying something: my expectations never really were all that realistic. It was an action-packed and suspenseful ride, atmospheric and fast-paced, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next (that epilogue is just mean!). Stigma confirms this series top spot in my Nordic ranking, which, again, is saying something cos I’m a huge Nordic literature fan! I can only agree with Will Dean: this is contemporary Scandinavian fiction at its best. Highly recommended. 

Stigma is out on 12 October. Preorder it directly from Orenda Books here.

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