Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).


I’ve been a fan of Anne Holt’s Hanne Wilhemsen series for a while. Gripping and tense, her novels keep me awake and turning pages in a restless state of “I need to know what happened”. The only gripe is that English-speaking readers have to wait for translations. Here’s the blurb:

Chief Prosecutor Sigurd Halvorsrud’s wife is found dead in front of the fireplace in the family living room. The cause of death is instantly apparent – she has been brutally decapitated. Halvorsrud immediately falls under suspicion. Then a journalist at one of Oslo’s largest newspapers is found beheaded. What links these two horrifically violent crimes?

Detective Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is called in to lead the investigation with her old colleague Billy T. But the most demanding task that Hanne Wilhelmsen has ever faced in her career clashes with the worst crisis in her personal life. Cecilie, the woman she lived with for almost twenty years, is seriously ill.

Wilhelmsen must ask herself: is the truth worth chasing at all costs?

Hanne Wilhelmsen has always juggled work and home life, sometimes getting the balance right, but like all of us, not always. This balancing act we call life is sensitively and insightfully depicted through Hanne’s increasing sense of being overwhelmed and her partner’s sense of feeling ignored … and this is before Hanne realises how ill Cecilie is. It’s a poignant story line that adds depth to the police procedural. The tension of the murder investigation interplays with the tension of Hanne’s home life: both amplify each other, setting up a story that is compelling, depressing, tragic and dark. And yet, since you know how things are likely to play out with Cecilie, you don’t really want to get to the end. Yes, I cried.


A stark reminder of the sacrifices that police officers make in the line of duty, Dead Joker investigates issues beyond the crimes with clean and crisp style.


Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99AUD). My copy was courtesy of Allen & Unwin.



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