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Dregs by Jorn Lier Horst
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The one with the appearing left feet. OK, rather ho-hum scandi-procedural. ( )
  jtck121166 | Nov 2, 2017 |
I finally got round to reading Jorn Lier Horst in English. Unfortunately, this is the first translation from Norwegian into English and it started off with the 6th volume, not with the first. Shame on you publishers!! Now I'll have to buy the first volumes in German, to see what the fuss is all about. I should have waited, but I wasn't sure whether I should buy the first 5 volumes in German.

There's lots of so-and-so (and let's say it outright, bad...) fiction coming out of Scandinavia nowadays, that's why I was reluctant to buy the first volumes in German. I fondly remember the days that if you wanted to read Scandinavian Fiction you'd have to read them in German (the Scandinavian and German editions were published almost at the same time). The english publishers found the rich vein of the scandinavian crime fiction 4 or 5 year's ago, but now only the gems remain...

Horst is nothing like Jo Nesbo (a fellow Norwegian). I would tend to compare Horst more with Maj Sjöwall, Per Wahlöö, Arnaldur Indridason or Henning Mankell (all Swedish, with the Arnaldur's exception - Icelander), while Jo Nesbo tries to emulate the american crime fiction writing. Not so with Horst, Maj Sjöwall, Arnaldur Indridason, Per Wahlöö or Henning Mankell. And that's one of the reasons why I tend to prefer Scandinavian Crime Fiction than its american counterpart (there're exceptions naturally).

I won't get into details about the plot. Suffice to say, is that, if your tastes go in the direction of the more traditional Crime Fiction coming out of Scandinavia, you'll most certainly like this book. I certainly did.
NB:I'm curious to find how the relationship between Line and Wisting came to the point portraid in this book. ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
This is the second one of Horst's novels I have read, and I felt that all of the elements didn't come together as smoothly as they did in The Hunting Dogs. I did like Horst's discussion of the role of prison in society, which was carried out by the daughter throughout the course of the novel. Her
interviews with people who had been in prison for long periods of time for murder were both interesting in themselves and as a concept. I felt at those points that Horst's background in policework made the novel much deeper than it would otherwise have been; I really wanted to know what his experiences told him about the effects of prison on inmates. Of course I suppose that I was assuming that William Wisting is, to some extent, speaking for the author, though it's an interesting question, then, to what extent his daughter Line also speaks for the author with her opinions about prison. If I could speak in Norwegian, that is what I would ask Jorn Lier Horst. ( )
  heathrel | Dec 24, 2015 |
A complicated story set in Norway involving severed feet washing up on a Norwegian shore, a cold war scheme to prepare for an invasion, and a lot of buried secrets. The procedural situation is authentic and the story well told, but for some reason I had trouble staying involved with it. The main character didn't quite click for me, the pacing wasn't compelling, and the frequent occasions when the detective said to himself "it's coming together at last" long before it actually came together began to grate. That said, I know a lot of readers who thought this was a great crime novel, so it could have just been my mood as I read it.
  bfister | Dec 23, 2013 |
Dregs is the sixth novel in Jørn Lier Horst’s series featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting who lives and works in Stavern south of Oslo, though annoyingly (for the linguistically challenged like myself) it’s the first to be translated to English. It is a classic police procedural that sees Wisting and his team investigating the appearance of two severed left feet clad in running shoes which wash ashore in separate incidents. The area is not exactly rife with crime so the Police have a reasonably good idea that the feet are probably related to four outstanding missing persons cases on their books. However, they still have a lot of work to do to piece together the case and the feet on their own do not provide much help and the coppers have to rely on good, old-fashioned legwork to get to the bottom of things.

I enjoyed this book very much not least because it often went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I love that in a plot. Without car chases, gruesomely described violence (I know severed feet sounds bad but it is handled well) or any of the other hallmarks of a certain kind of crime fiction Horst has produced a very clever and readable story that has a number of surprises. Although sometimes hindered by their boss who is a little too keen to discuss cases with the media Wisting and the team do manage make some sense out of the bizarre case by linking it to events from the area’s past history and I enjoyed seeing the police work depicted so credibly. The fact there is a good team and a subtle sense of humour on display added to my enjoyment.

Wisting is a great character and though I would like to read about his earlier exploits (hint hint publishers) I thought the book did a good job of presenting him.There’s enough of his background so that new readers are not left floundering but not so much that those familiar with the series would be bored. What I liked about Wisting is that although he has had some tragedy in his life (he is a widower for example) it has not left him the dysfunctional wreck common to crime fiction. He’s in a new relationship with a woman in the town and he manages to maintain a good relationship with his daughter. He doesn’t think much of her current job interviewing convicted murderers or her boyfriend (who has been in prison twice) but he refrains from getting on her case about these things which is undoubtedly the hardest but most sensible thing to do in the situation. On the other hand Wisting has his head in the sand a bit about his own health but this is such a realistic trait that I thought it added very well to his overall character.

I also liked the way the author gently but intelligently explored social themes. Probably the most interesting of these for me was the notion of imprisonment as punishment being an ineffective method for dealing with murderers. Horst uses the character of Line, Wisting’s daughter who is a journalist, to tease this issue out in a series of interviews with convicted murderers who have been released from prison. It was a somewhat surprisingly thoughtful and balanced look at the issue, especially considering Horst was a policeman himself and could be expected to perhaps take a harder line on such an issue.

Dregs was very readable to me which I always attribute to excellent translation, in this case by Anne Bruce, as well as good original writing. I will look forward to reading more of this series though whether that proves to me earlier books or later ones remains to be seen.

My rating 4.5 ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Meet Chief Inspector William Wisting, Head of CID in Larvik, Norway, the latest unforgettable import from Scandinavian crime fiction. An experienced policeman who is familiar with the dark side of human nature, he lives in challenging times for the Norwegian police force, meeting them with integrity and humanity, and a fragile belief that he can play a part in creating a better world. A police report of a shoe containing a severed foot washed up on the sand introduces CI William Wisting. Soon a second is washed up, but it is another left. Has there been some kind of terrible accident at sea? Does it indicate the killing and dismembering of two victims? Is there a link with the unsolved mystery of a number of disappearances in the Larvik area in recent months? In this gripping police procedural, Wisting gradually gets to the bottom of the mystery with the help of his all too human colleagues and his journalist daughter, Line.… (more)

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