The fire witness
The fire witness by Lars Kepler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joona Linna is on suspension from the National Police so he shouldn’t even be investigating the case; he’s just an observer. But Joona doesn’t agree with the conclusions of the prosecutor or the investigating officer so he is determined to solve the case himself – whatever the cost.

The novel centres around a pair of murders which take place in a home for troubled girls – after the murders some of the girls run away and Vicky Bennet doesn’t come back; instead, she steals a car with a little boy in it and runs away. Joona Linna doesn’t think that Vicky is the bad person she was made out to be and tries to investigate her story himself – of course, there is more to it all than meets the eye.

This is apparently the third outing for Joona and although I have not read the previous two novels, I would now like to do so as I really enjoyed this one. The translation from Scandinavian is slightly stilted (not as smooth as Steven Sartorelli’s perfect translations of Montelbano for example) but I feel that this adds to the dark atmosphere of the novel rather than detracting from it.

My only complaint was that the last 3 chapters seem to be rather irrelevant and in a book this length, there was no need for them; especially as the extracts from the next novel given in this one are almost a word for word repeat. I am sure there will be overlap between the stories but it did feel that they were an add-on rather than completing this story. Still, as my only small issue they did not detract from my overall enjoyment of this excellent novel. I look forward to the next one with interest.

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