In a wealthy suburb of Helsinki, Finland, the wife of a best-selling author is found dead sitting in her evening gown at the head of a beautifully set dinner table. It appears that someone is re-enacting the murders from the victim’s husband’s book The Witch Hunter, but as more and more bodies are found dead, investigator Jessica Niemi realizes that she isn’t looking for a single killer, but for any number of believers in witchcraft.
It seems that I am often reading a book that is part of an already established series, so I was excited to find this, the first book in what I presume will be a series featuring detective Jessica Niemi.
Also, there is a style of thriller/detective fiction known as “Nordic Noir” which is crime fiction written from a Scandinavian point of view. This was probably made most famous by Stieg Larsson and his Millennium series but includes authors such as Arnaldur Indriðason, Jo Nesbø, and Åsa Larsson (authors I have read). This had a unique appeal because this is written by a Finnish author – a country not yet represented in my own Nordic Noir reading.
So, for various reasons, this was an attractive book for me to dig into, but sadly, the actual reading of the book was quite unsatisfying.
Reading the book was a chore, and I’m not sure if that was a result of author Max Seeck’s work, or the result of the translation. There was no smooth flow in the language, but rather it was hard and choppy, not something you expect in a noir-style crime novel. It was really hard to sit down and open this book, knowing what I was going to have to read. Yes, “have to.”
The plot and the incidents within the story really seemed to come about randomly. Of course, our protagonist is flawed (this seems a pretty common move – to make a detective someone struggling with their own demons) so some of the randomness I was feeling was a shift in story focus … was this about the murders? About Jessica’s issues? Something else?
This was disappointing enough that I’m quite sure it’s my first and last Max Seeck book.
Looking for a good book? The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck is a ‘Nordic Noir’ crime novel that is a struggle to read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Witch Hunter
author: Max Seeck
series: Jessica Niemi #1
hardcover, 400 pages