The Water's Edge (Inspector Sejer Series #8)

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Amarried couple, Reinhardt and Kristine Ris, are out for a Sunday walk when they discover the body of a boy and see the figure of a man limping away. They alert the police, but not before Reinhardt, to Kristine’s horror, kneels down and takes photographs of the dead child with his cell phone. Inspectors Konrad Sejer and Jakob Skarre begin to make inquiries in the little town of Solberglia. But then another boy disappears, and an explanation seems more remote than ever. Meanwhile, the Ris’s marriage starts to ...

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Overview

Amarried couple, Reinhardt and Kristine Ris, are out for a Sunday walk when they discover the body of a boy and see the figure of a man limping away. They alert the police, but not before Reinhardt, to Kristine’s horror, kneels down and takes photographs of the dead child with his cell phone. Inspectors Konrad Sejer and Jakob Skarre begin to make inquiries in the little town of Solberglia. But then another boy disappears, and an explanation seems more remote than ever. Meanwhile, the Ris’s marriage starts to unravel as Reinhardt becomes obsessed with the tragic events and his own part in them.

A riveting portrayal of a community—its insiders, its outsiders, its fissures, and its secrets—from Norway’s "Queen of Crime," Karin Fossum.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review

They never last very long, those anonymous joggers and dog-walkers whose only purpose in a crime story I to trip over the body in the woods. Unless, of course, they figure in a novel by Karin Fossum, who makes it her business - and the business of her uncommonly sensitive Norwegian detective, Inspector Konrad Sejer - to scrutinize in great depth and detail every person touched by a murder. In The Water''s Edge (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25), Kristine and Reinhardt Ris discover the abused corpse of 7-year-old Jonas August Lowe when they''re out walking in the woods. Being a kind and gentle person, Kristine is appalled. But her bullying husband is so fascinated by the savage crime that he intrudes on the police investigation, revealing his own secret urges and destroying his marriage. And they aren''t even the central characters.

Fossum takes an insightful, mostly sympathetic view of everyone in the novel, including a disarming sex offender who does his best to help the police understand the mind of a pedophile - helpful advice when a second boy goes missing. And while this happens to be an exceptionally fine story, Fossum''s real narrative appeal, readily apparent in Charlotte Barslund''s translation, rests on her ability to see the humanity in even the most wretched soul.

— Marilyn Stasio

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
They never last very long, those anonymous joggers and dog-walkers whose only purpose in a crime story I to trip over the body in the woods. Unless, of course, they figure in a novel by Karin Fossum, who makes it her business - and the business of her uncommonly sensitive Norwegian detective, Inspector Konrad Sejer - to scrutinize in great depth and detail every person touched by a murder. In The Water's Edge (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25), Kristine and Reinhardt Ris discover the abused corpse of 7-year-old Jonas August Lowe when they're out walking in the woods. Being a kind and gentle person, Kristine is appalled. But her bullying husband is so fascinated by the savage crime that he intrudes on the police investigation, revealing his own secret urges and destroying his marriage. And they aren't even the central characters.

Fossum takes an insightful, mostly sympathetic view of everyone in the novel, including a disarming sex offender who does his best to help the police understand the mind of a pedophile - helpful advice when a second boy goes missing. And while this happens to be an exceptionally fine story, Fossum's real narrative appeal, readily apparent in Charlotte Barslund's translation, rests on her ability to see the humanity in even the most wretched soul.

Entertainment Weekly
The Story The latest novel from Norwegian author Fossum to feature Inspector Sejer begins when a couple out on a Sunday hike discover the body of a child. TV Pitch Imagine the shambling, gray-haired, unflappable Sejer as the Norwegian Columbo. Lowdown Foosum's concise, elegant writing perfectly captures the panic of a small town gripped by a heinous crime."
Marilyn Stasio
Fossum takes an insightful, mostly sympathetic view of everyone in the novel, including a disarming sex offender who does his best to help the police understand the mind of a pedophile—helpful advice when a second boy goes missing. And while this happens to be an exceptionally fine story, Fossum's real narrative appeal, readily apparent in Charlotte Barslund's translation, rests on her ability to see the humanity in even the most wretched soul.
—The New York Times
Maureen Corrigan
It's a mark of Karin Fossum's writerly magnificence that even though her latest crime novel…revolves around what is at the moment the most recycled plot in both mystery and literary fiction—a missing and/or murdered child—it still manages to be an intelligent thriller…slim-but-dense marvel of a mystery.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Near the start of Fossum's chilling sixth Inspector Sejer mystery to be made available in the U.S. (after 2008's Black Seconds), Reinhardt and Kristine Ris are out for a Sunday walk when they stumble across the partially clothed body of seven-year-old Jonas Løwe and see a man limping away in the distance. When Insp. Konrad Sejer and his young partner, Jacob Skarre, begin interviewing the inhabitants of the small town of Huseby, they learn that a man in a white car has been spotted lurking outside the local elementary school and was also seen on the road where Jonas was snatched. In a particularly disturbing segment, they interview a convicted pedophile who eagerly suggests they're looking for a first-time offender. Splitting the narrative among the police investigation, the Rises' crumbling marriage and the nameless killer, Fossum sets in motion an inevitable collision that's as unsettling as it is unexpected. (Aug.)
Library Journal
When the body of a seven-year-old boy is found in the woods outside the small Norwegian village of Huseby, Konrad Sejer and Jacob Skarre are the cops assigned to investigate, digging for even the smallest clue to solve the crime. Then another boy fails to return home. VERDICT Winner of the Gumshoe Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Fossum never writes a straightforward mystery. Producing convoluted plots peopled with complex characters, Fossum is a leading author in the current Scandinavian crime fiction wave. For eager Fossum fans anxiously awaiting this title, the mysteries of Kjell Eriksson and Akë Edwardson are good alternatives.
Kirkus Reviews
Inspector Konrad Sejer confronts yet another criminal who preys on young children. Kristine and Reinhardt Ris are out for a walk in Linde Forest, taking their weekly break from their flatlining marriage, when they see first a man who looks like Hans Christian Andersen getting into a white sedan, then the body of Jonas August Lowe, who would shortly have turned eight. Sejer and his assistant, Jacob Skarre, muster every officer in their Norwegian force to make inquiries, but the case languishes even though they've managed to collect DNA evidence they can use if they ever have a suspect. Jonas August's mother Elfrid descends into a pool of bottomless grief; Reinhardt Ris develops an unhealthy obsession with the victim's life and death; and soon enough word comes that another boy has gone missing. Edwin Asalid, already obese at ten, is no one's idea of a poster child. But his doting mother Tulla, already torn by her futile struggles to control his weight, is no less distraught than Elfrid Lowe, who, phoning her in sympathy, is rebuffed by Tulla, who's frantic to believe the two women have nothing in common because Edwin's still alive. The chance spotting of a man who looks like Hans Christian Andersen provides a crucial break in the case but doesn't prepare for the real heartbreak around the corner. You've read this story dozens of times, but Fossum (Black Seconds, 2008, etc.) introduces you to characters you've never met before.
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR KARIN FOSSUM

"With sharp psychological insight and a fine grasp on police procedure, Fossum is easily one of the best new imports the genre has to offer."—The Baltimore Sun

"In spare, incisive prose, Fossum turns a conventional police procedural into a sensitive examination of troubled minds and a disturbing look at the way society views them . . . A superb writer of psychological suspense."—The New York Times

The Story The latest novel from Norwegian author Fossum to feature Inspector Sejer begins when a couple out on a Sunday hike discover the body of a child. TV Pitch Imagine the shambling, gray-haired, unflappable Sejer as the Norwegian Columbo. Lowdown Foosum's concise, elegant writing perfectly captures the panic of a small town gripped by a heinous crime."  — Entertainment Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780151014217
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Series: Inspector Sejer Series , #8
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

KARIN FOSSUM is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series. Her recent honors include a Gumshoe Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mystery/thriller.

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Read an Excerpt

No one saw him walk through the woods; no one saw what he was carrying. A modest burden for a grown man, yet it caused him difficulty, his steps were faltering and he stumbled. From time to time he would stop, gasp for air and make noises which sounded like whimpering. Then he would stagger on as quickly as he could. He walked underneath the trees like an old man, weighed down by it all, weighed down by horror and tears. It was so overwhelming that his knees threatened to buckle; he kept looking over his shoulder, his head twitching nervously. He increased his speed as he approached a cluster of trees. He did not wish to discard his burden casually on the ground; he wanted this precise cluster of trees, which would serve as a kind of monument. This last scrap of decency comforted him, he was still a human being, he had feelings, many of them good ones. Again he looked over his shoulder: there was not a soul around. He remained standing, sensing every sound as his heart pounded. The forest was like a huge organism, it breathed, it watched him, it condemned him with its deep, ominous rustling. How could you stoop so low? the forest intoned, no human being will ever smile at you with warmth or love, not after this.
     He had reached the cluster of trees.
     He squatted down.
     He placed his burden on a bed of soft moss. He got up and wiped the sweat from his brow; it felt hot. This does not look good, he thought, not in any way. Emotions surged inside him, a mixture of panic and rage, nothing ever worked out for him, it was a mistake, the whole thing. How could it have happened? Horrified, he buried his face in his hands, they smelled like hot iron. He tasted fear in his mouth and felt it in his blood and in his lungs. Fate had played a mean trick on him and dealt him a rotten hand; now he was being hurled down towards condemnation and denunciation. Hanging’s too good for him, people would say, lock him up and throw away the key; a man like him should never be allowed out again. He lurched a little to the side, he felt weak at the knees. I have to go now, he thought, I need to get out of here, I must get back to my car, drive home to my house, lock the door and draw the curtains. Huddle in a corner and listen out in case anyone should come. But I won’t answer the door, he decided, I’ll lock myself in, I won’t be able to cope with this! He raised a clenched fist towards the sky, towards God, who had created him with such strong urges, but who would not allow him to satisfy them the way he wanted to.
     His car was parked close to a road barrier a little way off. He walked briskly without looking back and moved as quickly as he could through the forest. It was not long before he saw the barrier and his car. And something else: something was moving, something red and white against the green. He stopped abruptly. A man and a woman were out walking. His first thought was to hide between the spruces, but at the last second he thought better of it and continued, averting his eyes, along the short distance he had left. The storm raged inside him with renewed force. This is fatal, he thought, this will be my undoing, those two people walking towards me, they will remember me and tell the whole world. We saw him and we can describe him clearly, they would say, he was wearing a blue anorak. And the hunt would begin. He did not look up until he reached his car and he met the woman’s eyes for a fleeting moment. It surprised him that she smiled at him, a broad and friendly smile. When he failed to return her smile and stared at her in horror, she looked puzzled. The couple continued past the barrier and into the forest. The woman, however, turned one last time and looked after him.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Wonderfully presented

    The book concerns the effect on a married couple's discovery of a dead boy during a walk. Inspector Sejer's investigation adds to the boiling pot. Karin Fossum writes so smoothly and masterfully in presenting the psychology of the crime and its impact.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Excellent

    Karin Fossum never disappoints.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Karin Fossum books are the best. recommended.

    I have read all of Karin Fossum books that are available. I look forward to new releases. If you like mystery, this is it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    mostly suspensful but bad plot

    This author delivers suspence and developes all the characters to look suspect. However, when the stories goes into how the pedophiler snatched up a 7yr old victim and what he does with him. I didn't want to read further. I love a good, page-turning thriller but NOT when it involves the victims being children. For that reason, I give this book two stars.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    Like an invigorating cold shower...

    Spare, restrained and understated, this Norwegian author's writing style evokes the glacial aridity of a Scandinavian winter, in stark contrast to the more grotesque and florid motives attributed to several of the suspects. The plot is embroidered with the requisite red herrings in such a way as to make the story engaging and interesting, although the denouement devolves to a stunningly mundane conclusion - another striking contrast.

    There are a couple of awkward passages in which I got the feeling that the translator had failed to properly capture the tenor of the characters' conversations, but that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of this mystery. It is a bracing relief from the steamier, more overheated entries in this genre on current best seller lists.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 25, 2010

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    Posted August 9, 2013

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    Posted December 26, 2010

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    Posted September 27, 2011

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    Posted September 21, 2011

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    Posted December 5, 2009

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    Posted August 10, 2009

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