First there was Burned, then there was Pierced, and now Scarred: three novels set in Oslo featuring Henning Juul (a journalist with a tragic past), and his contemporary, Detective Inspector Bjarne Brogeland.
This time around, an elderly resident of a care home is brutally murdered, and the police are puzzled. Juul is trying to investigate the killing too, but at the same time his sister, Trine Juul-Osmundsen,- from whom he is estranged – is facing a media storm after an anonymous complaint against her of sexual harassment. She is the Justice Secretary (Minister?), and somewhat in the public eye. What is worse, is that to rebut the allegation she would need to reveal a dark secret (the scandal mentioned on the cover) that could destroy her marriage.
The two separate plot lines are diverse in their path and their atmosphere. In one, you have the police investigation, with journalists sniffing around in the background. In the other, the journalists are front and center, making the running by publishing the allegations and stirring the pot of trouble, with the poor Justice Minister on her own, in hiding, and trying to work things out.
Slowly, deftly, and cleverly, the layers of the plot are unpeeled, and we see a mystery solved, and a secret disclosed.
This is a fine example of contemporary crime fiction. It not only entertains, but offers some observations on the world we live in, especially the power and potential abuse of the media. At the same time, it highlights one of the darker possibilities of human nature, and the damage that can be done when relationships break down.
Well written, with interesting characters, a well constructed story, good tension, and a surprisingly enduring plot line that continues through all the books in the series so far, I highly recommend this to you. If you haven’t ready any of the series, you will definitely get more out of them by reading them in order.