Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Black Seconds

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Black Seconds (2002/2007) Karin Fossum translated by Charlotte Barslund

I read a bunch of Inspector Sejer mysteries a couple years ago, but when I picked this one up and realized that the murder victim was going to be a child, I went to something else.

So there’s your upfront warning. The victim is a child. HOWEVER, that death is unseen, so it wasn’t as horrible as I was thinking it was. It’s bad enough when a child is the victim in a murder mystery, but I find it completely unpalatable when the author describes the child’s fear and suffering (or, to be honest, in many cases, an adult’s fear and suffering).

Ida Joner has disappeared. The whole town turns out to search, but there is no sign of her.

Emil Mork is an older man who doesn’t speak. He is cared for by his elderly mother Elsa, who wonders what will happen once she dies.

Ruth Rix, the aunt of the missing girl, has her own problems, with a teenage son who is wrapped up in his car–he seemingly doesn’t care about his missing cousin.

One of the hardest things to read in this story was not about the girl, but about her mother.

Helga had an idea. She would do something completely normal. Several agonizing days had passed. If she went about her business, everything would go back to the way it was. If she left the house to get some milk and a loaf of bread, Ida would turn up while she was out. The telephone would ring. All the things that had not happened precisely because she was waiting for them.

“Today I lay down on the floor,” she said. “I just lay right down on the floor. There’s no point in lying on the sofa. Or the bed. I just lay there on the carpet, breathing in and breathing out. That was all I did. It felt good. When you’re lying on the floor, you can’t get any further down.”

Since it had been so long since I read the earlier books, I’d forgotten how much I liked Sejer.

(H)e wanted to understand. If all he were required to do was arrest people and help them make a confession, the job would be pointless as far as he was concerned.

He is also very good with the mother of the young girl.

I’ll now read the next story I have in this series, knowing that although bad things happen to kids, at least we don’t have to watch the bad things as they happen.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Mariner Books

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