We do like a good Nordic Noir and we do like Orenda Books, so Smoke Screen, the latest collaboration of best-selling crime writers Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst, is a win–win.

The second in the series featuring policeman Alexander Blix and journalist Emma Ramm, it starts with a bang, literally, when a bomb goes off in Oslo on New Year’s Eve. Both Blix and Ramm are present for different reasons, the latter trying to deal with the residual fear and anxiety she feels from the case on which they first met. When Blix dives into the icy waters of the city’s harbour to rescue a seriously injured woman, he is surprised to discover she is Ruth-Kristine Sempless, the mother of a toddler who disappeared ten years before, without a trace. The case has always haunted him. As Blix investigates further, he becomes convinced that the woman and the bombing are somehow connected, that it wasn’t just a case of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As with all good Scandi crime, location is key and there’s a great evocation of place which adds to the layering of this book and our understanding of the characters. First introduced in Death Deserved, Blix and Ramm become more fully fledged people in this second book; we better understand their mores, their lives, observe their methodology as they work independently to solve the case, although their investigations, of course, cross over at various points.

Tightly plotted and well-penned – hardly surprising considering the calibre of both writers, supported by Megan Turney’s able translation – Smoke Screen is a taut, complex read.



Smoke Screen | Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst | translated by Megan Turney |
18 February 2021 | Orenda Books | paperback original | £8.99

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours, as always, and to the publisher for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other wonderful reviewers on this tour and please share them.

Also of interest:Alice Walker and the power of poetry‘; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Sylvia Plath on poetry‘; ‘WB Yeats, “The Journey of the Magi“‘; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is copyright © 2021 by The Literary Shed. All rights are reserved. All opinions expressed are our own. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please contact us for permission and provide the necessary credit. Thank you so much. We welcome your feedback.



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