1222- Anne Holt


I bought this book in a haze in the hours following my marriage breaking down. I needed distraction and to escape, and was clinging onto any activity I could find that had nothing to do with love, or loneliness, or anything similar. This is easier said than done- most of my books and music are about love in some way shape or form, and even the tiniest hint of it was too much for me in those hours and days. When you're trying to avoid love, it suddenly becomes clear that it is rare to find any sort of media that isn't about it.

So I found myself desperately downloading a whole load of books onto my kindle, and trying to desperately ignore the fact that the kindle itself was a reminder. Most of those books I still haven't read, nearly three years on.

I struck gold with this one though. A Norwegian crime novel about the survivors of a train crash who manage to get to a nearby hotel and are then cut off from the outside world by the snow, with an off-duty detective in their midst- what could possibly go wrong?

The story itself is a modern and I think successful take on the classic All-Holed-Up-Together-With-Nowhere-To-Go crime-writing device. Tensions rise, as you'd imagine they would. Although some of the characters are a little stereotypical, this is forgiven as I think the genre allows a bit of leeway and you expect such things in a mindless crime novel.

The protagonist, Hanne, is exactly what I needed at that time. She's an interesting spin on the usual cantankerous loner detective. She's paralysed, antisocial, and more than comfortable with her own company.Whilst there is a bit of an emotional arc to her storyline, its not obtrusive, and I was able to take comfort in Hanne. If she's okay wanting to be on her own, I thought, then I'll be okay too.

I haven't read it- or any other crime fiction, now I come to think of it, since. I'm not sure if I would be able to, as certain images are likely to remind me of how lost I was at the time I was reading it.


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