Riktor is the protagonist in Karin Fossum's new crime novel. He has worked for many years in the Løkka nursing home and seems to be normal, quiet and polite. He is often left on his own to manage patients with many and complex care needs. He torments them at every opportunity – pinches the skin at the back of their necks, pulls their hair. Medication that might have soothed their pain is poured down the loo and syringe contents injected into the mattress. Riktor is, simply, the «Nurse from Hell». He is a loner, but when he encounters Arnfinn, a man with a severe alcohol problem, a kind of friendship grows between them. Then, one day, Riktor comes across Arnfinn extracting money from his wallet. That's the end of Arnfinn: Riktor kills him unhesitatingly.
A few days later, DI Randers turns up and charges Riktor with the murder of one of the elderly patients in the nursing home and locks him up for a crime he didn't commit. The tension and suspense of the narrative are as much related to the insight into Riktor's dark mind, as to the case against him. Will he be found innocent of the old lady's murder? Will he be charged with killing Arnfinn?
‘Karin Fossum deserves great praise for her stringent language and impressive psychological insight in her new, dark novel.’
‘The language in itself makes her new book worth reading. … Fossum's sentences are vivid and crystal clear, free of redundancies, and in this novel they come with a rhythm which seems to be perfectly in tune with the content.’
‘A story in which the reader is driven forth by intensity and the unmatched mastery of language.’
‘By making the “I” of the story its narrator, the author has created a difficulty for herself which demands a firm grip and all-round control. Fossum has what is needed, together with chiselled, brisk and very persuasive language with many facets and nuances.’
‘She challenges, entertains and frightens you. Karin Fossum’s writing is exceptionally good. The protagonists have an intense presence and she somehow “paints” people’s stranger sides.’
‘Karin Fossum’s shows her mastery at two levels. Her language is outstandingly precise and varied. It never tends toward grand, metaphorical. Also, there is her insight into the unknown, sometimes murky depths of the human mind, as for instance Ricktor’s - a leading character.'
‘The book is written in a poetic, vivid language. It is exciting despite not being crime fiction in the usual sense of the word. The story is tense and from time to time unsettling for the reader but it is impossible to put it down (…) I predict that Karin Fossum will be awarded several prizes soon.’
‘Karin Fossum has delivered the goods again and written a brilliant crime novel.’
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