Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Land of Dreams
Vidar Sundstol

Winner of the Riverton Prize for best Norwegian crime novel and named by Dagbladet as one of the top twenty-five Norwegian crime novels of all time, The Land of Dreams is the chilling first installment in Vidar Sundstøl’s critically acclaimed Minnesota Trilogy, set on the rugged north shore of Lake Superior and in the region’s small towns and deep forests.

The grandson of Norwegian immigrants, Lance Hansen is a U.S. Forest Service officer and has a nearly all-consuming passion for local genealogy and history. But his quiet routines are shattered one morning when he comes upon a Norwegian tourist brutally murdered near a stone cross on the shore of Lake Superior. Another Norwegian man is nearby; covered in blood and staring out across the lake, he can only utter the word kjærlighet. Love.

FBI agent Bob Lecuyer is assigned to the case, as is Norwegian detective Eirik Nyland, who is immediately flown in from Oslo. As the investigation progresses, Lance begins making shocking discoveries—including one that involves the murder of an Ojibwe man on the very same site more than one hundred years ago. As Lance digs into two murders separated by a century, he finds the clues may in fact lead toward someone much closer to home than he could have imagined.

The Land of Dreams is the opening chapter in a sweeping chronicle from one of Norway’s leading crime writers—a portrait of an extraordinary landscape, an exploration of hidden traumas and paths of silence that trouble history, and a haunting study in guilt and the bonds of blood (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

U.S. Forest Service police officer Lance Hansen discovers a gruesome murder. Because it occurred on Federal property, the case is turned over to the FBI. Because it involved a young man from Norway, a Norwegian detective is brought over to help investigate. Lance is essentially out of the investigative picture, except he holds one crucial piece on knowledge that could implicate a family member. Because Lance has a love of history for the area around Lake Superior, he is also researching a possible murder that occurred many years ago. How does this all tie together?

This is book one of the Minnesota Trilogy. I struggled a bit at the beginning of the story, but the more I read, the more involved I became. While I enjoyed the historical information, it did not always seem to fit into the story line. That being said, I did think this background detail ended up being important to the overall picture. I liked the second half of the book and thought the author left us with a nice cliff hanger. I am definitely interested now to find out how this story plays out and will be watching for the next two books.

My thanks to University of Minnesota Press, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: October 1, 2013.



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