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Hell Fire
Cover of Hell Fire
Hell Fire
Inspector Sejer Series, Book 12
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"A truly great writer and explorer of the human mind." — Jo Nesbø
"What grips readers is the enormous amount of emotion [Fossum] works up as we get closer and closer to reliving the murderous event in question . . . Hell Fire is close to heartbreaking, and there are not many novels, thrillers or otherwise, you can say that about." — Los Angeles Times

A gruesome tableau awaits Inspector Konrad Sejer in the oppressive summer heat: a woman and a young boy lay dead in a pool of blood near a dank trailer. The motivation behind the deaths of Bonnie Hayden and her five-year-old son, Simon, is mysterious—there is no sign of robbery. Who would brutally stab a defenseless woman and her child? In a parallel story, another mother, Mass Malthe, navigates life with her adult son, Eddie. It's a relationship some would call too close, since Eddie's father, a man he obsesses over, abandoned them many years ago. As Sejer searches for the truth behind the seemingly senseless killings, Hell Fire deftly probes why we lie to those closest to us, and what drives people to commit the most horrific of crimes.

"There's always something dark hovering on the edge of the page, something about getting what you wish for and the crushing irony when that gift proves your undoing." — New York Times Book Review

"A truly great writer and explorer of the human mind." — Jo Nesbø
"What grips readers is the enormous amount of emotion [Fossum] works up as we get closer and closer to reliving the murderous event in question . . . Hell Fire is close to heartbreaking, and there are not many novels, thrillers or otherwise, you can say that about." — Los Angeles Times

A gruesome tableau awaits Inspector Konrad Sejer in the oppressive summer heat: a woman and a young boy lay dead in a pool of blood near a dank trailer. The motivation behind the deaths of Bonnie Hayden and her five-year-old son, Simon, is mysterious—there is no sign of robbery. Who would brutally stab a defenseless woman and her child? In a parallel story, another mother, Mass Malthe, navigates life with her adult son, Eddie. It's a relationship some would call too close, since Eddie's father, a man he obsesses over, abandoned them many years ago. As Sejer searches for the truth behind the seemingly senseless killings, Hell Fire deftly probes why we lie to those closest to us, and what drives people to commit the most horrific of crimes.

"There's always something dark hovering on the edge of the page, something about getting what you wish for and the crushing irony when that gift proves your undoing." — New York Times Book Review

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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 7, 2015
    In Coyle's pointed sequel to Vivian Apple at the End of the World, Vivian and her best friend, Harp, have just finished their cross-country adventure in a post-Rapture world. After falling in with a group of militia fighters and reconnecting with Vivian's sister, they launch a new mission: to save Vivian's love interest, Peter, who has been captured by the Church of America. Coyle dials back the urgency of her debut, adopting a more languid pace while still delivering plenty of action. This time, Vivian's journey is less personally transformative, instead taking a broader look at the sacrifices others have made to survive as the Church of America churns out merchandise from a global network of sweatshops and allows the rich and elite to dodge the stringent rules that keep the rest of the devout in line. As Vivian and Harp attempt to solve the mystery of the faked Rapture in an effort to expose the Church as a fraud, Coyle again offers searing commentary on present-day religiosity and consumerism. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 6, 2016
    Fossum’s superb 12th Inspector Sejer mystery (after 2015’s The Drowned Boy) opens on a hot summer day in 2005. Inside a disused recreational vehicle, parked in a cluster of trees in rural Norway, lie the bodies of single mother Bonnie Hayden and her four-year-old son, Simon. “Evil incarnate had snuck across the field and stabbed them with a knife,” Sejer muses as he examines the crime scene. Flashbacks to December 2004 show Bonnie, a generous woman who cleans the homes of the elderly and infirm, performing her menial duties with stoic dignity. These background scenes also focus on another single mother, Thomasine “Mass” Malthe, and her intelligent but odd 21-year-old son, Eddie, who has trouble dealing with the real world. Fossum explores many themes—most notably, the cruelties of fate—in what is less a police procedural than a portrait of a society in crisis. Few readers will be surprised by the murderer’s identity, but the slow, deliberate revelation of the story behind the crime is dramatic and heartbreaking.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2016
    Inspector Konrad Sejer investigates an apparently pointless double murder while the interspersed flashbacks that make up the greater part of this sad tale show the victims inching ever closer to a remorseless fate.Who would want to kill a home help aide and her 5-year-old son--and not just kill them, but stab them both repeatedly with evident fury? And how could the murderer even have known that Bonnie and Simon Hayden were spending a night--only one night, as farmer Robert Randen assures Sejer and his fellow investigator, Jacob Skarre--in an ancient caravan Randen kept parked in a field outside the town of Skarven? There seems so little point in questioning Bonnie's parents, torn between mystification and grief, or any of the deftly sketched, variously infirm clients she'd juggled over an 8-year period that Fossum wisely subordinates the present-tense inquiries of Sejer (The Drowned Boy, 2015, etc.) to a series of vignettes of Bonnie and Simon's hardscrabble life over the past six months and a complementary past-tense account of another mother and her son. Thomasine Malthe, abandoned by the husband who ran off with their babysitter to Copenhagen and died there, has struggled ever since to raise her mentally challenged son, Eddie, against mounting obstacles. Now that the boy is 21, he's determined to act on his own dreams, from poisoning the neighbor's cat to finding his father's grave, though these dreams don't include employment or a path to independence. Fossum traces the parallels between the mothers and sons so patiently, precisely, and compassionately that even fans who know all too well what's bound to happen when their paths converge will be shocked into fresh grief themselves.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Inspector Sejer Series, Book 12
Karin Fossum
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