Published by Orenda Books on February 15, 2017
Cursed is the fourth book in the Henning Juul series. I haven’t read any of the others yet but they are definitely on my radar now. Though you don’t need to have read the others to enjoy Cursed, as I read the new book I did wish I had read the others for two reasons. One because I would have loved to get into the mind of Henning even more, as one of my favourite parts of a series is watching the main character develop throughout. The second reason was because I was that gripped by Cursed, I need to read the others so I can spend some more time with a series I know I’m going to love. I don’t want to miss out!
Despite not having read the first three books, I did take to Henning very early on in Cursed. He’s an interesting character who is having to learn to cope with the devastating loss of his child, who was killed in a house fire at just six years old. Henning’s way of dealing with the death of his son Jonas drives him into taking lots of risks, but he would do anything to get justice. He is wracked with guilt and grief, and has even taken leave from work so he can get some answers. I really felt for Henning’s character and even though his way of coping left a lot to be desired, it was his way and it made me root for him. The suffering both he and Jonas’s mother Nora are going through is painful and heartbreaking and I was just as wrapped up in Henning and his now ex-wife Nora’s lives as I was with the main strand of the story, the missing persons case.
At the beginning of the book a man is shot dead whilst walking his dog. The shock-factor is set in place already. Shortly after, Nora’s attention is drawn to an old friend of hers, Hedda, who has disappeared. The police have not done much to investigate her disappearance and the initial belief is that, consumed by grief after the death of her father, she has commit suicide. Her husband, however, doesn’t believe that and asks Nora to publicise his wife’s disappearance in the papers. It’s a little bit unusual from my experience to have journalists in the forefront of a crime novel rather than detectives but it worked beautifully here and did a great job of heightening the mystery of the missing persons case. It was fascinating to have a different take on a story of a woman who has disappeared, one which doesn’t necessarily follow police protocol to discover what has happened. We get more drama more human insight and emotion. I found the disappearance of Hedda to be an enthralling aspect of Cursed.
I read very little Nordic Noir before I picked up a book published by Orenda Books. Now I am completely and utterly obsessed. Cursed is an engaging read right from the opening chapter. The slow-burning tension soars through the pages in a deliciously addictive fashion. The dark tone to the writing paints a very atmospheric and gritty picture. Cursed also delivers one of my very biggest fictional temptations – a story where the secrets keep on unravelling. Every strand to this novel is intricately weaved together with no link left unfounded. What’s more, the ending was absolutely stunning and left me desperate to read the next book in the series as soon as physically possible. I am dying to get my hands on it.