Book Review: A Little Murder With A Dash Of Witchery In Finland

The Witch Hunter is a crime novel from Finnish writer Max Seeck. The Helsinki police have a perplexing murder on their hands. The wife of a very popular novelist is found dead propped up in a chair with a ghastly grin plastered on her face. The husband is on a book tour facing avid fans and one who asks about him being afraid of what he writes. The writer wrote a trilogy of novels known as Witch Hunt. The lead investigator is Jessica Niemi who has some dark secrets of her own. More bodies are found that mirror the descriptions of crimes that take place in the trilogy. A survivor is also discovered who seems oddly afraid of Jessica. A strange figure with horns is lurking around the crime scenes. It seems that Jessica has more than one killer to find. In fact, there may be a coven to unearth.

Overall, I like this novel but it had a leg up in that regard due to the genre. I did enjoy reading about something taking place in Finland, although I had some trouble really getting a sense of what that region was like, other than it is really cold. The chapters also sometimes alternate to flashbacks of an encounter Jessica had in Italy with a classical musician, an encounter that has a profound effect on the detective.

The plot does seem somewhat complicated as it unfolds. It was a pretty busy story to follow. I did like it for the most part, but I am not sure there is much terribly unique about it. Seeck seems to be a competent enough of a writer, but the novel was translated from Finnish. Still, he is a pretty young guy and is likely to improve with age and experience. He seems to have enough talent to stay in the game. The novel isn’t bad by any means, but the setting is the only aspect I am likely to remember for long.

Next up, I will be returning to the streets with Los Angeles with my next read. Even though Harry Bosch is now retired from the LAPD, that doesn’t mean he is out the game of solving crimes. He now has a new ally in his quest in the shape of Detective Renee Ballard, and they both are possessed by Michael Connelly’s The Night Fire.

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