Dregs, by Jorn Lier Horst

by Peter

Dregs, by Jorn Lier Horst

In the idyllic, quiet and mellow small town of Stavern, close to Larvik, on the South-Eastern coast of Norway, a cut-off left foot in a training shoe is found on a beach. This macabre finding turns out to be the first in a series. Soon, another left foot is found. And then some more. In one week, four left feet have floated onto different parts of the shoreline. What on earth is happening? Are the owners of the feet dead? Is there a mass murderer on the loose in Stavern?

Inspector William Wisting is an experienced police officer, who has investigated many murder cases. But he has never ever seen the likes of the case he encounters in Dregs. Four feet – left feet – and therefore obviously from four different people.

Soon he and his excellent team of investigators are able to link the feet to people that have been missing. It’s a heterogeneous group – three elderly, retired men and a woman with a mental illness. Wisting goes back to the investigations of the missing person cases, and finds that the cases have been very poorly investigated. The three men, it turns out, knew one another. Their ties go back a long time, to the Second World War. But why would somebody hunt them down now – more than half a century later? And what about the murdered woman – how does she fit in?

The pace in Dregs accelerates as the plot develops and climaxes in a wonderfully realistic and violent denouement.

Jorn Lier Horst is an interesting and very good Norwegian crime fiction writer. Dregs is the sixth book in Jorn Lier Horst’s series about Inspector William Wisting, and the eight novel published by the author. Lier Horst is actually a police officer, working in the city of Larvik, not far from where the action in Dregs takes place, so he knows police work as well as the area he writes about, and it shows. His books, including this one, feel very authentic and have excellent descriptions of police work.

I have read several of Jorn Lier Horst’s books, and I am delighted that he has finally been translated into English. I would have liked it better, of course, if the publishing had started with the first book in the series. That said, Dregs is a well written crime fiction novel, with a very interesting mystery and an excellent and twisting plot. It’s a very good police procedural, and William Wisting is an interesting character that I look very much forward to meeting again.

Praise for Jorn Lier Horst:

‘At his best, the author is both a sociologist and a philosopher.’ –Terje Stemland, Aftenposten

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