Tuesday, April 17, 2007

He Who Fears the Wolf, Karin Fossum (Part II)

Even the dogs are thinkers in He Who Fears the Wolf. A team of police dogs and their handlers close in on the suspect in a bank robbery, and how do the handlers motivate the dogs? With psychology, of course:
"After fifteen minutes the handlers changed places and let Zeb go first. The competitive instinct was immediately aroused, and the dogs intensified their efforts." (The italics are mine.)
It is typical of this novel that Fossum defines even the most minor characters, human or canine, by what they think first, and later by what they do. This, perhaps even more than the sympathetic care givers I mentioned in my earlier comment, is what makes this such a humane and gentle novel, even toward the one character who turns out to be rather unsympathetic.
I don't know what movies Fossum likes, but this novel reminds me of the famous line from Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game: "You see, in this world, there is one awful thing, and that is that everyone has his reasons." At least, it reminds me of the second part of the line.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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4 Comments:

Blogger Euro Crime said...

At first I was disappointed that HWFTW wasn't a typical procedural similar to Don't Look Back but once I got through the first few pages of 'yukky' description I did really enjoy it. I have now listened to the first three (available) and will now have to turn to the written word as the excellent David Rintoul hasn't recorded the next one. Full list of titles here with links to reviews on Euro Crime.

April 18, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

I found out that He Who Fears ... was atypical of Fossum's work only after I finished the book. It will be interesting to see how prominent Sejer is in the other novels. In this one, he appears far less than do most lead detectives (I started to type "most protagonists," but Kannick, Morgan and Errki are the real protagonists in this one -- they are victims, suspects and witnesses, for the benefit of anyone reading this who has not read the novel.)

My initial reaction to my next Sejer novel might be the opposite of yours: disappointment that it's not an atypical procedural thriller like He Who Fears the Wolf. Such surprises are among the joys of reading a series out of order!

If the audio books are that good, I may have to move out to a distant suburb so I can listen on a long commute to work.

April 18, 2007  
Blogger Euro Crime said...

HWFTW has the least Sejer of the three I've listened to. I have an hour commute three days a week (by train) and I can't always concentrate on the printed word (so much noise pollution these days including tvs in the train) so (ironically) audio books have been a real find. I love David Rintoul's narration. His Sejer is 'just so'.

The Devil Holds the Candle is in the same psychological vein as HWFTW though Sejer's personal and professional life is in it more.

Hope you read them soon so you can tell us what you thought of them :-).

April 19, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

If HWFTW is that different from the other Sejer novels, I respect Karin Fossum all the more for the experiment. I have a high regard for authors who try new things with series characters. Donald Westlake does this often, for example.

I'm a Fossum fan now, so I'll surely look for more of her work. WIth respect to the audio versions, I have a long plane trip coming up. Perhaps I could find one of the audio Sejer books before then.

April 19, 2007  

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