I’ve read quite a few of Horst’s ‘Wisting’ novels, and I’ve liked his more gentle, cerebral, character-driven approach to Scandi crime for a while – generally, not understanding why he doesn’t get as much attention as some of the others. But he does seem to be breaking through, and The Katharina Code (the first of a ‘cold case quartet’) is a good example of why.
It concerns a cold case (naturally) which has stayed with Inspector William Wisting throughout much of his career, with an indecipherable code on paper left in the house from which a woman disappeared. And now there is a new lead, and her husband is acting suspiciously – and Wisting is unsure whether to trust a man who has become something of a friend, and is unsure about who is leading who into a trap or to the truth.
Despite the drama that erupts towards the end, this feels quite a literary thriller, with plenty of plot strands and character relationships to get our heads round, and which generates suspense not in a OVERHANGING THREAT OF VIOLENCE (hello Nesbo) kind of way but through the simple accretion of facts and nuanced revelations that give us the picture of things, just as it comes together for Wisting.
I think Horst is great, and this is probably the best I’ve read by him – I’m very much looking forward to the next three in the quartet.