I Can See in the Dark

Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2014. 224p. tr. from Norwegian by James Anderson. ISBN 9780544114425. $25. F
Fossum vividly unpacks the mind of a troubled individual in this haunting psychological thriller written from the perspective of a sadistic nurse. Riktor is a fortysomething loner who readily confesses to having an "evil little devil" lurking within his placid exterior. When not working at a nursing home and abusing patients, he sits alone in a park coldly observing others while inwardly longing for affection. One day he reaches out to a fellow lost soul. Inevitably, things go wrong and the police come knocking. To his shock, Riktor is arrested for a different transgression, a murder that he didn't actually commit, forcing him to prove his innocence without revealing his guilt. The author refuses to cast blame for Riktor's mental disorder on either society or his upbringing, presenting his squirmy delusions matter-of-factly while still managing to elicit a measure of compassion.
VERDICT In this slim stand-alone, Fossum takes a chilling departure from her popular series featuring Norwegian police inspector Konrad Sejer. The results are a compelling—if unsettling—character study for fans of disturbing psychological suspense. [See Prepub Alert, 2/10/14.]

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