When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock ... for murder?
Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously ... and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community. As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?
It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.
But can we trust him?
I'd like to thank Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and Orenda Books for my ecopy of Inborn to review.
I've read a couple of the books in the Henning Juul series that Thomas Enger has written so when I read the blurb for Inborn I knew instantly that this was a change in writing direction from him. And having just read the acknowledgments I saw that when he originally had the idea to write this story, but wasn't sure whether it should be as a young adult or a crime fiction novel, it was suggested that maybe he could write it in both formats but until now it was only the YA version that was published in Norway. So it's no surprise that Karen at Orenda saw the potential in this story and suggested that he run with the idea of YA/adult crossover resulting in the publication of Inborn here in the UK.
As you'd expect in a small community the deaths of two teenagers after a school show sends shockwaves through the town as no-one can understand what motive there could possibly be for these two popular students to be murdered. Mari worked on the school newspaper but had recently broken up with her boyfriend Even who was in the school band with Johannes, the lead singer. so not surprisingly with strong connections to both victims Even finds himself at the centre of the investigation.
Through Even's testimony in court we are able to follow events leading up to, and the aftermath of, the murders as we discover what it is like for him and his family to have the eyes of the town on them watching their every move. They were already no strangers to being under scrutiny following their return to the town after the death of Even's father ten years ago but now they are firmly back in the spotlight with all eyes on Even.
There are many different issues that are featured this book especially the use of social media as in this modern era all things are recorded online for all to see and respond. We see how things turn nasty online for Even as his Facebook status which was meant as a tribute to Mari and Johannes is used as a means for others to vent their anger and aim accusations at him. It's also through the things being said that we are drip fed a few clues that come to fruition as the story unfolds.
As well as leading the investigation into the murders, detective Yngve Mork is also dealing with his own personal grief following the recent death of his beloved wife. His chapters were particularly poignant filled with raw emotion with the quotes that appear to him as if she is there by his side offering him her support and guidance showing that even though our loved ones are no longer with us physically they are always around.
The short chapter format worked really well to enable the pacing of the story to flow naturally, and the dual 'Then' and 'Now' timeline enabled us to follow events that played a part and discover deeply hidden secrets as they are revealed that allows us to understand what actually happened on that fateful night and in the days that followed.
As much as I have enjoyed reading the books in the Henning Juul series, for me this has become my favourite of his books as I really enjoyed this departure from Thomas Enger and hope there's more to come like this.