Review of Medusa by Torkil Damhaug

Medusa Book Cover Medusa
Torkil Damhaug
Hachette UK
October 8, 2015

The first in the Oslo Crime Files, a tense and dark quartet of thrillers for fans of Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo A woman vanishes from a forest near Oslo. Days later her body is found, seemingly mauled and maimed by a bear. When another woman is reported missing and then found dead with the same scratches and bites, police find the link between them is local doctor, Axel Glenne. Forensics reveal the women were murdered and a net of suspicion tightens around Axel, who is convinced his twin brother Brede is responsible. But no one has seen him for years and if Axel is to prove his innocence, he needs to find Brede. And fast. But there isn't a single photograph of the brothers together and neither Axel's wife nor his children has ever met a man called Brede ...

Medusa, the first of four books by Torkil Damhaug, had an intriguing and compelling start to me and I found the writing very atmospheric. The central character, Axel, is a medical doctor who is a twin. However it is a long time since anyone has seen his twin brother and it is clear very early on that there is a story to be revealed.

I did find many of the characters interesting and well fleshed out and I felt that the translator had done a very good job in this book. The “action” in the first half or so of the book I found convincing and compelling. Axel, a happily married man, is bewitched by girl considerably younger than him.  He tells stories of Castor & Pollux and Medusa to his young daughter. There is a darkness which I found effective.

I found the latter part of the novel a little different.  There was no way I was going to put it down as I neared the end – the pace remained good and well controlled. However it is one of those police stories where the police are maybe not as competent as they might be. Equally the police characters I found less convincing than most of the others in this book. I would add a warning that parts of this are fairly gory in all honesty. The overall plot idea changes direction part way through which didn’t really work well for me sadly. I enjoyed reading this and would certainly read another by this author but I remained unconvinced by this – 3.5/5 maybe.

Note – I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review