Friday, April 7, 2023

Book Review: The Midnight Witness

A young woman is found strangled in a park, and a male journalist has been killed in the backyard of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.

Detective Louise Rick is put on the case of the young girl, but very soon becomes entangled in solving the other homicide too when it turns out her best friend, journalist Camilla Lind, knew the murdered man. Louise tries to keep her friend from getting too involved, but Camilla's never been one to miss out on an interesting story. And this time, Camilla may have gone too far...

First published in 2004 in Denmark (translated for a 2018 English release), this was the first in Sara Blaedel's series of mystery/thrillers with Detective Louise Rick.

Prior to selecting this title for our library branch's mystery book club, I had not read anything by this Danish author. We often choose first books in a series, so that's how this one came onto my list.

The story is okay. The narrative style is third-person with a focus only on the two leads - Louise and Camilla. It has a heavy focus on the police procedural side of things. The clues are there to support the resolution of the murders. The execution of those resolutions, though, are delivered in through "tells" rather than "shows" (breaking the cardinal rule of writing "show, don't tell").

There are foundational elements of the two main characters that I would assume will be built upon further as the series continued. Even for a debut novel, I would have hoped for a bit more. Some of that might have gotten lost in the translation as well.

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