The Recently Read posts are not typical book reviews. As a writer, I do not believe I should be reviewing the hard work of other writers. These posts are simply books I have recently read and enjoyed and will share with you. They will not always be crime books as I am trying to widen my reading selection. I hope you enjoy some of these with me.
Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo, with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. An ex-Marine, he talks often to the ghosts of his past – the friends he lost in the Pacific and the son who followed him into the US Army, and to his death in Vietnam.
When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a woman in his apartment complex, he rescues her six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by both the Balkan gang responsible for the murder, and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can’t speak the same language, start to form a bond that may just save them both.
An extraordinary debut, featuring a memorable hero, Norwegian by Night is the last adventure of a man still trying to come to terms with the tragedies of his life. Compelling and sophisticated, it is both a chase through the woods thriller and an emotionally haunting novel about ageing and regret
This book really wasn’t what I expected. With it coming within the crime genre and using words in the blurb such as run, pursued, keep the boy safe, a strange and foreign landscape, and chase, I was kind of expecting something a little faster than I got.
Now don’t for one minute think that this is a complaint, it is far from it. My expectations may have been something different to what the book delivered, but I’m not sure I read the rest of the words in the blurb correctly. Sheldon is 82 years of age and feels as though it is his fault that his only son died in Vietnam. What the blurb also goes on to say is it’s a novel about aging and regret and it is exactly that. Set against the backdrop of the first – crime, running, pursuance and a wonderful foreign landscape.
Sheldon is a wonderful protagonist as he is an uprooted elderly man, shifted from his faithful New York to Norway by his grand-daughter. His age brings with it a lot of memories and with a long life of memories there is also regret and hurt. Miller portrays this brilliantly.
As Sheldon and the boy go on the run (which they do) there is a hint of humour and a lot of warmth, as Sheldon’s age makes him a different kind of running protagonist. I really took to him. His aged eyes and his life experiences made it a rather different journey and I loved it.
There is violence and a crime family involved – for those hardened crime fans – and the ending was just brilliant. I think it is one that will stay with me for a while. It was written with realism and with warmth. I loved it!