About The Book
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?
A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we know ourselves?
Inborn, by Norwegian writer Thomas Enger was originally a crime book for young adults which has been re-worked as a book for ‘grown-ups’ and is a thoroughly great read which explores a myriad of themes. When the bodies of two young students are found in a high school in Fredheim, a small village in Norway, it sends shock waves through the community. Mari and Johannes were both popular at the school, she worked on the school newspaper whilst he was lead singer of the school band. They both had one thing in common; fellow student Even who was not only in the band with Johannes but until very recently was the boyfriend of Mari. He is the prime suspect and it is through his testimony in court that we are taken back to the aftermath of the deaths and the gossip and scrutiny that swirled in this small town.
I really enjoyed this book with its tight, sparse prose and clever narrative structure. Even’s testimony in court unveils a tale of secrets and lies but is he on trial for murder? He is the link between the two students who died and his recent break up with Mari and subsequent anger at her ending their relationship does not paint him in the best light. I love a book which flips between time lines and it is used to great effect in Inborn with the story slowing unfurling allowing me to be drawn deeply in.
This method allows us to feel the confusion and fear felt by Even. His devastation at the death of Mari is further compounded by the accusations levelled at him on Facebook. Rumours swirl about him and his role in the deaths. His phone beeps incessantly with notifications alerting him to tags in comments saying that he was there the night of the murder, that he is aggressive, violent and guilty. This mob mentality is allowed to breed online where behaviour goes unchecked and this constant bombardment becomes unbearable.
Even is a really likeable character and is brilliantly written. He has a complicated background and home life and his love for Mari is the only pure thing that he has. Her loss is a blow to him, but despite this, I still suspected him. This book is so clever as everybody is a suspect and I was so proud of myself for creating a convoluted but oh so clever theory. I was wrong. This is great storytelling which shines a spotlight on some really important issues.
One such issue is death. Obviously we have the death of the two students and the impact of this on their families, friends and wider communities but the detective investigating has recently lost his wife to cancer. I found his chapters incredibly moving. She appears to him as a kind of conscience to advise and support and his grief is palpable. It served as a reminder of mortality and how people can live on after death in the memories of those left behind. This is some seriously beautiful writing.
A small town reeling after murders, families on the brink, a detective grieving for his wife, a myriad of suspects; this book has everything. It is a multi-layered crime novel with lots of heart and I really enjoyed it. Oh, and there’s a lovely little big up to Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski too which made me smile. Great stuff.
About The Author
Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, upon which Inborn is based, and another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has co-written a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.
Where You Can Buy It
My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour and for a copy of Inborn in return for an honest review. Inborn is out now in ebook and is published on the 21st February in paperback.