A twelve-year-old boy comes running into the police station to report a murder. Suspicion points to Errki Johrma, an escaped mental patient with a police record and whom the young boy saw at the scene. The next day a violent robbery takes place at a bank. Making his escape, the robber takes a hostage, Errki. Before long the robber has to abandon his car and, with his hostage, take to the woods. He soon begins to feel uncomfortable in Errki's company. Errki doesn't speak and clearly has a limited comprehension of the world, but the cannot risk releasing him. In time, the robber gains a better insight into Errki than his doctors have ever managed. After a while the boy who reported the murder appears in the forest. The men force him to stay with them. Trapped as they are, the three are left with an uneasy sense of the now-blurred distinction between criminal and victim. Eventually, the identity of the murderer is revealed together with the link between the crimes. In the course of his investigation Sejer finds himself falling in love with Errki's female doctor, leading him to feelings of guilt towards his late wife and revealing more about the wise and deeply sympathetic policeman who is Karin Fossum's brilliant creation.
"Karin Fossum has been heralded as Norway's Queen of Crime."
"Like the best Rendell, this unsettling novel tackles the reasons people commit crimes and the devastating effect it has on the protagonists' lives."
--"Good Book Guide
"Fossum's highly atmospheric and involving books are among the best being produced in the crime genre today."
--Barry Forshaw, "Crime Time
Karin Fossum made her literary debut in Norway with a collection of poetry in 1974. She has since published another volume of poetry, two collections of short stories and one non-crime novel. Her crime novels featuring Insepctor Konrad Sejer are published in sixteen languages.