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Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum

Bad Intentions” is a police procedural and psychological thriller in the  “Inspector Sejer Mystery” series by Norwegian author, Karin Fossum.

Konrad Sejer and his partner, Skarre, must discover how a mentally ill patient at a hospital psych ward let out for a weekend with his two best friends ended up several hundred meters off-shore drowned in a lake called Dead Water. The victim, Jon Moreno, did not show signs of being suicidal when he left the institution, and he did seem anxious about leaving his new-found girl friend to go off with these particular friends, Axel and Reilly.

The reader knows what happens early on.  The investigative team has suspicions, but no real proof, until they find the body of another young man in another lake, a man who had been missing for several months. The tension is palpable in this tightly written thriller right from the first chapter, and it keeps getting even stronger as the book goes on.

The best thing about the book is its focus on bringing these flawed characters to life by delving deep into their inner-beings.  Jon’s diary is one of the vehicles used to get to know the tragic Jon and his morally barren friends. Jon’s mother, the investigators, and Jon’s girl friend Molly all shed perspective on the inner nature of these three young men. Each gets worked up and “psyched out” about what they have done and what is going to happen to each of them if they tell the truth.

Each young man has a very different reaction to the situations that unfold.  Jon becomes anxious and blames himself; Reilly turns to drink, drugs and a kitten; Axel denies even to himself that he bares any blame in either boys’ death.  Axel sees the only solution as each agreeing to a pact to never reveal any of the details and he is upset as he sees the other two break down.

The question remains, did anyone actually responsible for the deaths of these young men, or were they just unfortunate accidents that got covered up? Is the crime the cover-up or the deaths?

A fascinating read.

Liz Nichols

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