Forty Days Without Shadow & Foursome

Forty Days Without Shadow is termed an Arctic thriller, set in the Norwegian tundra and involving the indigenous Sami people who live there.  There is really a pair of protagonists, Detective Klemet Nango, a native Sami, and Detective Nina Nasen, an outsider fresh out of the police academy.  The detectives main job is to regulate disputes involving reindeer herding, but they are dragged into the theft of an important Sami artifact from a local museum.  The storyline also involves a Lutheran sect intent on destroying Sami culture, which the Pastor sees as counter to the Lutheran religious beliefs, disputes between the reindeer herders, and geologists who are anxious to mine the pristine wilderness.

The author did an excellent job of establishing a sense of place and in developing the detectives, through their interactions between themselves and the community.  The pacing was slow but that was in keeping with the building tension and sense of isolation.  This book provided a glimpse into life in an isolated northern outpost among people who live life under harsh, life threatening conditions.

I did enjoy this book, but be prepared for a slow building tension rather than the fast paced page turners usually associated with thrillers.

Foursome, despite the title, is NOT erotica.  The foursome referred to is a group of friends, two couples, who have known each other and been the mainstay of each others social lives for many years.  When one of the marriages breaks up (Alex and Isabel), it has far reaching consequences and causing Rebecca to reexamine whether she every really knew them or anyone for that matter.  There is another storyline in the book which revolves around Rebecca’s job and her interactions with a co-worker, Lorna.  That particular storyline sums up very accurately why women are their own worst enemies as far as professional lives.  I have watched these kind of relationships/interactions in places I have worked and it never ends well.  I thought that part of the book was very accurately done.

I guess not having life long friendships like this, I really didn’t get some of this.  When the friendship became, so much work/drama/chaos and zero fun or actual friendship, I just would have moved on and …then you wouldn’t have had a story.  The main ideas here are that you never really know anyone as well as you think and that secrets will always out.  Competently written and engaging enough for a quick read.

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