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Where Monsters Dwell

(Odd Singsaker #1)

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,775 ratings  ·  272 reviews
A murder at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, bears a close resemblance to one in Trondheim, Norway. The corpse of the museum curator in Virginia is found flayed in his office by the cleaning staff; the corpse of an archivist at the library in Norway, is found inside a locked vault used to store delicate and rare books. Richmond homicide detective Felicia S ...more
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Minotaur Books (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  1,775 ratings  ·  272 reviews


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Amalia Gavea
There must be a reason (or many) the Nordic thriller sub-genre is not only popular but considered among the best examples in Mystery literature by the critics. The complicated characters, the minimalistic, yet layered, writing, the plots that often span decades, even centuries, merging History into Mystery, and the eerie atmosphere of the long wintery darkness are elements that make the Nordic thrillers so engaging. And all these are features of Where Evil Lies by Jørgen Brekke.

I'd classify this
...more
Patrice Hoffman
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke is slated as being the most anticipated Norwegian crime fiction debut in years and is now being released in English. I must admit that this novel was quite good and I can see why it is on the short list for lovers of crime novels.

A brutal murder has taken place in The Edgar Allen Poe museum in Richmond, Virginia. It's not long before that murder is linked to another gruesome murder in Trondheim, Norway in the Gunnerus Library. These murders bring together F
...more
Sandy
Stieg Larsson did more than just give us the great Millenium series. He opened the door for translations of other Scandinavian authors like Jo Nesbo, Jussi Adler-Olsen & now Jorgen Brekke. This is not for the faint of heart but it's a fast paced thriller that will keep you turning the pages. Who knew human skin could be so versatile.
It begins by telling the story of mendicant monk in 1528 Norway. In chapters alternating with the present, we learn of his life & how his actions contribute to a str
...more
Lea
Feb 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benoit Lelièvre
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's not the writing that's the problem with WHERE MONSTERS DWELL. It's often compelling. Arresting sometimes, even. It's not the characters' nature either. Some of them are tired clichés, but others are layered and original and make up for paper thin ones.

Let's start with the confusing timelines...

It's a pet peeve of mine when a novel uses historical setting to blow some air into its scope. There are maybe 30, 40 pages set in the 1500's and these pages have very little use in the storyline. Wha
...more
Jaksen
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wonderfully-crafted, complex murder mystery set in present-day Richmond, Virginia and Trondheim, Norway. (There's also another piece set in 1500's Norway.)

This book has multiple layers to it - two MC's; two locations in modern times, and one in the 1500's. (It is clearly stated where, what and when things are happening, though, so no confusion there.) The story involves the horrific, skin-flaying murders of two people - one in Virginia; one in Norway - which happen at about the same time and see
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This one was very, very close. I considered going 5 stars on it and am still considering changing the rating.

What we have here is a mystery/thriller with murders on both sides of the Atlantic. The two detectives begin to put this together as they try to figure out what ties together two gruesome murders (or more) in two countries.

And how a rare book, possibly bound in human flesh and Edgar Allen Poe tie into this.

I thought the book was well written and almost enthralling at times (and remember I
...more
Roy
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I was underwhelmed. Perhaps something was lost in the translation but the writing in this book didn't strike me as good enough to make it past form rejection letters from agents/publishers. Yet this didn't stop it from being published and apparently becoming an international best seller. How that happened is a much bigger mystery to me than the one solved between the front and back covers.
Jon Recluse
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was an ARC from NetGalley.

Two brutal murders in libraries an ocean apart begins a manhunt that goes from Virginia to Norway, connected to an ancient book from the early days of anatomical study.
An engaging debut novel, blending serial killer thriller and historical mystery. The author moves between locations and timelines smoothly, offering up a wealth of historical fact without bogging down the pace.

3.5 stars.
Naomi
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I could never quite warm up to this book. It wasn't poorly written, but I felt that the storyline just kept jumping from locations/periods of time that it would make it difficult to follow. There were also aspects to the storyline that felt that they "just didn't fit" or that I couldn't figure out how/why they figured into the storyline, except to give a "shock" moment.

I must admit that this is an author whose books I would give another chance to.
Ken Fredette
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jørgen Brekke's book Where Monsters Dwell was a super story about a couple of murders that were in the US and Norway. Felicia Stone and Odd Singsaker both become involved in both murders. It's a quick paced story that becomes clearer as the book progresses, as do the affairs both people have. ...more
Janet Martin
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely better than a 4, but not quite 5. I very much enjoyed this book. It jumped around a quite a bit, but I had no problems following the story. Excellent characters, and I look forward to the next 2 episodes which are all that's available in English.
Katy
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of mysteries, thrillers, suspense
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Book Info: Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of mysteries that are not easily solved, thriller/suspense novels, Scandinavian fiction
Book Available: February 11, 2014 in hardcover and Kindle format
Trigger Warnings: murder, torture, sexual assault, drug abuse, overdose, attempted suicide
Animal Abuse: little boy throws cat into river to test the “cats always land feet down” hypothesis; he did not mean to harm the cat, but the cat was swept away in the current and out
...more
Sharon Mensing
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-copy, mystery
Early in WHERE MONSTERS DWELL, a character who collects mystery books discusses their plot narrative. She refers to a “rule of three,” according to which the first third of a mystery introduces the perpetrator, the second third endeavors to divert attention from the murderer, and the final third brings the murderer back into focus. Jorgen Brekke follows this narrative structure in the complex plot of WHERE MONSTERS DWELL as he weaves threads from a murder at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmo ...more
Liz Barnsley
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Coming February 2014 from St Martins Press

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley

A murder at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, bears a close resemblance to one in Trondheim, Norway. The corpse of the museum curator in Virginia is found flayed in his office by the cleaning staff; the corpse of an archivist at the library in Norway, is found inside a locked vault used to store delicate and rare books.

My latest foray into the world of Scandinavian Cri
...more
Heather
Jan 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is such an absolutely terrible book. The first half is mediocre and mildly interesting, but then it just runs off the rails and explodes.

The women characters are flat caricatures, and written horribly. They're quite literally virgin/whore with nothing in between. The coincidences needed to tie the plot together were eyebrow-raising at best. And perhaps most offensive of all, in a book about police, the police work is laughable. A five-year-old could have run a better investigation than the
...more
Richard Gazala
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Jørgen Brekke adds his interesting and grisly police procedural "Where Monsters Dwell" to the wave of Scandinavian thrillers that have intrigued readers since the explosive popularity of Stieg Larrson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and its two "Millennium" sequels. In this novel, disturbing copycat murders at museums in Richmond, Virginia and Trondheim, Norway spur investigations that do not long remain bifurcated by the Atlantic. After exhausting her leads in the States, Virginian detecti ...more
Ed
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very ambitious mystery about duplicate murders in Richmond Virginia and Trondheim Norway with a historical connection to a serial killer in 16th century Norway. Billed as an international bestseller, I was intrigued by it's unusually original plot summary. After a lengthy set up, the payoff was worth the wait by it's excellent translation, good, solid characters, dialogue and a surprise ending that hit me like a sledgehammer. Harry Hole even makes a cameo mention during a meeting by Trondheim ...more
Elisa
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Brekke is a new Scandinavian author to add to my list. The story is very well written, suspenseful, not easy to figure out. The characters are likable and smart (even if going to arrest serial killers unarmed is, as I've said before, probably not the best idea). The dialogs are snappy and the historical aspect of the novel is interesting. I especially enjoyed the discussions about crime novels, literary detectives, and classic whodunits that bring down the fourth wall a little. Here is a fiction ...more
Chuck
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Whoa! Intricately plotted, with a diabolically grisly plot and complex, likable characters...I could not stop reading this thriller. The protagonist, Norwegian detective Odd Singsaker, is recovering from an operation for a tumor that nearly killed him and is still doing strange things with his memory. The present case may be mixed up with one he can't quite remember, and there's a strange southern woman from the States whose case may be connected, too. The complexity enhances the story rather th ...more
Caitlin
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Where Monsters Dwell is the first in a series about Norwegian detective, Odd Singsaker. In this one, he works closely with American detectives after two cases with shocking similarities occur across the ocean at nearly the same time.

Where Monsters Dwell was an interesting mix of perspectives, dealing with the crime in Norway as well as the crime in Virginia. The balance between how two sets of police handle similar crimes was interesting, showing an interesting depth in the characters without r
...more
Missy (myweereads)
“Welcome to my cabinet of curiosities”

Where Evil Lies by Jørgen Brekke is a disturbing story about murders which occurred in The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Virginia and Trondheim Norway. These bare a striking resemblance which pose a lot of questions. Both murders are being investigated and have a book bound in human skin in common.

This was sent to me by the loves @munster_books 🖤 The premise alone had me interested. I love Edgar Allan Poe so to have a serial killer operating at his museum and in
...more
Barbara ★
I liked the mystery perpetrated in two countries and the way everything tied together. Though this was really a book with three separate plots converging not just two. I found the jumping between time - 1528 to 2010 and back again - to be rather distracting. Though I did enjoy seeing things from the boys perspective back in 1528.

The only thing that really annoyed me was the gratuitous sex of which there was no rational explanation for. To me it was simply for shock value and a waste of time and
...more
Sharon
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Suspenseful......good read!
Alan
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strange, but an interesting mystery.
*Andrejcick*
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite part of this book is the last chapter, which makes you reevaluate everything you just read. Great characters and story.
Lynn
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely riveting. With two gruesome murders, I thought it would be too gory, but I was so caught up in the mystery that the method of killing was secondary for me. The ending was complex and exciting; the final entry with the 16th century monk was excellent.

DeAnne -- thanks for the recommendation.
Bonnie Brody
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, etc.), you will love this book. The novel is about two murders that take place almost simultaneously, one in Richmond, Virginia and the other in Trondheim, Norway. Both victims are involved in library work and have been been studying The Book of Johannes from the 1500's. Interestingly, Brekke's novel is written with two narratives; one is from the contemporary era and the other is from the 1500's. Both victims have been flayed an ...more
Becky
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Efrahim Bond seemed an unlikely candidate for murder and yet for one killer he's a prime target. His body is found skinned and on display in the garden at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Meanwhile, across the globe another flayed body is found in a locked vault at the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim, Norway. In each case the police involved believe they're dealing with an isolated crime, so it comes as a surprise when Richmond detective Felicia Stone finds a reference to the Gunn ...more
Daniel Rudge
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
A compelling debut from Jorgen Brekke. Since I lived in Richmond, this book caught my eye and I'm sure glad it did. How delicious is it to have a macabre murder in the Edgar Allen Poe Museum? Or, at least for me, a similar murder in a library? This book actually has three main characters, two of which are modern day detectives and the third a sixteenth century priest who might be a serial murderer. The sixteenth century character is a man who is telling his life story throughout this book. It be ...more
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Thrillers & Chillers: Where DO Monsters dwell? 2 6 Jan 18, 2015 07:09PM  

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Odd Singsaker (7 books)
  • Dreamless (Odd Singsaker, #2)
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