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Black Seconds

(Konrad Sejer #6)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,917 ratings  ·  367 reviews
Ida Joner gets on her brand-new bike and sets off to buy sweets. A good-natured, happy girl, she is looking forward to her tenth birthday. Thirty-five minutes after Ida should have come home, Helga Joner, her mother, starts to worry. She phones the shop and various friends, but no one has seen her daughter. As the family goes out looking for Ida, Helga's worst nightmare ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2007 by Harvill Secker (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,917 ratings  ·  367 reviews


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Rachel Hall
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Black Seconds, is the sixth instalment in Karin Fossum’s outstanding series featuring Inspector Konrad Sejer and Jacob Skarre and begins with every parent’s worst nightmare: a missing child. Released in Norway in 2002 and only available in English translation in 2007, this novel is a police procedural, although its immense power stems from some breathtaking psychological insights and the compassion of the investigators. The crime itself is very simple, and sadly an everyday occurrence, yet ...more
David R. Dowdy
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Karin Fossum knows well the edginess and anticipation her readers feel as they plunge into extraordinary crime. She drives them to continue reading. How and why did the event happen? Who did it? What are the inescapable feelings of the family and the accused?

Inspector Konrad Sejer continues to thrill me with his probing questions. Mild and assuming, he puts a subject at ease. He waits for them to fill the silence. Then, he pounces on their statements. Not proud, but correct and professional.

...more
Girish
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not all crimes are driven by malice and some of the best mysteries are not whodunnits but rather the how and why. This book crosses the 'T' on that. Inspecter Sejer with his calm and refined pursuit for the truth, than the criminal, is definitely one of the most charming fictional detectives.

Ida Joner, a young girl goes missing along with her bicycle, under the watchful eyes of her mother. Inspecter Sejjer knows when a young girl is kidnapped, the girl will turn up, dead or alive, very soon.
...more
Lukasz Pruski
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had begun reading mysteries in about 1970, but it was only in 1998, when I began rating them for my own amusement (being a computational mathematician I love numbers). I did not rate all of the mysteries that I read, but I did most of them. A few days ago I looked my ratings up, and found out that among about 1300 mysteries I have rated there are just two that have received the highest rating of 9.5 out of 10, in my scale. One of them is Karin Fossum's novel "Black Seconds" (published in 2002 ...more
Sara
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a wonderful series. I've read two others but didn't realize that ALL of Fossum's books are now available on Kindle through my local library. Wow, I am going to start from the beginning and read them all.
Ida, a beautiful, precocious, daring only child, turns up missing. Two threads are developed, one of which leads to the killer, in an unpredictable way. It may seem strange to comment on the COLOR of a police procedural, but the use of color in this book is striking and significant - a
...more
Sandi
A young girl goes missing and Inspector Sejer is assigned the case. Definitely not a high octane thriller but a well written, though with an understated style, tale of suspense set in Norway.
Laura Wallace
My objection to this book has nothing to do with the subject matter (I read a lot of really dark crime novels) and everything to do with the shoddy police work. What was actually a really obvious solution, as improbable and absurdly coincidental as it was, remained obscured until the end because the cops just didn't ask the right questions, the obvious questions to ask. It's several days into a child's disappearance before you bother to find out why her parents are divorced? You can't know ...more
Naomi
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I plan on giving all of my Karin Fossum reviews the same statement because I don't even want the hint of a spoiler on this woman's fantastic work. Fossum's writing gave me my love of Scandanavian mystery writers and I seek those writings out. Hands down,though, Fossum's work is the best I have come across so far.
Kimbofo
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reviews
The disappearance of a young child and the ensuing police hunt is a well-worn trope in crime fiction. I’ve read so many crime tales of this nature I no longer bother with them, but I decided to make an exception for Karin Fossum’s Black Seconds, because she’s an author I can trust to cover such a crime in a compassionate, thoughtful way.

In the past I have read many of Fossum’s books, both her standalone titles and those that are part of her Inspector Sejer series, and she has an acutely
...more
Marissa Morrison
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it
It's wonderful how kind the detectives are. But Fossum seems to have forgotten that police procedurals have at their core a mystery. This is not so much a who-done-it as a when-will-the-police-realize-it.
Colin Mitchell
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
To date I have enjoyed the Inspector Sejer series. Unfortunately the plot of this one, involving the disappearance of of young girl, was very similar to a previous story and very transparent. As soon as Tomme and Willy started to work on the car it was evident what had happened. Quite believable characters but the books do portrait Norway as dark and the people dour.

Could easily have thrown this one down. 2 stars only
Thomas Bruso
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creepy is an understatement when talking about Karin Fossum's detective series featuring Inspector Konrad Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skarre. In "Black Seconds," readers get a glimpse into a dark world not too many authors can create as powerful and troubling as Fossum.

From the beginning of the series in "Don't Look Back" until now in "Black Seconds," Fossum knows how to create a believable and realistic sketch of her characters and their aging lives. As evidence, Konrad Sejer is not the same
...more
False
The more I read Karin Fossom, the more I am appreciating what she does with her writing. Wonderful psychological insight into even the smallest characters, through the protagonist's eyes of Konrad Sejer--a detective with old-fashioned sensibilities. A young girl goes missing. Everyone in the small town assumes she's dead, and how it affects the families and inhabitants, even down to their pets.
solaret
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it
A common problem in mystery books seems to be that the true killer comes out of nowhere. Particularly in Agatha Christie books, red herrings are scattered all over the place, and the real killer always seems to be the most implausible person. Black Seconds, however, went too far in the other direction, in my opinion.

The first half of the book is concerned with Ida, an almost-ten-year-old girl who suddenly disappears one day. The second half deals with what happens after they find her.

I really
...more
Mona
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the second Karin Fossum book I've read (I'm on a Scandinavian crime fiction reading jag right now). One thing I notice about her style is that it's an emotional drama disguised as a mystery/crime. Karin Fossum tells the story about a little girl who disappears while off riding her bike on her way to a store - every parent's nightmare. The emotion that grips all the characters as the story develops gives them fullness and depth, and makes for compelling reading. If you are expecting ...more
Dorian
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enough with the comparisons to Ruth Rendell already! (Every review or article or blurb about Fossum in the ENglish-speaking world goes there.) Fossum has the same psychological complexity, the same interest in psychological aberrance, but a lot more compassion than Rendell.

True, her detective, Sejer, is a bit too noble--how come fictional detectives are either perfect (a la Dalgleish, Poirot, Holmes) or shambling wrecks (a la Rebus, Wallander, Erlendur)?--but the book does a terrific job at
...more
Carol
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another good read by ms Fossum with a missing child as the focus of the crime but with the twists and turns that accompany her stories. Once again detective Sejer solves the crime and this time we get a better look at him and a good glimpse of his psyche. I did enjoy this one.
Arvind
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5/5 This was my 3rd book by the author and finally this one was a good mystery worth a read. A 10-year old girl disappears and again there is somebody with a mental illness in the picture like "Dont Look Back". But this time the girl doesnt return.
Inspector Sejer and his colleague Skarre diligently investigate and finally reach the conclusion by some thoughtful questioning and police work. While the readers can guess most of the "who","what" and "how" early, watching the policemen reach there
...more
Alex Black
Mar 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
I don't think I got anything out of reading this book. Perhaps it was the translation or it could have just been Fossum's style, but the writing didn't work for me. It felt awkward and stilted throughout the book. None of the characters felt like real people, a lot of the time their emotions seemed painted on rather than genuine, and their behavior rarely seemed to fit the circumstances.

Plus it was painfully predictable. I realized the ending on page six. Literally page six. I kept hoping there
...more
Carol
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer series but I find that the plots often are very much like all of those that came before them...especially if they involve abductions. If you've read very many of these you will find that you can figure out the "what" and the "who" fairly early on. What the series has going very much in it's favor is a high degree of atmosphere in the stories and a very strong character in Inspector Sejer. This is a good series for anyone that likes a good "who done it."
Julia
This was a really good book. I liked the writing style and really enjoyed all the characters. I figured out what happened to Ida pretty early on, but that didn't diminish the fun of watching the story unfold. This is the sixth book in the Konrad Sejer detective series. So far I have only read book 3, He Who Fears the Wolf, and this one. I enjoyed this book even more than the other one. This is a series I would like to continue reading.
Mary
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Addictive and appealing mystery series
harryknuckles
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ida Joner is a sweet girl, adored by her mother Helga. She loves animals, and is looking forward to her tenth birthday. One day she rides out on her yellow bike to buy some sweets. When she fails to return 35 minutes after she should have, Helga starts to worry. She phones around, but there is no word, and eventually she calls the police. Still no news the following day, a local search is organised, with hundreds of local volunteers. However, nothing comes of it. Ida Joner and her yellow bicycle ...more
Rose Pena
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tick-tock goes the clock as the black seconds pass.
Ida Joner; a pure, animal-loving girl from Norway. She's young and excited. After all it's her birthday in a week and she's finally going to turn 10 years old. One day, she goes off to buy a magazine and some candy. She takes her bike, she straps on her helmet, and she's off. Her mother waits at home. But after a while, little Ida doesn't return. The police are called and the incident is reported. They search but to no avail. She's vanished
...more
Roderick Hart
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
A young girl called Ida disappears. She had gone to a local shop on her distinctive yellow bicycle. It soon becomes clear that there are two main suspects, Tomme, a teenage relative, and Emil, over fifty now, whose vocabulary is restricted to the word ‘no’, though his ability to think is greater than that might suggest.

Tomme has just bashed his car and has recruited an older friend, Willy, to fix it for him. Perhaps Tomme ran into Ida and Willy is removing any evidence? When asked, Tomme can
...more
Frank
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
Just shy of her 10th birthday, Ida Joner disappears while biking down to the neighborhood store. She never arrived at her destination and no one saw a thing. Volunteers mount days of searches to no avail. When clues do surface, the mystery only deepens.

Inspector Konrad Sejer pushes forward with a case that concludes with a page-turning series of interrogations including an autistic loner in his early 50s whose only word is "no".

Sejer does not just want to win; he also wants to understand what
...more
Hal
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer series, the more intriguing mystery is usually not so much whodunit as how and why they did it. In "Black Seconds," the Norwegian novelist weaves together two narrative strands that give us telling hints about who is responsible for the death of young girl.

Writing of Sejer, she says: "[H]e wanted to understand. If all he were required to do was arrest people and help them make a confession, the job would be pointless as far as he was concerned."

Fossum's lean,
...more
Rob Kitchin
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Black Seconds is somewhat of a curious read as there was not much mystery to the case, yet it was oddly compelling. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, the storytelling is quite understated, simply focused on the unfolding of the events and its consequences to those involved. The characterisation and social interactions are keenly observed, providing a high degree of social realism and emotional sensitivity. The hook is the exploration of how crime and life are rarely black ...more
Shonna Froebel
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translations
This novel of psychological suspense is centered around the disappearance of an extremely cute seven-year-old girl. She has set off on her bicycle to go to the nearby shop but never arrives. The police are called in and organize searches, but Ida seems to have vanished without a trace. Many characters have their own secrets and stories, and this adds to the suspense. In Ida's own family her two cousin's react very differently, one not wanting to speak of her at all. A friend of the cousin is ...more
Thomas Strömquist
I've seen a lot of comparisons between this and the preceding book in the series, The Indian Bride and the story of the disappearance of a 9-year old girl and the pursuing investigation is surely as tragic and dark as that one. This one, however, did not speak to me as "Indian Bride" did. Not sure if I can pin-point why, but I certainly think you must be in the mood for Fossums melancholic prose. I certainly have a problem at times with her short sentences. It may be that, or the fact that I ...more
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Karin Fossum (née Mathisen) is a Norwegian author of crime fiction,often known there as the "Norwegian queen of crime". She lives in Oslo. Fossum was initially a poet, with her first collection published in 1974 when she was just 20. It won the Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize. She is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer series of crime novels, which have been ...more

Other books in the series

Konrad Sejer (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Evas Öga (Konrad Sejer, #1)
  • Don't Look Back (Konrad Sejer, #2)
  • He Who Fears the Wolf (Konrad Sejer, #3)
  • When the Devil Holds the Candle (Konrad Sejer, #4)
  • The Indian Bride (Konrad Sejer, #5)
  • Mordet på Harriet Krohn (Konrad Sejer, #7)
  • The Water's Edge (Konrad Sejer, #8)
  • Bad Intentions (Konrad Sejer, #9)
  • The Caller (Konrad Sejer, #10)
  • The Drowned Boy (Konrad Sejer, #11)