Inborn by Thomas Enger Orenda Books February 22nd 2019
When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a
murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the
investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and
even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as
being in the dock … for murder?
Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it
becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and
secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.
As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question
everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a
decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that
someone is prepared to kill to protect?
It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.
But can we trust him?
A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and
asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we
There was nothing like a foray into Scandi Noir when actual snow was lying on the ground outside my window, except in Thomas Enger’s Inborn, there was no snow just a constant deluge of rain, most unusual for a novel set in Norway! Yet, that didn’t matter as it somehow added to the depressing and disturbing circumstances the main protagonist, Even found himself in.
What would you do if you were sixteen years old and found yourself under suspicion of murder? That is exactly what Enger set out to show us and wow, did he do a good job!
From the very first page there was no let up in the pace as Enger placed Even right at the centre of everything. You could feel the tense pressure he was under, yet somehow apart from the odd blip there was a calmness and maturity about him, an inherent need to prove his innocence and unearth the real killer.
What Even didn’t expect and what I didn’t expect were the multiple layers he would have to peel back. Each seemed to strike closer to home and even closer to truths about Even’s family, that many wanted to see remain quite firmly in the past. There was always a niggle at the back of my mind that he did do it, that he was the killer. Enger did nothing to alleviate my suspicions as he piled up the evidence, and what a brilliant way he chose to do it with an immersive narrative and an imaginatively devised structure, whereby he used Even’s testimony in a courtroom, long after the completion of the investigation, to tell the story. I admired the seamless way Enger flit between past and present, you never knew quite what would happen next and in which direction Even would take us. The additional use of Even’s ‘trial’ by social media increased the tension and I was even more convinced that he was guilty.
Every crime novel needs detectives and Inborn was no different but Enger’s detective Yngve Mork wasn’t your usual brash, go get em type, instead he was a man who struggled with his own loss, and emotions. His methods were sensitive, thorough and intelligent and gave me confidence that he would solve the murders,
Perhaps one of Enger’s greatest skills was his ability to perfectly match Mork’s emotions with the investigation, almost as if he was wading through a dark, dense forest before he slowly emerged into daylight, intact and with a solution.
Even and Mork’s stories also sat perfectly side by side, as they simultaneously unfurled the novel’s many layers, the latter parts both dramatic and very very tense. It was not quite the ending I expected, but surely that is what you want from a very good crime/thriller.
Inborn was writing at its best, it’s pace unrelenting, it’s characters interesting and compelling and just a fantastic read.
Can someone please pass me another Thomas Enger novel, I am hooked!!
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Inborn to read and review and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, upon which Inborn is based, and another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has cowritten a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. Enger also composes music, and he lives