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 asbeing 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 know ourselves?.
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I have said this a lot over the few years I have been blogging, but it remains true and bears being repeated, that Orenda books continues to publish first class literary thrillers. Over and over again Karen Sullivan and her team gift readers with great stories and have faith in authors of exceptional talent.
Inborn is another example of this and is unique in the way it gives us two powerful and distinctive voices. Even, football player and suspected killer as well as sweet wonderful Yngve, police officer and widow. Their pairs cross when a series of murders rock the town of Fredheim in this stunning YA/adult cross over. The two characters complement each other and we follow the investigation from both their points of view. Maybe there are other stories that have done this, in many years of reading I have not come across one and it both excited and thrilled me that I had found a novel that was capable of surprising me after many years of reading. Rather than being confusing, it flowed perfectly and both voices were distinctive and brought distinctive insights to the story.
There are your typical thriller elements, with twists and turns that felt subtle and built the tension up as the novel progressed. Starting with a feeling of calmness, I followed the writer into the maze and as I hit a dead end, was forced to double back and follow the next clue. Mazes excite me, I find them challenging and the repeated misleading clues in Inborn left me feeling the same way. The story asks the reader to question who they can trust and made me look around and the people I know, to ask, which of us are capable of acts of violence against those that threaten us. Thrilling, scary in equal measure and deeply unsettling. It also paints social media in the role of judge and jury. In a time when keyboard warriors feel empowered to judge others, the horrifying fact is, anyone of us could find ourselves at wrong end of such actions. As Even faces being convicted by such people before the investigation is completed, we are forced to confront the horrifying power of sites such as Facebook. It scary stuff, thrilling, but still it will make you think.
I changed my mind over and over again about who the killer was and have total admiration for the author, who delivered the protagonist in a calm and emotional way. This may sound a strange thing to say, but believe me, it was without doubt, one of the best reveals I have read in quite some time. We were given a master class in character driven drama in Inborn. Utterly clueless about whom this was until the end, I sat back and had to take a moment to absorb the full impact on all the characters when the reveal happened. Thomas Enger had me doubting Even every step of the way.
Thomas Enger respects the intelligence of his readers and celebrates the power of his characters to deliver a story without the need to endless amounts of added drama. Drama is good, I love all types of thrillers, but in allowing character o be paramount, it gave the story added power to thrill.
Full of outstanding characters, the writing is sublime. You simply don’t feel time passing and I knew that wherever the story went, it was worth the journey.
Once again a top class thriller from a writer and publisher who always seek to give readers books that challenges them. It was without doubt a tour de force in why you should always trust your publisher and your wife.
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 co-written a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.
You can follow the author on Twitter
About the translator
KARI DICKSON read Scandinavian Studies at UCL and then went on to work in various theatres. While working in the theatre, she was asked to do literal translations of two Ibsen plays, which fuelled her interest and led to an MA in Translation at the University of Surrey. Having worked initially as a commercial translator, she now concentrates on literary translation, a good deal of which is crime fiction. Her translation of Roslund & Hellström’s Three Seconds won the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) International Dagger in 2011. She is also an occasional tutor in Norwegian language and literature, and translation at the University of Edinburgh.