PublisherOrenda Books
Date Published17 February 2022
Price£ 9.99


by Jørn Lier HorstThomas EngerMegan Turney (translator)

Police Investigator Alexander Blix and his sidekick, crime journalist Emma Ramm, are being held and questioned by Oslo's National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot a man in the back and Emma is partly responsible. 


Unhinged is a collaboration between two of Norway's godfathers of crime fiction. John Lier Horst writes the Wisting series, which has been seen on UK television, and Thomas Enger is the creator of the Henning Juul books. This is the third in their Blix and Ramm series, set in Oslo, featuring Chief Investigator Alexander Blix and young journalist Emma Ramm with whom he has a long, but purely platonic, history going back to her unhappy childhood. The book is translated from the Norwegian by Megan Turney.

The starting point for this story is an arrest gone wrong. One of Blix's police station colleagues, Sofia Kovic, has been killed in an execution-style shooting. It seems that Sofia has been taking work home and looking for links between a series of seemingly unrelated but unsatisfactory deaths. Blix's own daughter, Iselin, was a good friend and flat-mate of Sofia and when Iselin is abducted, possibly by a killer, Blix is hot on the trail. Blix finds Iselin in a perilous position and shoots and kills her abductor  – but whether he killed the right man is in question. The dead man might be the serial killer behind the puzzling cases that Sofia was unofficially looking into or he might just be a hired hit-man.

The action switches between the now disgraced Blix and his accomplice, Emma, as they are aggressively questioned by the National Crime Investigation Service and the retelling of the events that led to a man being shot in the back. Things take a turn for the worse for Blix as he is frozen out of the whole investigation, and he is forced to take the law into his own hands.   

I enjoyed the story although I would have liked a little more scene setting and a richer flavour of Oslo. This tale could really have been set anywhere, and for me, the title gave a little too much away.

Reviewed 29 April 2023 by Viv Beeby