Review: Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

Publisher Description

The first book in Edgar-nominated Anne Holt’s international bestselling mystery series featuring detective Hanne Wilhelmsen, last seen in 1222.

Asmall-time drug dealer is found battered to death on the outskirts of the Norwegian capital, Oslo. A young Dutchman, walking aimlessly in central Oslo covered in blood, is taken into custody but refuses to talk. When he is informed that the woman who discovered the body, Karen Borg, is a lawyer, he demands her as his defender, although her specialty is civil, not criminal, law.

A couple of days later another lawyer is found shot to death. Soon police officers Håkon Sand and Hanne Wilhelmsen establish a link between the two killings. They also find a coded message hidden in the murdered lawyer’s apartment. Their maverick colleague in the drugs squad, Billy T., reports that a recent rumor in the drug underworld involves drug-dealing lawyers. Now the reason why the young Dutchman insisted on having Karen Borg as a defender slowly dawns on them: since she was the one to find and report the body, she is the only Oslo lawyer that cannot be implicated in the crime.

As the officers investigate, they uncover a massive network of corruption leading to the highest levels of government. As their lives are threatened, Hanne and her colleagues must find the killer and, in the process, bring the lies and deception out into the open.

Thrilling Reads Review

Blind Goddess, the first installment in Anne Holt’s Hanne Wilhelmsen series, plunges us into the underbelly of Oslo, Norway, following the brutal death of a low-level drug dealer on the city’s outskirts.

The mystery deepens when a blood-soaked young Dutchman, wandering aimlessly through downtown Oslo, is apprehended but remains mute. His only demand is for Karen Borg, the lawyer who stumbled upon the crime scene, to defend him, despite her specialty lying in civil rather than criminal law.

Adding another layer of mystery, a second lawyer is soon found murdered. It falls to police officers Håkon Sand and our protagonist, Hanne Wilhelmsen, to unearth the connection between these sinister events. Wilhelmsen emerges as a captivating lead, though other characters lack a similar depth.

There are times when the pacing falters, and the narrative appears disjointed. However, as a fan of moody Nordic crime fiction, I found the book enjoyable despite these flaws. Those not fond of this sub-genre may find their experience varies. Also, keep in mind this is a translated work from Norwegian, and there are occasional lapses into awkward phrasing.

One of the standout qualities of Holt’s writing is its brisk pacing, a contrast to the more deliberate style of authors like Jo Nesbo. This adds a refreshing dynamic to her storytelling.

Although this book and series is new to me, this book was actually published in 2012 and there 10 books in this series. I like to start an established series from the begining.

In sum, Blind Goddess is a commendable addition to the Nordic crime fiction landscape.

It's safe to say that Alan Petersen loves mystery and thriller books. He writes high-octane thrillers, hosts the MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast, and reviews thriller/mystery books.

Leave a Reply