The sanctuary

Katrine Engberg, 1975-

Book - 2023

While staying in Bornholm for the winter, Jeppe Kørner is drawn into a sinister mystery rooted in the past when an investigation into a severed corpse in Copenhagen leads Anette Werner to this seemingly peaceful refuge, and together they must unravel the island's secrets to stop a brutal killer.

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MYSTERY/Engberg Katrine
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1st Floor MYSTERY/Engberg Katrine Due Jul 12, 2024
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Detective and mystery fiction
New York : Scout Press 2023.
Main Author
Katrine Engberg, 1975- (author)
Other Authors
Tara Chace (translator)
First Scout Press hardcover edition
Item Description
"Originally published in Denmark in 2020 by Alpha as Isola"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
326 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Engberg mentions in a note that this book was finished during the pandemic, "when concepts like loneliness and isolation suddenly became very tangible to most of us." Both themes are touchingly portrayed in this fourth Kørner and Werner mystery (after The Harbor, 2022), told in Enberg's typically unflinching yet artful prose and set in the bitter winter of a remote part of Denmark. It is a brilliantly crafted novel, with the past revealing itself through letters, which run parallel to the story of Alexander Selkirk, whose experiences may have inspired Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Jeppe Kørner is on leave from the Copenhagen police, hoping to mend his broken heart after a failed relationship, and has decided to spend it on the island of Bornholm. Also visiting the island is Esther de Laurenti, a writer researching the correspondence of a local female anthropologist and also struggling with loneliness after losing a dear friend. Meanwhile, back in the city, Anette Werner, missing her husband and daughter who are away on a family visit, is leading her first solo murder investigation, which involves a body (well, half a body, actually) found in a suitcase. When it seems all the clues lead to Bornholm, she enlists Jeppe's help in identifying the victim, and then, the murderer. Engberg has emerged as one of the leading authors of Scandinavian noir, and this is one of her best.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The prologue of Engberg's nail-biting fourth and final novel featuring Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner (after 2022's The Harbor) begins, "It was the noise that woke him, a throbbing rhythm like a locomotive moving at high speed." That sound, which is coming from an industrial saw, is heard by an unidentified man who has just regained consciousness to find he's been tied up and is helpless to avoid the whirring blade. His grim fate is confirmed months later when a suitcase is found partially buried in a Copenhagen park, emitting a smell consistent with human decay. Werner, a detective with the Violent Crimes Department, opens the luggage to find half of a severed corpse. Another suitcase later turns up nearby, containing the rest of the body. Despite Kørner's being on leave and working as a lumberjack in response to a romantic disappointment, Werner ropes him into helping her crack the case, which involves figuring out the reason for the killer's employing of such a bizarre murder method. From the horrific opening to the final reveal, Engberg keeps readers turning the pages. Agent: Federico Ambrosini, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Feb.)

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Review by Library Journal Review

This is the conclusion (following The Harbor) to the police procedural series featuring Engberg's Danish detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner. A man is cut in half by a power saw and the halves of his body are stuffed into suitcases that won't be discovered for months, making identification even more difficult. The hunt leads to the island of Bornholm. Life there is incestuous: everyone knows everyone. Sins from 30 years past float up to contaminate this new murder. Normally, Anette would follow Jeppe's lead in investigating, but he's on unpaid leave and doesn't know if he wants to return to police work. He's working as a lumberjack on the island now, but Anette reels him in, small tasks becoming bigger. In the end, he almost becomes a victim himself. The narrative shuttles among Anette, Jeppe, and Esther, who's writing a biography of a distinguished anthropologist who lived on Bornholm. The anthropologist's letters eventually help solve the case. The sections dealing with procedure in this book are authentic and compelling: slow, small steps toward knowing what happened. But every time a letter intrudes, the action stops and has to be rebooted afterward. VERDICT A tepid mystery that will appeal primarily to aficionados of Scandinavian noir.--David Keymer

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