The Land of Dreams by Vidar Sundstøl

As a police officer, Lance Hansen has an easy beat in a national forest in Northern Minnesota.  Relatively easy, it seems, until he is sent toland of dreams investigate an illegal camping site and finds a bludgeoned Norwegian tourist along with a very alive naked young man covered with blood.  The two were in Minnesota on an extended canoeing trip.

The case seems pretty cut and dry, as  no one else appears to have been at the site of the murder.  The FBI bring in a detective from Norway, hoping that having someone to speak to the suspect in his native tongue will speed the investigation up.

This appears to have been the only murder in the community for a long time – to be exact, since 1892, when an Ojibwe Indian disappeared mysteriously.  Lance, of course, is the first to dig this up – he is the local historian and archivist for the area, and knows more lore about the Scandinavians that settled there than any of their descendants.  As a thoughtful man, Lance looks into his own background, and what he finds is not pleasant.  He also knows something else that he does not reveal to anyone, even though this knowledge destroys his personal integrity.

The Land of Dreams is a slow-paced mood piece, but keep reading and the mystery will take hold of you.  As it’s the first of a trilogy, the ending is a cliffhanger of sorts. The book is the first by this author that has been translated into English, so it’s up in the air how the series will end.  The book is still worth a read for the small town atmosphere the author sets up and his descriptions of the Lake Superior section of Minnesota.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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