Title: Blessed Are Those Who Thirst (Hanne
Author: Anne Holt
Translator: Anne Bruce
Reader: Kate Reading
Category: Mystery- Police Procedural
Audio published: May 1, 2013 by Blackstone Audio (First published 1993)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
It is only the beginning of May but in Oslo a brutal heat wave has coincided with an alarming increase in violent crime. In the latest instance, police investigator Hanne Wilhelmsen is sent to a macabre crime scene on the outskirts of town. An abandoned shed is covered in blood. On one wall an eight-digit number is written in blood. There is no body—nor any sign of a victim. Is it a kid’s prank or foul play? Is it even human blood?
As more bloody numbers are found in isolated locations throughout Oslo, Hanne’s colleague Håkon Sand makes a startling discovery: the digits correspond to the filing numbers of foreign immigrants. All are female, all are missing. Is there a serial killer on the loose in Oslo? How does the killer have access to immigrant data?
Meanwhile, as the trail heats up, the victim of a horrific unsolved rape case and her father have each decided to take justice into their own hands. Hanne and Håkon soon discover that they aren’t the only ones on the hunt for the killer.
My two cents: Blessed Are those Who Thirst is a compelling mystery that leaves the reader wondering what she would do in a similar situation.
Setting: Oslo in the early 1990s is not that different from anywhere else. It’s hot in the city and the police are overwhelmed dealing with a crime wave.
Characters: Hanne Wilhelmsen is a strong woman, intelligent and the best investigator on the force. She’s also a private woman, rarely sharing bits of her personal life with her colleagues, much to the annoyance of her female partner, Cecile. This is the second in the series and I would imagine that Hanne and those she works with are developed more both in the first book and later in the series. For me, though, aside from the victims, she is the only one who really grabbed my attention.
Plot: Hanne is convinced that the “blood baths” and the rape are connected. She is determined, in this case, to find the rapist, to protect women in the future, to punish him, and to save the victim and her father from committing a crime themselves.
Kristine, the rape victim, and her father are broken by the rape. Neither is capable of fully dealing with life in the aftermath, but they each independently discover the identity of the rapist and Hanna sympathizes with the father’s desire to take justice into his own hands. The father’s and daughter’s actions, along with a pointed question Hanne asks Cecile, makes the reader realize that “justice” is not always black and white, question what they would do in the same situation.
It’s a tight mystery in that we see both the police investigation and the father’s search. Early one we get a look at the world through the killer’s eyes, but we don’t know who exactly he is. He’s on of those killers who has a degree of power and abuses it.
The story moves quickly, Hanne has a deadline and races to beat it. I listened to most of it on a drive home from the lake and back and I have to say that the usually long ride felt short.
Reader: I like listening to “foreign” mysteries on audio rather than reading them in print. Reading’s pronunciations of names and places were way better than what I would have come up with. She also did a good job imbuing the characters voices with a distinct personality.
Recommendation: Grab this one!
Warnings: While not overly graphic, this is not a cozy. I thought the rape scene was intense, not one I’d want my daughter to read.
Hanne Wilhelmsen Series
- Blind Goddess
- Blessed Are Those Who Thirst
- Demonens død [Death of the Demon]
- Løvens gap [The Lion’s Mouth]
- Død joker [Dead Joker]
- Uten ekko [Without Echo]
- Sannheten bortenfor [The Truth Beyond]