Shelf Awareness on The Land of Dreams

Review of Vidar Sundstol's crime fiction novel.

sundstol_land coverVidar Sundstøl's The Land of Dreams is Scandinavian mystery at its finest--even though it's set in the U.S. Lance Hansen (whose four grandparents were all Norwegian) is a Forest Service Officer in northern Minnesota who spends his days scouring the edges of Lake Superior for litterers, people fishing illegally and meth labs. One day, he stumbles across a naked man, covered in blood, who keeps repeating the Norwegian word for love. Hansen follows the stunned man into the woods, where he finds a gruesomely mangled body. He calls in assistance; because the body is in a national forest, the FBI is soon on the scene.

The two men were Norwegian tourists on a canoeing vacation. Why would someone murder a tourist so brutally? Norwegian detective Eirik Nyland comes to Minnesota to help the FBI answer this question. Meanwhile, Hansen--an avid genealogist--turns to his historical archives to discover a possible link between this murder and the disappearance of an Ojibway man more than a century before.

Sundstøl aptly weaves together the history of the Ojibway people, the story of the Scandinavian immigrants who arrived in northern Minnesota a century earlier and the men currently investigating the crime. It also brings up difficult questions about guilt, allegiance, and familial and cultural bonds that are hard to break. The Land of Dreams, originally published in Norway in 2008 as the first volume in Sundstøl's "Minnesota trilogy," will be appreciated by mystery lovers everywhere.

Read the article at Shelf Awareness.

Published in: Shelf Awareness
By: Jessica Howard